The History of the Saxophone

Reading through the history books, the saxophone remains one of the most remarkable instrument ever to appear on the music scene.

It has been many decades since its invention, but the sax still stands out. The relaxing, sophisticated, romantic, and sensual sound the sax produces strokes your nervous system in an exciting way that you can’t get enough of it.

Here’s a classic sax album to kick things off by the “colossus” himself, Sonny Rollins.

Although music has continued to change over the years, the saxophone has consistently enriched the music scene. The sax is one of those instruments that fascinates you even if it is lying around, not being played.  Just the look of it is intriguing.

Sax music is not just about the external sound that is produced by the saxophone; it’s a piece of the soul. Its an expression of what is felt from deep within. The sax has many of the same characteristics as the human voice, with a great deal of character and diversity of sound.

Adolphe Sax & The Invention of the Saxophone

The saxophone was invented more than 170 years ago by Adolphe Sax.  This would have been in the 1840’s (patented in 1846).

Adolphe was one of the most renown instrument makers of his time. He was also a clarinetist and flutist.

Sax’s father was also a skilled instrument maker and had passed this skills to his son. Being a skillful instrument maker, Adolphe had made some improvements and changes to existing instruments.

The improvements that Adolphe had made in the bass clarinet through the extension of the lower range and creation of the ophicleide helped him to acquire the experience that he needed to make the first saxophone.

Being a student of clarinet and flute in the Brussel’s Conservatory of Music, he made an observation that only a keen student would have seen.

He noticed that the typical woodwind had a missing range and he believed that just a brass instrument would fill that void. He then began to develop an instrument that would overblow the octave, and he made an instrument that had both clarinet and horn properties.

Adolphe created saxophones in various sizes both small and big. He then applied for a patent for this instruments and was then given a 15 years patent. This patent was a composition of the fourteen different designs that he had created.

The fourteen original designs where then categorized into two groups each ranging from contrabass to soprano.

 The two groups were E and B and F and C. The set E and B were used in military bands although it is the most commonly used set in today’s saxophones.

The set F and C was often used in the orchestra. Throughout the 15 years he had, he experimented on this instruments to find the right key. He finally settled on an instrument that was alternating in between Bb and Eb.

The Evolution of the Sax

After his patent expired in 1866, various instrument makers arose and made some improvements and changes in the sax.

Although Adolphe may have tried different modification such a lowering the range, a French instrument maker was the first one to be able to make this kind of adjustment.

Minor changes such as the addition of keys for alternate fingering were made. This made the saxophone easy and fast to play it. Bending the pitch was also achieved through this modification.

Various developments were made on Adolphe’s saxophone such as operating the tone holes with one key. Initially, the saxophone had two separate octave keys that helped to play the upper registers. This advancement made it easier to play the sax.

Buffet, one of the largest saxophone manufacturing company, immediately after Adolphe patent expiration, together with other companies such as Millereau, began producing licensed saxophone.

In 1881, shortly after Gautrot had been dismissed, he renewed his patent and made more innovations on the sax.

This aim of the new patent was to extend the saxophone bell so that it could produce the A and Bb notes. He also added another octave key to make a total of four. The addition of the octave key was to enable the production of G and F notes.

Pierre-Louis Gautrot

When it came to manufacturing and designing instruments, Gautrot was a genius.

Just after Adolphe patent expired, he applied for his patent in 1868.

After carefully making observations on the challenges the saxophone was faced with, he realized that pad leaking was the most significant problem. His patent was aimed at producing saxophones that were leak proof. 

Although the system Gautrot introduced was not perfect, it had a great impact and minimized the problem of a leaking pad.

Although Gautrot was a genius he also had his weaknesses. He had poor management skills when it came to business and this lead to him being declared bankrupt.

Henri Selmer and The First Modern Saxophones

Seimer is one of the known manufacturers of clarinets and other mouthpiece instruments.

He founded a company named after his name that is located in Paris.  He won a number of medals such as gold and bronze for the instruments that he had manufactured. 

He made various development on Adolphe’s sax in the early 1940’s. This included the renovation of the octave key, and the best of the development was offsetting of the tone holes.

His company was the first one to create a modern saxophone.

Most of the modern saxophone trace their origin to this model. He invented the balanced action of the sax that leads to a significant improvement in the sax world. His mechanism was straightforward and it made it easy to play the lower register in the same speed you could play in other parts.

Mark VI

Mark VI is the most remarkable saxophone that Selmer created. This model was available in alto, soprano, tenor, and bass. Salmer’s Mark VI saxophones were transitional and incorporated both the design that he had seen in the preceding saxophone and also the element design that was found in the current saxophone.

All these instruments were manufactured in France and later imported to other countries such American and British markets. This model set a standard that all manufactured use. There have been modifications over the years of the saxophone, they are all variations of Selmers Mark six model.

Charles Houvenaghel

Understanding the technical difficulties that could confront an instrument, the life of Charles Houvenaghel was devoted to improving the saxophone.

His knowledge of the manufacturing processes gave him an upper hand as compared to other competitive manufacturers.

He had those rare qualities that once come along once in a while. He was so brilliant in instrument design, he had an ear for music and a background in engineering. All these qualities combined made him redevelop the mechanics of the saxophone system.

He used the tone placement principle of the Boehm system. Although the regular fingering system of the sax is used, addition of new fingering can be used.

The most distinct feature of this modification is that it lowered the tones and you do not need to use the side keys to produce both the tone scales.

This instrument was expensive to build and many saxophonist players were unable and unwilling to learn the newly introduced fingering despite its advantage.

Only a few numbers of this instrument were able to be produced into the market. This model was only used for a few years and is not currently in the market.

Parts of a Saxophone

The sax consists of a conical tube and a bell. It also contains 20 to 23 tone holes at intervals, and they vary in size. To play the upper register, two vent holes are placed along the tube. Soft leather cups cover these holes.

Although the saxophone is categorized as a woodwind instrument, it is made of brass which is different from what most woodwinds are made of.

In contrast to brass instruments which produce sound when there is contact between the mouthpiece and the lips, the sax produces sound through wooden reed which is oscillating.

Another significant feature that makes it be classified as a woodwind is that pitch is produced as a result of breath going through the closing and opening keys.

The yellow brass is mostly replaced with copper for tonal and visual effects.

Little significance is given to the type of material used in the manufacturing of saxophones. All the attention is focused on the sound that is produced. Different materials such as polycarbonate and plastic have been used to a certain degree in the production of saxophones. 

