Pre-Bop Style

Before Be Bop came along in the 1930s or so, swing music was king. These baritone saxophonists are primarily known for anchoring fantastic big bands, but most of them are incredible soloists in their own right.

Charlie Fowlkes

February 16, 1916 – February 9, 1980

Charlie Fowlkes’ relationship with Count Basie sets records for lengthy sideman stints, lasting more than 25 years. The number of Basie sides that this baritone saxophonist appears on also tends to win contests in competitive recording stacking, not that this is an activity to …

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Danny Bank


We are sad to report that on June 5th, 2010 Danny Bank passed away. He was a great teacher, and an incredible musician. He is one of the most recorded baritone saxophonist of all time.

Read an interview from 2008 with Danny here.

Read what saxophonist Jon Gordon has to say about Danny.

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Ernie Caceres

Ernie Caceres was born in Rockport, Texas in November, 1911. He was the brother of Emilio (violinist) and Pinero (trumpeter and pianist). Starting in 1928, he worked in local Texas bands, and then with Emilio in Detroit and New York. He joined Bobby Hackett in the summer of 1938, then played tenor …

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Harry Carney

April 1, 1910 – October 8, 1974

Harry Carney was a long tenured featured soloist in Duke Ellington’s band and the first baritone saxophone soloist in jazz. Carney joined Duke Ellington’s Orchestra when he was 17 in 1927 and remained for over 46 years, passing away in …

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Haywood Henry

January 10 1913 – September 15, 1994

An unsung player, Haywood Henry was one of the finest baritone-saxophonists of the swing era; so good in fact that he occasionally substituted for Harry Carney with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra. Henry started on clarinet (which he continued using as a double throughout his career) and tenor before focusing …

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Jack Washington

July 17, 1910 – November 28, 1964

The unsung hero of the baritone-sax, Jack Washington never achieved much recognition but, along with Harry Carney, he was among the very first strong soloists on the baritone. He actually started off playing soprano sax when he was 13 before switching permanently to …

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Joe Temperley

September 20, 1929 – 2016

Read Mr. Temperley’s obituary in the New York Times here.

Baritonist Joe Temperley is the perfect musician to fill in for Harry Carney during recreations of Duke Ellington’s music, a role that has often overshadowed his own fine voice. Temperley actually started on …

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