I love the sound of the saxophone,” says Italian jazz master Tommaso Starace.

“The sound that it produces is very close to the voice of a human being. It can display so many colours in its tone, and therefore create many emotions,” he goes on. “I’m obviously referring to the saxophone in a jazz context because in classical music, it does exactly the opposite!”

Tomasso is a modern legend. Raised and trained in Milan, the son of a Neapolitan mother and Australian father, he is a respected alto sax player who has performed around the world. He is also a regular visitor to Oxford, and on Saturday makes his latest trip to play at St Giles Church, in Woodstock Road for Jazz at St Giles.

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“St Giles is an amazing church with the most beautiful acoustics,” he says. “In most churches I have played, the sound doesn’t suit our music as you have to be able to hear the bass and drums well in order to keep good timing, stay together and interact successfully. Most often it disappears with long echoes.

“But in St Giles the sound has a mixture of dry and echo – the right natural reverb for all instruments – so it’s highly enjoyable to perform there.

Saturday’s show sees Tomasso teaming up with pianist Michele Di Toro and Russian virtuoso bass player Yuri Goloubev.

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Tommaso and Michele collaborated on their duo album From a Distant Past, while Yuri and Michele together released the LP Duonomics. The trio will play tunes from both albums and fresh material.

It’s the perfect chance to catch a master at work.

“The sound of the saxophone has always intrigued me,” he says. “ It’s expressive, sensual, melancholic, happy, powerful and aggressive, imperfect with the notes bending, the sound of the saliva in the low register of the instrument, the growling and many other effects one could obtain on the instrument.

“The sound of the saxophone is what made me want to start music and get into jazz. I always say that if the saxophone didn’t exist I probably would be doing a different profession.”

* Tickets: jazzatstgiles.com