A silver plate or an acrylic lacque coating which can either be clear or coloured is used to cover the brass before the final assembly of the saxophone parts.

Applying lacquer coating is very crucial in preventing oxidation of the brass. This maintains the shiny appearance of the sax. Over the years, different surface colours have been used. It’s just a matter of preference.

History Continues…

The saxophone is a versatile instrument. It adds a sensational moment to all music genres.  From rock to blues to folk to jazz.

The saxophone sound is very unique and cannot be ignored when its played in a mix. As is the custom of many bands when trying to find their rebellion by experimenting using different instruments, the saxophone has been a stable rock in an ever-changing sea.

The magic in bringing your emotions to a standstill can only be found in the saxophone.

The History Of The Clarinet

Instruments have always played an essential role in music since their advent, tens of thousands of years ago.

As much as music can be done with simply the human voice, there is just a magic about instruments accompanying the human voice that only your heart can understand. 

Much of the knowledge behind older instruments is shrouded in mystery, as we see images in old books and paintings, and have little to no knowledge about what exactly they are. 

It doesn’t help that these odd instruments are being played by mythical (and dare we say fictional) creatures.

We can only postulate that certain instruments of today somehow trace back to these ancestral instruments, and we need to dig deep into the dustiest of history books, to find out more details on just what these instruments were.

Today, we will be talking about the history of the clarinet, a unique instrument from the woodwind family, and the result of a revolutionary development that was built upon another instrument called the chalumeau (pictured below).

Difference between a clarinet and a chalumeau

Although the clarinet and the chalumeau are somewhat similar in appearance and, to an extent, the way they are played, they are two separate instruments.

The chalumeau, which is nearly identical to a recorder, was in existence before the invention of the clarinet.

The sound of chalumeau, at lower registers, worked fine, but it lacked vibrancy at higher registers. 

Another instrument, called the Baroque clarinet and sometimes called a “mock trumpet”, could cover the higher notes.  Both had a limited number of notes they could play.

The development of the clarinet created a high-quality sound at both high and low registers.  In this way, the arrival of the clarinet was born out of a certain need for a fuller range of notes.

Here is a quick video review of the chalumeau and the Baroque clarinet to hear their respective sounds.

In addition to the tone holes of the chalumeau, their distance for the lower octave is similar for the upper octave.

The first clarinets (once the instrument was invented and its structure was decided upon) also had two extra holes as compared to the chalumeau.

Due to certain practical and theoretical restrictions, the instrument makers prior to the 1700’s could not manufacture the particular effect the clarinet producesd, and had to rely on these other instruments to get those sorts of sounds.

Who invented the clarinet?

Johann Christoph Denner, an instrument maker from Nuremberg, together with his son, invented the clarinet. 

Denner was experienced with making whistles and hunting horns, and just 10 years prior to 1700 is when he moved towards oboes and recorders, and, in time, came up with something new and exciting – the clarinet!

A few of his originals still exist today, dating back over 300 years now and demanding hefty sums at auctions.

The arrival of the clarinet came after a long period of experimentation with the chalumeau, which Denner was busy examining with and working on improving.

As a maker of instruments, he knew what instruments had and also what they lacked.  You can be sure, in speaking to the players at the time, that he often heard an earful in regards to whatever issues they were experiencing with their instruments back then. 

It was the time of music which involved many huge concerts, and all of the big names in what we now call “classical” music were living and breathing like Haydn, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Bach, and so many more, and so there was an emphasis on producing the utmost quality instruments at the time for these composers, and the players who supported their works.

Denner wanted to build an instrument that could play both the upper and the lower registers without much sacrifice in terms of clear intonation. Two extra holes were added to the duodecime key to achieve this.

The first clarinets to be invented were very simple and had a similar look of a great recorder.

These early clarinets had two keys, and, with time, another key was added to make three keys.

With this addition, the newly minted clarinet instrument had a wide tonal range as compared to trumpets and oboes of that particular time. 

Being relatively loud and able to perform difficult jumps, the clarinet had an ease of playing which could not be obtained on other instruments like the trumpet, due to its various mechanical restrictions.

The fact that the word “clarino” was used to mean a small trumpet is an interesting twist on things, and, it so happens, that the word clarinet may have originated from it.

With enough small tweaks, and the addition of the two holes to the chalumeau, this new instrument basically became what is now known as the clarinet. 

With time, and more tiny alterations, the clarinet became more and more itself.

The sensational sound that the clarinet produced made it find usage in the orchestras of the day sooner than expected.

In the year 1740, Vivaldi had written a concert and Händel had composed an overture in 1748, both of which demanded the use of the Clarinet.

The development of the clarinet attracted various instrument players looking to try this new and exciting sound. The most widely known instance is from the Mannheim Orchestra, where two oboe players transitioned into clarinet players.

Further development of clarinet

Just like any instrument, the clarinet had its challenges and technical difficulties as it evolved.

The clarinet had only five primary keys by the 1760’s.  People of the time wondered if it was even possible to play music with that kind of instrument?

Clarinet players, loyal to working with this new instrument because of its entrancing sound, found ways to play this new instrument even with the limitations of developing models.

With each new technological jump and musical challenge, craftsmen and clarinet players strived to improve the instrument, and, if possible, to achieve perfection. The progression was in small steps which sometimes could lead to dead ends.

Eventually, however, the demand for greatness was at hand and entire concertos were being produced with the clarinet at their center.

Types and versions of clarinet over the years

Many clarinet types emerged, over the years, but only a few have survived to date. The development of these particular varieties of clarinets were as follows.

In the year 1710, the Denner’s was the first type of clarinet to be established in any way as a standard.  After all, it was his invention, so people looked to Denner for the template of how the clarinet was to be made.

Iwan Müller’s Clarinet

As time progressed, Iwan Müller’s version of the clarinet was established as a new benchmark for the instrument.

Being an instrument maker and a clarinet player himself, Iwan Müller developed a spoon-key with sunken holes, a conical ring, and an airtight pad.

This is because the old keys were unreliable, since they had a felt pad simple pivot-mechanism. Müller developed a ligature and changed the reed to what is commonly used today.

Altogether, Müller’s clarinet had 12 keys.  His development was not accepted by the Paris Conservatorium, as they believed in the characteristics of each specific scale not be tampered with.

