November 24, 1923 – July 16, 1957

One of the great baritone-saxophonists and the first major soloist on that instrument to emerge since Harry Carney (he preceded Gerry Mulligan), Serge Chaloff was a drug addict during his prime years, resulting in broken friendships and lost opportunities. After playing with the orchestras of Boyd Raeburn (1944-45), Georgie Auld (1945-46) and Jimmy Dorsey (1946-47), he found fame as one of the “Four Brothers” with Woody Herman’s Second Herd (1947-49). After a stint with Count Basie’s octet (1950), Chaloff returned to his native Boston where he eventually worked on kicking his dangerous habit. Ironically when he finally got off drugs, Chaloff contracted spinal paralysis and he played his final recording session (a reunion of the Four Brothers in 1957) seated in a wheelchair. Mosaic’s 1993 limited-edition four-CD Serge Chaloff box set has all of his sessions as a leader and his exciting solos still put him near the top of his field. — Scott Yanow, All-Music Guide

Make sure you read up on the story of Serge’s final days in Woody Herman’s band.

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