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Saxophone Fantasie

Rudy Wiedoeft


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Rudy's Final Years


This tune was recorded on Edison Cylinder in New York City in 1921 by c-melody saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft, with orchestral accompaniment.

Rudy Wiedoeft was very much in demand as a soloist during the 1910's and 1920's. In his heyday he wrote many sax solos, instruction books, and even had his own model of saxophone with special keys that enabled him to do some of the difficult runs and trills he incorporated into his music. If fact during the late 1920's, one singer, Rudy Vallee (who's real name was Herbert) was so enamored with Mr. Wiedoeft, that he adopted his first name. However the 1930's would prove disastrous for Mr. Weidoeft.

Like his instrument of preference, the c-melody saxophone on which production had ceased by 1930 due to declining sales and budget cuts, Rudy's style of playing had likewise fallen from popularity with the hard and changing times brought on by the Great Depression.

One might say that Rudy was lucky, he had amassed a veritable fortune over his career which he had somehow managed not to lose in the stock market crash of 1929. But with gigs few and far between, it would seem that idle time a lack of purpose were his undoing.

Sometime during the early to mid 1930's Rudy had invested most of his savings in a gold-mining operation with high hopes. Sadly the whole deal went belly up and he lost most of what he had worked all of his life for. This incident had, no doubt, put a strain on his marriage and in 1937, after a heated argument over money his wife, in a fit of rage, stabbed him with a butcher knife. He survived his wife's attack, however his years of drinking had done him irreversible damage and three years later in 1940 he would finally succumb to cirrhosis of the liver.

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