Clarinets by then were only able to play one scale, and an introduction of a clarinet that could play chromatically would destroy this particular characteristic of each scale that they wanted to see upheld.  Also, they were a little bit snobby.  

In 1939, another development was made and was attributed to the name Bhoelm.

Theobald Boehm’s Clarinet

Theobald Boehm, a flute maker and composer from Germany, brought changes in the instrument world by making two changes.

The first change that he made was able to create a mathematical basis that could be used in determining the exact construction of the tone holes. This applied to the concert flute as well as the up and coming clarinet.

The ring key was his second invention. Covering of a hole that may have been larger than the finger that lies on it, the ring key was made possible through his creativity.

Here is a sample of the man’s work – a beautiful flute piece.

Hyacinthe Klosé

Hyacinthe Klosé, a Frenchman, developed a model of this clarinet and, being a Frenchman, he knew how to deal with the finicky nature of the Parisian Music Academy because he himself was a composer and also professor at the Conservatoire de Paris.

As one might expected, his fellow Parisians were convinced of his assertions about the clarinet.  Hence, his instrument was accepted and is currently played worldwide today.

But the progress didn’t stop there.  In 1900, a new German system was developed by improving Iwan Müller’s system. This type of clarinet is attributed to the name Oehler.

Although the German system did not make the Bhoelm system its standard, the Oehler standard is just as good as the Bhoelm system.

Although, in their opinion, any German will tell you that the Oehler system is far much superior to the Bhoelm system.

Although the two instruments look similar, there exists a difference between the two instruments. The significant difference can be seen in the keys that are meant for the little finger.

The Oehler system has a half-round key ends with a wooden roller and flat two levers, where the Bhoelm system has four levers.

What are clarinets made of?

The Clarinets can be made using different materials.

Classical instruments are commonly known to have been made from boxwood.  To send notes far and wide that are part of difficult passages, the instruments have undergone a dynamic change.

Grenadilla has become the most widely used material in making the clarinet. Grenadilla is commonly used because it has a higher density than boxwood.

The use of grenadilla makes it more comfortable during the performance to support the clarinet with body hence allows more air volume. This makes the sound to be more gentle and soft.

Here is a video by Yamaha talking about the difference between ABS resin and grenadilla.

The clarinet family

The family of clarinets is made up of similar instruments, although the sizes vary.

This includes bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, alto clarinet, and piccolo clarinet. 

The bass clarinet can trace its origin to France. 

There are also instruments in this family that differ slightly in construction, such as the basset horn. 

The clarinet and jazz

Since 1910, the clarinet has continued to play a central role in the jazz music.  It could be said that jazz music was made for this instrument moreso than classical, but that would be splitting hairs.  

The attraction between jazz music and the clarinet is not surprising, in retrospect.  Jazz music has a mysterious sound that is quite beguiling, and that same description could be used for the clarinet’s tone itself.

The Bb soprano clarinet is one of the most commonly used instruments by jazz pioneers such as Sidney Bechet and Johnny Dodds.

Here’s the best of Sidney Bechet, just to give you a taste of his incomparable clarinet styles in the old New Orleans jazz mode.

A number of bands have actively used clarinets from the 1920’s to the 1970’s, but this is generally found outside of the realm of the the rock, pop, and blues genres that dominated the radio starting in the 1940’s.

The usurping of the clarinet from the jazz ensemble by the saxophone, made the clarinet seem to disappear partially. This is because the saxophone was a louder and more forceful instrument, that did not have as complicated of a fingering system.

Also, modern jazz required an increase in speed and this did not also favour the clarinet, which was not built for the same blinding ferocity as the sax. 

That said, you can rock out on a clarinet (examples below) and it can be played quite fast.  But, if you look at a saxophone, you can see that by design it is designed to really wail if you push it, whereas clarinets are a more demure instrument by nature.  

As you can hear, it is possible to “riff” on a clarinet, but at the same time, it always has that “nice” and rather calming breath-y sound that basically precludes it from being a full-on rock instrument.

Now, you might say, “Why don’t they just electrify a clarinet like you would a guitar?”  Well, they have.  If you are interested in this concept, please check out the following video on the subject of electric clarinet.

Because it is naturally a rather lively instrument, clarinet is found everywhere in a wide variety of musical styles.  Modern styles, older more obscure styles – clarinet has a wide berth in terms of appeal.

Samba and choro, both of which are Brazilian music style, use clarinets quite liberally.

Clarinets have also been featured in the folk music in Macedonia, klezmer music and Bulgarian wedding music.

In conclusion, the clarinet is one of the instruments that is indispensable to the vocabulary of music, due to its exotic and unique nature, ability to play speedy runs, chromatic embellishments, and generally lighter touch.

The uniqueness of the clarinet still stands today as its prime feature, and we can’t imagine that the clarinet is going anywhere anytime soon.  All hail the clarinet!  Leave us a comment if you also love this instrument, or if you know about something that we may have missed!

Downtempo – A Guide to the Great Artists and Their Best Songs and Albums

What is Downtempo Music?

Downtempo is a killer subgenre of electronic music, with little to no vocals and simple beats. It’s laidback like ambient music but has a beat you can groove to, unlike ambient music.

Okay, that is a total lie. At the bottom of the article we have included several of the best downtempo artists and some of them include vocals, but for the sake of this brief introduction to the genre, and to help familiarize you with it, let’s go ahead and say that most downtempo music uses soft vocals for audible texture but not so much to tell a story.

Partygoers, ravers and clubbers will be familiar with this genre, as well as DJs, of course. 

The music is a lot more chill than others in the electronica genre. Seasoned DJs will leave downtempo to the end of the set when the party draws to a close.

downtempo music

This music is also played in side rooms of clubs or designated “take five” areas. The beats are slower and super groovy, perfect for a break from dancing or wrapping up a party.

Most clubgoers, whether they recognize and know downtempo or not, will automatically get the signal from this type of music that it’s late into the night.

If you’ve ever seen Portlandia, the theme song is a prime example of downtempo music with a chill beat that is easy to listen to and very enjoyable. There are some vocals but they’re airy and non-dominant. 

Non-dominance is a good way to define downtempo. It’s got elements of ambient music and serves listeners the same way: it can be enjoyed either as a focal point or be ignored while still providing an atmosphere. It neither overpowers nor disappears. 

It’s a beautiful genre for summer driving.

You will often hear downtempo in lounges.

It’s great for a casual hangout with friends or any time you need to relax.

