Donald Giles is the proud owner of a reconditioned Selmer Silvertone tenor saxophone. It's not the horn's antiquity alone ("I understand they stopped making them a long time ago") that inspires the admiration of the 22-year-old, but also the horn's history. . It was once played by Giles' great-grandfather William "Bush" Mays in North Carolina churches and dance bands.
Giles was born in Tarboro, N.C.,, lived in Chicago from age 10 to 15, and then moved to Washington. He also plays alto saxophone, clarinet and flute and is currently enrolled in the University of Maryland's music program. This Friday and Saturday he will take his quartet Reflections into the Park Place cafe. Ron Branton will be on electric piano. Phil Brooks on upright and electric bass, Roderick Johnson at the drums. Their program will include standards by Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and David Sanborn as well as originals by the leader and Branton.
"I used to go over to listen to him," says Giles of his great-grandfather, who still lives in North Carolina, "and when he would put the horn down I would pick it up. But I couldn't get any sounds out of it -- I thought he plugged the horn in or something."