Recently, I have enjoyed the great pleasure of seeing the Sudanese sax player, Aiman Nour, playing at the Riyadh Four Seasons Hotel. This is a fabulous location in the Kingdom Tower, with the luxurious open-air Grill Bar providing the finest meat. Aiman is a great sax player bringing feeling and emotion to his music. I was lucky enough to interview Aiman and I’m looking forward to seeing more of his performances in 2019.
Aiman, please tell us where you are originally from.
I am from Sudan, from a lovely city located in the south of the central province called Kosti, which lies on the west side of the Nile. It is an amazing place, a place full of fun and kindness. The people there are very simple and humble. They make you feel like someone special when they warmly welcome you.
Where we can hear your music in the near future?
I am playing now at the Four Seasons Hotel in the Riyadh Kingdom Tower. I have a contract with them for one year so I will be playing there many times.
When did you begin to study the saxophone?
I began my music career around 18 years ago. I played flute first of all and after a while, started to play saxophone, let’s say 9 years ago.
Do you have a favourite saxophonist?
My favorite saxophone player is not very well known but he is very talented. He is from Canada and his name is Warren Hill. Also, a friend of mine, Mahmoud Mustafa is another favourite. He is a Sudanese saxophonist.
Do you usually play solo or with a group?
I like to play both ways, as solo or with other musicians. However, playing with other musicians requires more practice in order to find harmony together. It needs lots of effort and many workshops.
What about jazz bands in Riyadh – do you know any?
In the last two years, many musicians and bands have started to appear in Riyadh, thanks to the Kingdom’s opening policy. Actually, I know most of them.
Where is your favourite place in Riyadh to play?
For me, the best places to play in Riyadh are the big events. The Entertainment Committee events, for example, in universities and open areas where I can find more audiences and more followers. I also love to play at the Four Seasons Hotel where the audience knows about jazz and Western music.
Are you going to play internationally?
It is a dream for me to play my music internationally and I have to pursue it. I hope one day I can go for it.
What kind of saxophone do you play and why did you choose it?
There are so many kinds of saxophone. As you may know there is a Soprano, the smallest of the saxes, and the Alto, which is bigger. My favourite is the Tenor, a little bigger than the Alto. I like it because of how it sounds. The tones make it a very fascinating instrument which takes you far away from this world. The Baritone sax and the Bass series are much bigger but no-one is playing them unless in a big orchestra.
How do you see the music industry across the Kingdom?
The music industry in the Kingdom is growing but growing slowly. It needs more time and effort to expand. For example, it should be in school tuition otherwise it will need decades to grow.
Where is the dream location for you to perform a concert?
There are so many places that I dream to play. There’s the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh. Also the Royal Court, Diplomatic Quarter where I played twice at the Italian Embassy. Generally, every place matters to me. The most important is to play perfectly and to always give the audience the best concert we can.