A bit of history

It all started with the synthesizer. This instrument became more affordable to people in the late 1960s – early 1970’s and so musicians, being the experimental and curious artists they are, ever-searching for the perfect tool for self-expression, fell in love with it. We had the beginnings of ambient music in the 1970s; 

Electronic music really came into huge popularity in the early 1990’s. The club scene brought in all kinds of new genres after the : electronica ruled the soundsystems everywhere because it didn’t require a live band and provided dancing crowds with non-stop movement to inspire their dancing.

It was an obvious new experimentation with the synthesizer, which at the time had only been around for a couple of decades. There was plenty left to explore on that instrument with so many options.

Downtempo is usually played on a synthesizer as well as a drum machine and a few other things.

Electronica is typically faster paced, and so downtempo was created not as an antithesis but simply as an alternative for lounge areas and chill-out rooms at festivals and nightclubs. 

Dancers could go into these rooms and sit for a while, taking a break from the intense energy of the dancefloor and enjoying a drink. 

You’ll notice rather a hypnotizing element to downtempo, the same way electronica brings you in and holds you.

The genre originated on Ibiza, a Mediterranean island, well known for its nightlife and electronic music. Tourists from all over the world come to Ibiza as a destination for this type of holiday.

DJs have always known how to read a crowd (or, they should) and know how to bring up the energy and bring it down. On the island of Ibiza, where they party til sunrise, the DJs start playing downtempo to bring the crowd down after a full night of partying.

Here’s a “Best of Ibiza” chillout downtempo playlist if you want to feel a little bit of that vibe for a while.

Oh, and downtempo is sometimes called trip hop, taking elements from hip hop, drum and bass and ambient music: these are combined altogether over a lower tempo. These days the music also incorporates more melodic instrumentals.

The Artists

Now that we are familiar with the genre, let’s have a listen, shall we?

Here are some of the best downtempo artists out there. Some were around for the advent of the genre and helped shape it; others showed up along the way and furthered the genre’s popularity by keeping it alive. 

Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation has been around since 1995. This electronic duo has opened for Paul McCartney and worked with artists such as David Byrne and Wayne Coyne.

They bring an overtly political message with their music and actions, performing at the Operation Ceasefire concert and supporting human rights and the World Food Programme.

Visit the Thievery Corporation official website


Flume

Flume is a young’un, born in 1991 and has been making music since 2004. He has risen to popularity rather fast, having remixed several famous songs by artists like Lorde and selling 40 000 tickets for his first national tour.

He is from Australia and his work incorporates many electronic elements from hip hop to dub. Here is his self-titled debut album. 

Visit Flume’s official website 


Blue Sky Black Death

Another duo on our list, Blue Sky Black Death hails from San Francisco, California. They produce their music with a drum machine, sampler, keyboard, synth and guitar. They’ve been on the scene since 2003.

The phrase “blue sky black death” is a skydiving phrase alluding to beauty and death. They got their start making beats to rap over but soon gave up rapping to pursue producing. Below you can hear their third full-length album, Noir.

 Visit the Blue Sky Black Death Bandcamp page


Kruder & Dorfmeister

Kruder & Dorfmeister get automatic points from us for their G-Stoned cover, which resembles the famous Bookends cover by American duo Simon & Garfunkel.

Peter Kruder & Richard Dorfmeister comprise this Austrian duo and have been making music together since 1993. They got their start playing big festivals and were instantly loved by the audience. They have gone on to tour the world and continue producing music to this day. They’ve also put out their own solo albums and albums under aliases. They have at least 9 studio recorded albums available.

Here is their first album, G-Stoned.

Check out the Kruder and Dorfmeister Facebook page


Samantha James

Samantha James stands out from others on our list for her vocal style. Many downtempo artists are producers and rarely feature vocals in their work. Rather the vocals are presented as a soft ambience over the beat.

Samantha’s singing is incredibly soulful and gives a whole new life to this style of music. Coming from Los Angeles, she became involved with the underground dance scene there as a teenager.

She has been making music of her own since 2007. Her first single, Rise, was an instant hit in 2006 and she has since toured the world with her wonderful blend of electronic and soul music.

She has two full-length albums and has reached #1 on the US dance charts.

Listen to her first album, Rise, here:

Check out Samantha James on Om Records


Helicopter Girl

Helicopter Girl is a Scottish musician and has been active since 1993. She gives downtempo a unique spin incorporating elements from several genres, including dance music, indie pop and jazz.

Helicopter Girl is widely revered for her vocal style and the lyrics offer a listening experience that speaks utter truth. Straight badass. You’ve just got to give a listen and experience this for yourself.

We’ve included a link to her video for Glove Compartment but we also recommend listening to her song Angel City.

Glove Compartment is mysterious and fateful; Angel City is rockier than everything else on this list, but the vocals are cool, calm and sultry, chilling you right out with icy proclamations.

Check out Helicopter Girl on Dharma Records


Portishead

Portishead are one of the better known artists on this list. They remind us of Helicopter Girl a bit – with their infusions of other genres like indie rock laid on top of downtempo – and a bit of sex appeal.

This is music you can throw on for driving or grooving out at home, and works just as well in a lounge setting. Portishead has been around since 1991, taking a brief hiatus from 1999 through 2005. They took up music again after the break.

They’re an English band, well known in this genre because they were one of its pioneers. Despite their dislike for press coverage, their music has been successful internationally.

Even Rolling Stone referred to them as Gothic hip-hop. They’ve been around so long making this kind of music that they have been played in all kinds of underground clubs and gothic scenes.

Visit the Portishead website here

Jazz History – The Music of Harlem Finds A Home In Paris, France During Wartime

During World War I, American soldiers carried jazz music from the United States to the villages and cities of the nation of France. Segregated black American marching regiments proudly paraded their own bands, which took the sounds and jazz music of Harlem, New York into the streets of Paris and beyond.

The French took to jazz music with an unstoppable fervor. Jazz flourished with the opening of French jazz clubs and international jazz festivals. American musicians of the 30s and 40s flocked to Paris in droves, fueled by warm receptions in France and increasing race tensions back home. Today, songs like “April in Paris” have become essential standards in the history of jazz, and Paris remains one of the enduring world centers of jazz music.  Here is the world famous Count Basie version.

The Introduction of Jazz in Paris

When the United States entered World War I, thousands of American soldiers were sent overseas to help the war efforts in France. This included the 369th Harlem Infantry Regiment, led by New York bandleader Lt. James Reese. As they marched, they brought the sounds, energy, and never-before-heard innovations of jazz music into the French nation.

