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Holding a note on a saxophone for 47 minutes seems impossible, but believe it or not, someone once did it – and the record can never be broken.

In honour of International Jazz Day this Sunday (30 April), we’re delving deep into our archive to find our favourite jazz-related records.

And it certainly didn’t take long for this one to jump out and surprise us.

someone playing saxophone

Back in 2000, Vann Burchfield (USA) broke the record for longest continuous note on a saxophone using circular breathing, with a note that lasted an unfathomable 47 mins 5.5 secs.

No matter how hard anyone tries, it would be impossible for them to beat this record.

That’s because the title was officially rested on the back of medical evidence that suggested the practice of circular breathing is dangerous.

saxophone player

The technique is used by players of wind instruments to sustain longer notes.

It’s done by simultaneously breathing in through the nose while pushing air out through the mouth using air that was stored in the cheeks.

Research into the practice later revealed how dangerous it actually was.

musicians playing saxophones

A medical journal claimed circular breathing can lead to a build up of pressure in the neck which can stop oxygen getting to the brain and can even lead to death!

Of course, we didn’t take the record away from Vann, he still holds it, and he’ll hold it forever. But anyone wanting to attempt the longest saxophone note these days would have to do it without using circular breathing.

The record was first set by jazz musician Kenny G with a note of 45 mins 47.77 secs.

Kenny G

That's not the only record Kenny has had over the years - he's also been named the best-selling artist of jazz music.

The American saxophonist, composer and producer – real name Kenneth Bruce Gorelick – was first awarded the record in 2000 after selling 55 million albums worldwide, including 12 million copies of his album Breathless.

His record was later updated in 2011, when by that time his sales had grown to 75 million. At the time, he had 15 gold, 11 platinum and eight multi-platinum albums to his name.

Village Vanguard in New York

Jazz fans looking for the perfect spot to enjoy their favourite type of music might want to head to Village Vanguard in New York City, USA, which is the oldest jazz club.

It opened in 1935 and has hosted mainstream jazz concerts ever since. Some of the most famous faces to grace the stage there include Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Wynton Marsalis.

jazz records

If you want to make more of a weekend of it, you might want to head to The Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, in Québec, Canada, which was named the largest jazz festival in 2004 when 1,913,868 people attended.

Happy International Jazz Day!

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