Curated by Andrew Hadro
I recently created a ‘essential album’ guide to the baritone saxophone for this site. However, many of the regular visitors here are already well versed in the baritone saxophone and are probably aware of those albums. So I wanted to create a ‘deeper listening’ guide for people of albums that are more obscure and they may not have heard of. Because this is so subjective, even more so than the ‘essential’ list, I also reached out to some of today’s prominent baritonists to get their lists as well. Several albums appear on multiple lists, but are represented here in duplicate to give you an idea of how much overlap there can be.
Do you have an obscure, or lesser known album you think people should hear? Drop a note in the comment section below!
For your convenience, use the links below to jump to the deeper listening list for each person:
Notice: All of the album links within this article are associate links. When you buy through links on this site, we may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate this site earns from qualifying purchases. These fees go towards hosting fees for the website.
Deeper Listening list – Andrew Hadro
Cecil Payne – Patterns of Jazz
Leo Parker – Let Me Tell You ‘Bout It
Hamiet Bluiett – Birthright
Pat Patrick – Sound Advice
I personally think Pat Patrick laid a solid foundation for a lot of jazz that would stray from the mainstream and also for the baritone saxophone in other genre’s like afro-beat.
Joe Temperley – Concerto for Joe
Frank Basile – Thursday the 12th
There are a lot of baritonists out there making great music, but for me the one that has the strongest foundation in the tradition of the jazz lineage is Frank, hands down. He is definitely in the lineage of Pepper Adams. So much so, that while Pepper invented the style I think Frank has perfected it. Frank is an avid sideman and leader, and incredibly knowledgeable about the history of jazz, especially that relating to the baritone. If you like straight ahead hard swinging jazz, Frank is one of the best out there now.
Thursday the 12th is one of Frank’s albums and its great listening, just that simple.
Dana Colley / Morphine – Cure For Pain
Morphine was a rock trio popular in the 1990’s consisting of drums, voice/2 string slide electric bass, and baritone saxophone. Dana’s sound, improvisations and great feel are integral parts of what made this band such an undergound hit. If you are a fan of the baritone saxophone and modern rock at all, you’ll enjoy these albums. Dana especially is clearly heavily jazz influenced.
Cure For Pain is probably Morphine’s best known album.
Charles Evans – The King of All Instruments
I don’t say this lightly, but Charles has created an album that sounds unlike any other. Its really an album only a baritonist should love, but it fortunately was well received enough to receive 5 stars from Downbeat Magazine – a rare feat! Charles is not a baritonist you will see performing a lot, but he is incredibly serious about the instrument and has put serious work into it. This album is a series of compositions of nothing but baritone saxophone in layers. It utilizes the full range of the baritone (including extreme altissimo) to create stunning sounds. I’m fairly sure most people will not have heard this album, but its worth it.
Scott Robinson – Bob Brookmeyer, Celebration Suite
Deeper Listening list – Aaron Lington
Lars Gullin – Fabodjazz
“A great collection of playing and arrangements by this lyrical baritonist who died too young.”
Bob Gordon – George Redman Quintet, Featuring Bob Gordon
“Gordon could REALLY handle the horn and died very young in a car crash. We never got to see or hear what he could have become.”
Deeper Listening list – Frank Basile
Leo Parker – Bill Jennings, Billy in the Lion’s Den
Charles Davis – Ronnie Mathews, Doin’ the Thing
Charles Davis – Cedar Walton, The Breakthrough
Various artists – The Soul of Jazz Percussion
“3 tracks by Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Quintet – This is kind of hard to find on LP, but it’s been issued on CD under the title “The Third World” Donald Byrd/Booker Little.”
Sonny Stitt – Jazz at the Hi-Hat
“He plays a few tunes on baritone.”
Ronnie Cuber – Rein de Graaff, New York Jazz
Deeper Listening list – Kenny Berger
Tate Houston – Curtis Fuller, Bone & Bari
Cecil Payne – Patterns of Jazz
Ronnie Ross – Allan Ganley, The Jazz Makers
Deeper Listening list – Lauren Sevian
Nick Brignola – Baritone Madness featuring Pepper Adams
Serge Chaloff – Blue Serge
Pepper Adams – Plays Charles Mingus
Pepper Adams – Encounter
Cecil Payne – Stop and Listen
“Previously known as The Connection, Cecil and Kenny Drew composed the music to the ‘new’ off Broadway production”
The Deeper Listening Album for me is the Mulligan California Concerts, both volumes.
Blue Going Up, and Little Girl Blue are my favorites. I love playing the Hadro transcription of Mulligan’s solo on Blues Going Up. The counterpoint between Eardley and Mulligan on Little Girl Blue is amazing. I have a CD player in my older car.
I listen to these cuts almost every time I drive the car.