By the time the war had come to a close, Reese and his musicians had gained international fame, and jazz music had begun to filter into Parisian night clubs and dance halls. American masters thrilled the people of Paris with wild, swinging tunes long into the night. Although local musicians attempted to resist the intrusion of jazz into their clubrooms and venues, French artists and music critics welcomed jazz with open arms.

Before long, French jazz clubs were taking over the city of Paris, and young French musicians were turning to American jazz artists to learn new avenues of creative expression. From these early years came Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, who not only became masters in their own right, but also pioneered new instrumentation and technique throughout their years of musicianship.

Though jazz was alight in Paris, world events caused the first generation of American jazz musicians to return to the United States shortly after the close of World War I. France fell once again to German occupation, this time to the Nazi soldiers of World War II, and American jazz was banned from Paris. The Americans returned home, and for a short time, the music was silenced.

The Triumphant Return

Jazz would not be so easily silenced in France. Café and club owners continued to turn precious jazz records in underground, soundproof cellars throughout the city. While musicians in the United States continued to push jazz to new heights, Parisians played the familiar swing records until the vinyl had worn down to a whisper. They clung to the jazz that they knew, and for a while, it sustained them.

Then came the end of World War II. Thousands of native French youth came back to the cafés and night clubs of Paris, and they weren’t alone. With the end of the war, and after news of jazz’s warm welcome in the City of Lights, great American jazz musicians also flocked to France. The most creative minds in the history of jazz—Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis—all came to Paris and unleashed a new wave of jazz music onto the Parisian peoples.

Some found a permanent home in France, and if not in France, then in other nations across Europe that came to embrace jazz music. Early pioneers of bebop like Don Byas faded into relative obscurity in the United States but lived out the rest of their lives like celebrities among the European nations. Jazz had found a permanent home in western Europe, even as it thrived and continued to grow in the United States.

From wartime march rallies to the intimate cafes and night clubs of Paris, jazz became far more than just an American popular music form. Its universal appeal struck a new chord with the people of Paris and has become interwoven with the tapestry of French art and culture.

David Dawg Grisman – Mandolin Masters Series

David “Dawg” Grisman is a living mandolin master, and today we celebrate his contributions to bluegrass and newgrass music, as well as acoustic composition. He is so revered in the bluegrass scene to have invented his own genre of music called Dawg Music, into which we shall delve further along in this article.

Dawg has toured with several bands, performed in his own, played as a session musician and composed many bluegrass and newgrass songs. He is best known for his work on the mandolin, but is also accomplished on the mandola, mandocello, banjo, piano, saxophone and keyboards.

Dawg was born in Passaic, New Jersey in 1945. His background is Conservative Jewish. His family was musical, as is often seen with virtuosic musicians who go on to make grand careers of lifelong musical study. His father was a professional trombone player and passed on his skill to David who was enrolled in piano lessons at age 7. In 1955, his father passed away, and David gave up the piano. Throughout this decade he was exposed to early rock n roll and pop music, from all of which taking inspiration for his future particular brand and style.

A few years later at age 14, he resumed piano playing after discovering the Kingston Trio during the period of American folk music revival. He and friends from school were greatly influenced by Ralph Rinzler, who possessed vast knowledge of folklore and traditional music. Folk music was very popular at this time and it was then that David decided to pursue music.
 

He got his start in 1963 as a member of Even Dozen Jug Band. The following year, 1964, he would meet close friend Jerry Garcia at a Bill Monroe concert in West Grove, Pennsylvania.

In 1967 he played mandocello on Morning Again, an album by Tom Paxton. Also in 1967, he played in Earth Opera, a psychedelic group with Peter Rowan (fellow bluegrass composer). Then in 1973, he formed Old and In The Way, a bluegrass group, with Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements, Jerry Garcia and John Kahn. It was during this time period he was given the nickname Dawg.

The next year, 1974, Dawg, Rowan and Richard Greene played in the band Muleskinner with Bill Keith and Clarence White. During this year he also played in The Great American Music Band. In 1975 he started the David Grisman Quartet who then released their first album in 1977. In this year he also played mandocello for Sweet Forgiveness by Bonnie Raitt.

 

Just as Dawg himself has played in several bands both live and as a session musician, Dawg Music is a style of music inspired by an eclectic selection of sounds, including jazz and modern jazz fusion, bluegrass, folk and Old World Mediterranean string band. Together all of these sources create a unique sound that is vivacious, playful and technical.

To this day he plays with the David Grisman Quintet and his other bluegrass group, David Grisman Bluegrass Experience with Keith Little on banjo, Chad Manning on fiddle, Jim Nunally on guitar and Samson Grisman on upright bass. Recently he toured with John Sebastian (songwriter and guitar player) as a duo. They also recorded an album together.

David Dawg Grisman is a feature artist on Common Chord, an album with both traditional and contemporary folk songs. He was a judge for the sixth and seventh annual Independent Music Awards, and his song Dawggy Mountain Breakdown was the opening theme of Car Talk, a talk show about automobiles.

His life’s work also includes appearing on American Beauty, an album by Grateful Dead (1970). He wrote a lot of bluegrass music for 1974 film Big Bad Mama, as played by the Great American Music Band. He was also involved with the music scores on films Capone (1975), Eat My Dust! (1976) and King of the Gypsies (1978).

 He is married, and has three grown children. His children are musicians and filmmakers residing in the United States. His son Samson plays bass and they often perform together. Gillian is a filmmaker living in California who directed Grateful Dawg about her father’s deep friendship with Jerry Garcia. Monroe is named for Bill Monroe of course, famed mandolin player, and plays in a Tom Petty tribute band in California.

Dawg’s versatile musical style has led him to accomplish great things, including his extensive discography as well as starting his own record label, Acoustic Disc Record Label, which he founded in 1990. The label is based in California and focuses on folk, bluegrass and new acoustic music. Before starting his own label, he has been associated with Electra, A&M and Warner Brothers. He is a highly accomplished musician and has given so much to the world of folk and newgrass. It is inspiring to see someone so wholly dedicated to their instrument and to furthering the genre.

Bill Monroe – Mandolin Masters Series

Bill Monroe is a very important figure in the world of mandolin. He helped create bluegrass music, earning him the title Father of Bluegrass.

