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Customer Discussions > Jazz forum

Baritone sax players.

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Showing 1-25 of 324 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 1, 2007, 12:17:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 18, 2007, 11:37:05 AM PDT
Okay, this thread is just a discussion thread to see who knows what about the guys who blow the big horn. It's not about who someone rates highly and who someone else thinks is useless. or about proving that you know more than the rest of us. So, the invitation is to talk intelligently, without slagging another person off, about the innovators, the pace setters, the historical giants and the important recordings of baritone saxophonists. Let's see where we go with it. I have resisted the temptation to list any at this point. I'm going to see who comes up with whom. Have fun.
Perhaps we will all learn something if we approach this thread in the right spirit.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2007, 1:16:33 PM PDT
"The Big Horn" is the warm end of the saxophone family. My favorite Bari-Saxist of all time are:
Gerry Mulligan -- A brilliant musician without category. He could play bop with the best (Birth of the Cool), Kansas City jazz (with Bob Brookmeyer), accompany Billie Holiday, symphony jazz and Brazilian jazz. To me his peaks came with the brilliant quartet with Chet Baker and especially the Concert Jazz Band album at the Vanguard. He was always Gerry Mulligan no matter who he played with.
Pepper Adams -- The hard bop sound whose sound cut through even a big band.
Ronnie Cuber who plays with the Mingus Big Band, his own small groups and latin bands can really boot it. He's probably the best Baritone sax player living today. I first discovered him in the '60s as a young man with Maynard Fergusen's excellent big band. Later he played with George Benson's first group.
Cecil Payne - played the bari-sax as if it were an alto. His best work was with early Randy Weston. He recorded recently for Delmark.
Harry Carney was featured by Duke Ellington on "Solitude" and "In A Mellow Tone" as well as on bass clarinet on "Mood Indigo."
Leo Parker was an early Blue Note Artist who is a favorite of many baritone saxists.
Those are my favorite baritone sax players.
Fessor Mojo

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2007, 1:34:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 1, 2007, 1:35:44 PM PDT
Wow, William, you surely mentioned a few big names there. Before I mention a few more, I will wait to see who else puts their oar in. Nevertheless ,thanks for your post. Mulligan was sure to come up early in this thread as was Carney, of course both of whom I was privileged to see performing live in my lifetime, Carney several times but Mulligan, maybe only once or twice. The first time with the pianoless quartet with Bob Brookmeyer. I still have the signed programme from that gig.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2007, 1:40:49 PM PDT
Ottolink10 says:
I heard Pepper in the 50's with the Stan Kenton band - before any in my crowd had heard of him. Can you imagine hearing this guy stand up and tear up "My Valentine," when you hadn't even heard of him?! I was fortunate to get to play with Cecil Payne on Woody Herman's band. Carney set a standard for sound which no one else can reach, and Mulligan did so much to popularize the instrument.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2007, 3:10:59 PM PDT
Serge Chaloff

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2007, 3:24:54 PM PDT
Attar1 says:
Let us not forget Gil Melle. He played in a very unique style that has not been followed

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2007, 3:52:28 PM PDT
Sep says:
Nick Brignola.

For anyone in Vegas, I'll be playing a cut from Baritone Madness - Brignola & Pepper Adams, during the 1st hour of my show this week ( ). It's out of print so far as I know, but features some mind-blowing playing & includes Ted Curson on Trumpet.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2007, 4:10:12 PM PDT
I never got to see Mulligan but a friend of mine at school was the brother of the tenor player in the Concert Jazz Band. I do, however, have a Harry Carney framed autograph (and another of Johnny Hodges). There is a great story on Johnny. He was invited to record with Lawrence Welk who invited the best arrangers in L. A. to arrange for the session. They all came to hear Hodges who blew them away with his version of "Stardust." They all complimented him and he was heard to say, "That's the first time I ever played Stardust; that was Clark Terry's feature." My fondest memory of Johnny Hodges was seeing the Duke introduce him as "Johnny Hodges will now sing for us." Johnny then played his alto sax.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 1, 2007, 4:30:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 4, 2007, 3:18:08 AM PDT
Really interesting anecdotes, William. Thanks for those. The big names on the big horn are trickling out now. I'm still biting my tongue at the moment but, at some point, will add in some worthy names and at least two interesting stories. Right now, I letting you guys get all the glory and waiting to see whether or not you give me the opportunity to throw some names into the thread before they're all used up.
Well, I waited patiently for the names to come pouring out but, it seems, that you guys have forgotten all the cats who made important statements on this horn. So, I am going to throw a few names out to see whether or not that engenders any fresh input. Danny Bank, the quite fantastic and very under-rated Glenn Wilson, Charlie Fowlkes, Howard Johnson who doubles on tuba, the stupendous Lars Gullin who sadly died just a few days after his 48th birthday, the great Brits Ronnie Ross and Joe Temperley, Hamiett Bluiett & Bob Gordon. Of course there are many more but I'm giving you guys the opportunity to tell me about others that I may not know.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 3:23:12 AM PDT
If I may let me just say that your posts invariably share with us, the jazz community at large, some interesting stuff. You know your jazz and your knowledge and obvious enthusiasm for the music shine through. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 7:18:02 AM PDT
Mr. P. even tho i was lucky enough to see carney and the underrated charlie ventura in person, i am always on the lookout for the new kid on the block. james carter is scary good and has an incredible control of both the bari and bass. gary smulyan is playing wonderful stuff. at a recent memorial concert for maynard in st. louis, denis diblasio borrowed my bari and did things on it that i could never do. per goldschmidt is fine as is claire daly (sp?) even tho her articulation is a little strange. mike brignola, with the miami sax quartet, and no relation to nick has great technique and has made a complete recovery from his horrible accident in vegas. jack nimitz, bill perkins, scott robinson are also on my list. all time favorite is bob gordon. hench