A Bit About Bluegrass Style

Bluegrass is encompassed by the genre of country music, taking root in Irish, Scottish and English music while incorporating elements of jazz. These traditional music styles often take the form of ballads and folk dance music. When listening to bluegrass you will notice that different instruments take turns playing lead roles, known as the head of the song. These are often improvised around while one instrument plays the melody, and this is where the jazz inspiration comes in.

When bluegrass was born, this style was so different compared to old-time music, where all the instruments would play in harmony together, or one would lead and others would accompany. There is traditional bluegrass with acoustic instrumentation; progressive bluegrass, which uses electric instruments or other music styles; and bluegrass gospel, which uses Christian lyrics and soulful singing.

Bill Monroe – Mandolin Master

Bill Monroe played traditional bluegrass, which uses acoustic instrumentation with traditional chord progression. He was born in Rosine, Kentucky in 1911 to a musical family that sang and played music at home. Many famous musicians grew up this way, enabling them the early practice that would turn them into stars. His brothers played the fiddle and guitar, so he was rather forced to take on the mandolin.

His mother died when he was ten, and his father died when he was 16. This forced him to live with varying aunts and uncles, until he settled with his uncle Pendleton Vandiver who would accompany him with the fiddle at dances. Monroe recorded a song in 1950 entitled “Uncle Pen” for him, and later in 1972 recorded an entire album called Bill Monroe’s Uncle Pen. Indeed, it was Uncle Pen who taught him all the ways of that music including a large repertoire of fiddle songs from traditional music: these songs are what got into Bill’s bones and created a hunger for the fast-paced melodies. 

He also gave credit to a fiddler and guitarist named Arnold Shultz who introduced him to the blues. 

He moved for work in 1929. While working at an oil refinery with his brothers, they played music together until 1938. He spent some time searching for band members and eventually formed Blue Grass Boys, whose songs had the early beginnings of bluegrass style including fast tempos and virtuosic instrumentation. Monroe was still experimenting with his band’s sound. He only sang tenor harmony rather than lead vocals; likewise, his banjo player did not play any solos.
 

All of the recordings from 1940-1945 showed a transitional style between tradition string-band music and the genre he was about to create. These new additions to the music included a rhythm guitarist (Lester Flatt) that would help keep the time, and a banjo (Earl Scruggs) played with three-finger picking style. Monroe and his band Blue Grass Boys performed at the Grand Ole Opry and added fiddler Chubby Wise and bassist Howard Watts. This band recorded 28 songs between 1946 and 1947, and these songs would come to be known as the classics of the bluegrass genre. Some of their best known songs are “Toy Heart” and ballad “Blue Moon of Kentucky” which was later recorded by Elvis Presley in a rock-n-roll style.

Bill Monroe also recorded some gospel songs, with four-part vocals accompanied by mandolin and guitar. He felt the church songs should be as raw and true and possible.

Flatt and Scruggs left the band in 1948 to form their own group, but Monroe went onto the golden age of his career with new members in the Blue Grass Boys, including lead vocals and rhythm guitar, banjo and fiddler. It was with this new band he recorded his song Uncle Pen, with other bluegrass classics like “My Little Georgia Rose” and a mandolin feature called “Raw Hide.” These years saw big success for the band until Monroe and bass player Bessie Lee Mauldin were in a car accident. He spent four months recovering from the injuries until he resumed touring.

Into the late 1950s, bluegrass had lost its popularity and there was less and less demand for his band’s live performances, despite their regular spot on the Grand Ole Opry. However, the popularity of folk music in the 1960s brought him back into the spotlight as young students and fans of folk saw him and Blue Grass Boys as folk rather than country. They expanded past the southern country music scene in the later 1960s and was the central figure of a 1965 bluegrass festival in Virginia. The diverse backgrounds of his band members contributed to an overall more diverse sound and they were widely received.

Blue Grass Boys c. 1966

The bluegrass revival went into the late 1960s and 1970s and his band continued to record and release music up into the 1980s. In 1989, he celebrated his 50th year on the Grand Ole Opry.

His last performance was March 15, 1996, and he passed away September 9, 1996 in Springfield, Tennessee.

5 Famous Jazz Mandolin Players

Mandolin takes 20th century root in American bluegrass and jazz style, both of which utilize tight improvisation and quick movement. With this article we take a look at five famous mandolin players who make/made significant contributions to the jazz mandolin style.

 1. Jethro Burns

Kenneth Charles Burns earned the name Jethro after touring as comedic duo Homer and Jethro back in the 1930s, with Henry D. Haynes. He brought humour to his mandolin acts, telling jokes between songs. His great energy and humour combined with impeccable mandolin picking and original style made him a mandolin legend.

He was a country musician, but played jazz style on the mandolin, using clean, single-note melodies rather than bluegrass style. He was responsible for introducing jazz melodies and methods of playing to country mandolinists. Growing up in the big band era, he took a lot of influence from Cole Porter and Duke Ellington.

Over the decades and into the 1970s he had inspired an entire younger generation of acoustic musicians. In this same decade he wrote several columns for Mandolin World News on both music and humour.

He toured with Haynes, Ken Eidson and Steve Goodman. He was a great entertainer, a master teacher of mandolin jazz, and was inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

  1. Paul Glasse

Paul Glasse grew up in New York. As a young person he was drawn to the acoustic sound of the mandolin. Growing up he listening to bluegrass, old timey and New England traditional music, and moved to Austin, Texas in 1977 to sturdy under Tiny Moore who taught him Texas Swing. This genre is quick in tempo and blends early country with jazz harmony, a la 1930s swing. To this day, Paul is known for this style.

In the 1980s he won several mandolin contests for his master picking including the Buck White International Mandolin Championship. His signature skills include improvisation and head, where he takes on the lead of a song, or its main theme.

  1. John Reischman 

John Reischman has a large repertoire of songs and styles, whether he is writing original pieces and touring with his band the Jaybirds, re-inventing old-time tunes, or playing bluegrass. He is renowned for his mastery of the mandolin, which he began playing in the 1970s, and helped build the new acoustic sound.

He was highly influenced by early bluegrass mandolinists such as Jethro Burns and David Grisman. Over the years he has collaborated with many artists, creating new hybrids of cross-cultural sounds on the mandolin due to his interest in musical rhythms and stringed instruments.

In addition to his collaborative albums he also has three solo albums, on which he performs both original songs and traditional tunes. He stands at the forefront of American Bluegrass style, but his mandolin style is very jazzy in the sophisticated interplay between himself and other instruments, and his ability to improvise.