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 8:08:01 AM PDT
ND.NY says:
I second the vote for Howard Johnson, who is an amazing musician. Saw him quite a few times in different settings, both on tuba and baritone sax. Another guy who I always like was Bruce Johnstone from Maynard Ferguson's big band. He was exceptional, always imaginative. Played with power but didn't need to show it. Ronnie Cuber - first call for many, many sessions but he had a very nice band that was featured in New York and has released some good recordings.

Frank Brignola - Nothing ground breaking but a solid swinging player. Reminds me of a baritone sax version of Zoot Sims, so you know he swings.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 9:07:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 4, 2007, 9:09:16 AM PDT
James, thanks for your post. One interesting phenomenon that I have observed is that if a musician decides to enter academia, he drops off the jazz map to all intents and purposes. Never mind that he might have had a tremendous reputation before dropping out. This is certainly the case with Glenn Wilson whose dexterity on the big horn blew me away at a performance of his that I was privileged to attend back in August. From being one of the two most in demand bari players in NYC not that many years back, he now rarely gets a call. I can think of several other jazz musicians that would fall into this category, Ernie Krivda for instance. You mention Ernie's name in supposedly informed jazz circles and the reaction that you get is "Duh! Ernie who?" I can think of several more who have 'disappeared' into academia never to be heard of again. But,maybe that is a topic for another thread?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 11:36:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 4, 2007, 11:40:17 AM PDT
Joe Dorsch says:
Wow, a lot of the players I dig were already mentioned, but here's a few more. Jack Washington (Basie), Charles Davis(Ra), Claire Daly, Dave Sewelson, Reynold Scott(Ra), Pat Patrick(Ra), Sahib Shihab, Dave Schumaker, Dale Fielder...there a few up-and-comers that are doing pretty well too (I wish I was among them!). I think Frank Basille and Charles Evans are great.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 11:42:04 AM PDT
And Pat Patrick's son is now Governor of Massachusetts.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 12:48:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 4, 2007, 12:54:35 PM PDT
Joe Dorsch says:
Yup, that's right! Also, early Sonny Stitt plays a mean baritone when he's with Gene Ammons. Pepper Adams I think said that Stitt was the best bari player he's ever heard (though it may not have Pepper...)
Oh yeah, and Haywood Henry was a very cool baritone player (played a nice clarinet too).

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 1:00:01 PM PDT
cal jazz says:
As a bari enthusiast, but not a musician myself, I wonder if someone could clue me into some of the new voices on the instrument. The "latest" I know is Gary Smulyan but he is hardly a new figure. Is there someone younger (whose recordings are available for purchase) following in the footsteps of Brignola, Cuber, etc.?


In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 1:04:24 PM PDT
Joe Dorsch says:
I don't know if it's a direct following of Brignola etc, but Frank Basille is a very young guy that just put an album out this past Spring. He has a page if you google him (CDbaby has it too). Charles Evans is a little more "out"-like Pepper playing Bluiett (or the other way around!). BJ Jansen doesn't have an album out yet, but he does have MP3s for sale on his myspace page. I'd be curious to hear from others on this subject myself.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 1:06:53 PM PDT
Joe Dorsch says:
That's a cool LP! Another good one is "Burn Brigade" with Ronnie Cuber, Nick Brignola, and Cecil Payne (unfortunately, that is OOP too...)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 1:07:34 PM PDT
There is a woman in the Mingus Big Band who is sitting in for Ronnie Cuber and bringing down the house. I didn't catch her name.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 1:10:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 4, 2007, 1:11:50 PM PDT
Joe Dorsch says:
Was it Lauren Sevian? She plays with that band often---another great player.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 2:01:26 PM PDT
cal jazz says:
Thanks to Joe Dorsch and William Donoghue for those good tips--Lauren Sevian sounds great in the clips on her website, but doesn't seem to have a CD yet. I'm going to order Frank Basile's CD tonight, based on the clips he has posted. Having just happened onto this forum by accident, I must say I glad I checked it out.

Thanks again.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 5:01:21 PM PDT
mr. p. i get a great kick out of ernie krivda and have 2 of his cds. i did not know he blew the bari. has he put any bari work on cd? his solos are somewhat predictable, but he has strong passion and a fine sense of time. hench

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 4, 2007, 6:11:20 PM PDT
It could have been Lauren Sevian with the Mingus Big Band. All I know is Sue Mingus watchest them like a hawk and if they don't burn from the first note... She's a hard but fair taskmaster. I've met her a number of times. Bring your best game if you want to play with these guys!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 5, 2007, 7:19:32 PM PDT
stevign says:
JAMES CARTER; not just a tenor player folks!
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Discussion in:  Jazz forum
Participants:  71
Total posts:  324
Initial post:  Oct 1, 2007
Latest post:  Apr 18, 2015

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