  1. Tony Williamson 

Tony Williamson is a mandolin virtuoso, bringing his extensive knowledge of musical intruments and their histories to his playing. For 40 years he has delighted audiences across the globe with his superb mandolin playing, and when he is not playing he is selling vintage and pre-owned instruments. This originated with his grandfather, who made musical instruments and inspired his grandchildren Tony and brother Gary, on banjo, to begin playing in 1957.

By 1969 Tony and his brother were child sensations and won World Championship. He received his degree with highest honours at University of North Carolina where he was born and raised, and after graduating, went on tour with the Bluegrass Alliance. From there he played in a number of bands utilizing classical, folk and jazz styles on his mandolin.

His work with the mandolin is largely responsible for its modern-day popularity, as he is immensely talented as a player but also highly knowledgeable. He shows his collection of vintage guitars and mandolins to crowds, demonstrating their tone and craftsmanship. It is rare to find instruments like these being used, as opposed to sitting in museums. He continues to record, using F-5 mandolins from the 1920s (around the time Gibson had invented this model). 

  1. Don Stiernberg 

Don Stienberg has been playing mandolin for fifty years, and in this time period he has also performed, written, recorded, produced and taught. He was born in Chicago and is based there. As a child he was gifted a mandolin, and was sent to study with Jethro Burns, who became role model, mentor and friend. Don lived and breathed mandolin and played in a bluegrass band called The Morgan Brothers, and later in The Jethro Burns Quartet.

He is currently regarded as a trailblazer for the jazz mandolin style. His working band is called The Don Stiernberg Trio, with whom he recently recorded his ninth music project. The trio has performed across North America and in Germany and Brazil. He participates in The Mandolin Symposium in California and several mandolin and acoustic camps across the United States, Italy, Germany and Brazil.

Capturing A Great Day In Harlem – A Portrait of New York Jazz

If you lived and played jazz in New York, Harlem was a part of you and you were a part of it. It didn’t matter what style or era of jazz you were a part of—there were legends behind you and future giants ahead. Harlem was the home of jazz, the crucible for jazz, and the story of jazz fleshed out through its music, language, fashion, art, literature, and just about every aspect of culture throughout the early to mid-century.

They called it the Harlem renaissance. At the fore of the nation’s free black community were the jazz musicians, who experienced both international fame and domestic racial inequity. They worked their passions until they bled, and knew that their celebrity standing didn’t make them exempt to police brutality and hate crimes.

By the year 1958, Harlem had long established and upheld its reputation as the Cultural Capital of Black America. Esquire magazine was planning a huge issue on jazz music, and in the true spirit of jazz, one small-time freelancer improvised a contribution that would make history and capture the Harlem Renaissance forever.

The Great Eras of Jazz

Throughout the 1950s, Harlem housed so many eras of jazz musicians that pioneers born before the turn of the 20th century were playing just down the street from established, extremely talented musicians born as late as 1930. From that 30-year spread in musicians’ births, the swing era lived and died, the bebop movement surfaced, hot jazz and cool jazz had been played and retired in dance halls and night clubs.

Art Kane was a small-time magazine art director when he came up with the idea of bringing out as many jazz musicians as possible for a single photo shoot. The act had never been done before. Kane knew that he wanted it to be in Harlem, where these people lived and created. He understood that in order to capture the spirit of jazz as a driving cultural force, he would need to capture life in Harlem.

Kane scouted a location for the shoot and chose a random building on 126th Street between Madison and Fifth Avenues. In his mind, anyone could have lived in that building, and little did he know that his photograph would make that building famous. He put out the call the only way he possibly could have, shoving it through as many channels as he could and then waiting to see who would come.

The Nighthawks in Broad Daylight

Kane’s plan had one major hiccup for jazz musicians: call time was set at 10 o’clock in the morning. Though the time was ideal for photography, with ideal lighting and atmosphere, it was a challenge for photograph subjects who regularly worked until (and often well past) 4 o’clock in the morning.

The brutal call time threatened to limit or even prevent a large crowd from turning up. One musician is reported to have said that they didn’t realize that there were two 10 o’clocks in the same day. Yet the call to action was strong, and everyone realized that what Kane was suggesting had never been done before.

Jazz musicians are in the business of doing things that have never been done before. Spurred on by one another, and interested in the sheer novelty of the act, 57 prominent jazz musicians showed up for Kane’s photograph.

Bebop veterans Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk showed up and chatted with swing legends Count Basie and Gene Krupa. Young skyrocketing tenor saxophone players Sonny Rollins and Benny Golson showed up to stand alongside Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, who pioneered the instrument in jazz.

Kane’s attempts to direct and structure the 57 musicians for the photograph fell mostly by the wayside. In the end, he did what any good jazz musician would have done. He incorporated the lives, the conversations, the energies, and the chaos of everything happening in front of him.

The result is a single, cohesive effort that has since become the most famous and historically celebrated portrait of jazz artists of all time.

The Newport Jazz Festival – A Brief History

In 1954, Newport, Rhode Island hosted the “First Annual American Jazz Festival.” It was the first time that live acts travelled and gathered in one place to perform live jazz music for an audience. An estimated 12,000 people packed themselves into the Newport Casino to see the world’s biggest names in jazz of the day: Dizzy Gillespie, Teddy Wilson, Stan Kenton, Gene Krupa, Lester Young, and Billie Holiday to name a few.

For over three decades, the Newport Jazz Festival featured new and tenured jazz musicians who all came together for once-in-a-lifetime performances. From the very start in 1954, the festival set itself up for meetings and performances that impacted the jazz world. During Billie Holiday’s performance, Lester Young walked onstage and joined her. Their performance ended years of estrangement between them, and brought many in the audience to joyful tears.

Although billed as the first American ‘jazz’ festival, it stands out today as it was the first ever American music festival. Newport occured fifteen years before the first Woodstock, and drew a bigger crowd than the first Coachella, Glastonbury, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo. It set the stage for all future music festivals and epitomized the spirit of music and performance.

The Rise of a Festival

The story is simple: crowds flocked by the thousands to sit on a lawn in Newport, Rhode Island, and listen to some of the world’s best musicians come together around jazz. After the first year on the casino lawn, the festival sought larger outdoor venues, settling upon Freebody Park for a majority of the first decade of performances.

The third annual festival put Newport on the map. Crowds watched as Paul Gonsalves began soloing over “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,” backed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He would continue to solo for 27 choruses, transforming the audience from peacefully seated spectators to wild and crazed dancers. The effort is credited for revitalizing Ellington’s career, and made the Newport Jazz Festival an annual destination.

The festival grew in popularity with each passing year. A documentary of the festival was filmed in 1958, and in 1960, a few musicians staged a separate festival mere blocks away, angry at not being offered a high-paying slot. In 1965, Frank Sinatra entered by helicopter and performed with the Count Basie Orchestra. In 1970, the entire festival was dedicated to Louis Armstrong’s 70th birthday. The legendary jazz pioneer made an appearance, singing and performing with other acts.

Every year, the venues were pushed to the limit of what they could handle. All of the energy, excitement, and emotion began to create problems for the municipalities and government of Rhode Island. Starting in 1969, crowds became too out of control for any of the venues in Newport to properly handle. By 1971, extreme fans were storming the stages and destroyed equipment. Unable to continue forward, the festival left Newport in search of a new home.

Newport Jazz in New York

The following year, 1972, saw Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, and 59 other big-name musicians playing over 30 concerts at Yankee Stadium and Radio City Music Hall, among other venues. The outdoor, jazz festival environment fused with the adrenaline laced pulse of the big city. And it continued to grow.

Throughout the 70s, the Newport Jazz Festival would become a title attached to festivals held everywhere from New York, to New England, to Japan. Corporate sponsors began lending financial weight to expansions and improvements of the annual festivals. By 1973 the festival had expanded to Carnegie Hall, where Ella Fitzgerald gave on of the more famous performances of the history of the festival.

Yet festival producer George Wein began to feel that festival had lost some of the classic magic of the outdoor venue. Though expanding and successful, the festival began to lose the focus on music. Wein felt that this was symbolized in the use of ‘Newport Jazz’ as a brand, and decided to protect the legacy of the festival.

The Return to Newport & The Future

The festival moved back to Newport, Rhode Island in 1981, where it remains today. Dave Brubeck and Dizzy Gillespie returned for the third evolution of the festival, and other prominent musicians such as Wynton Marsalis, Ray Charles, Diana Krall, and Harry Connick Jr. have made multiple appearances.

Wein retired from directing the festival and passed the torch to Christian McBride, an extremely talented bassist and big band bandleader. Today, the festival remains a balance of tradition and innovation, resisting labelling and branding, and maintaining its roots as a purely improvised and expressive performance art show.

Tom Harrell – American Jazz Trumpeter Bio

tom harrell american jazz trumpetist

Tom Harrell is an American jazz trumpeter, arranger, flugelhorn player, and composer born in Urbana, Illinois on the 16th of June, 1946.

Tom Harrell Bio

Moving to the San Francisco Bay area at the age of 5, Tom began playing the trumpet at the age of eight. His family then moved to live near San Francisco Bay where he played with local bands from the age of thirteen on.

In 1969 he graduated with a degree in musical composition from Stanford University and joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra, and had his first major recording experiences in that year as well.

Tom Harrell with Phil Woods-02

Watch this edition of the Pace Report to hear Tom talk about his feelings about jazz and also schitzophrenia, as he actually uses it to inform his highly unique brand of playing.

Some of the bands he played in include Woody Herman (1970-1971), Azteca (1972), Horace Silver Quintet (1973-1977), Sam Jones Big Band, Lee Konitz Nonet (1979-1981), with George Russell, the Mel Lewis Orchestra (1981) and the Liberation Music Orchestra of Charlie Haden.

Here is Tom playing with pianist Horace Silver, and a host of other greats – Umbria Jazz – 1976.

a night of chesky jazz at town hall

Between 1983 and 1989, Tom was one of the key members of the Phil Woods Quintet, and, since 1989, Tom Harrell has been running his own bands.

Here’s the Tom Harrell Octet in action, playing “Samba de Amor”.

Visit Tom Harrell’s website here

Tom Harrell Discography

As a band leader

  • 1976 – Aurora (reissued as Total , 1987)
  • 1978 – Mind’s Ear
  • 1984 – Play of Light
  • 1985 – Moon Alley
  • 1986 – Sundance
  • 1987 – Open Air
  • 1988 – Stories
  • 1989 – Lonely Eyes
  • 1989 – Sail Away
  • 1990 – Form
  • 1991 – Moon and Sand
  • 1991 – Visions
  • 1991 – Passages
  • 1992 – Sail Away – live in Paris
  • 1994 – Upswing
  • 1995 – Cape Verde
  • 1996 – Labyrinth
  • 1998 – The Art of Rhythm
  • 1999 – Time’s Mirror
  • 2001 – Paradise
  • 2002 – Live at the Village Vanguard
  • 2003 – Wise Children
  • 2007 – Humanity
  • 2007 – Light On
  • 2009 – Prana Dance
  • 2010 – Roman Nights
  • 2011 – The Time of the Sun
  • 2012 – Number Five
  • 2013 – Colors of a Dream
  • 2014 – TRIP
  • 2016 – Something gold, something blue

As a co-leader / contributor

With John McNeil

  • Look to the Sky ( SteepleChase , 1979)

With Bill Evans

  • We Will Meet Again ( Verve , 1979)

With Horace Silver

  • Silver ‘n Brass ( Blue Note , 1975) 2
  • Silver ‘n Wood (Blue Note, 1976)
  • Silver ‘n Voices (Blue Note, 1976)
  • Silver ‘n Percussion (Blue Note, 1977)
  • Silver ‘n Strings Play the Music of the Spheres (Blue Note, 1979)

With Charlie Haden

  • Dream Keeper (Verve, 1990)
  • The Montreal Tapes: Liberation Music Orchestra (Verve, 1999)

With Joe Lovano

  • Village Rhythm ( Soul Note , 1988)
  • Quartets: Live at the Village Vanguard (Blue Note, 1994)

With Gordon Brisker

  • Cornerstone (Sea Breeze Jazz, 1984) 3

With Harold Danko

  • Coincidence (Dreamstreet Records, 1979)

With George Gruntz

  • Theater (ECM , 1983)

With Phil Woods

  • Integrity (Red , 1984)
  • Gratitude (Denon, 1986)
  • Dizzy Gillespie Meets Phil Woods Quintet (Timeless , 1986)
  • Bop Stew (Concord , 1987)
  • Evolution (Concord, 1988)
  • Flash (Concord, 1989)
  • Bouquet (Concord, 1989)