C.G. Conn made saxophones for many decades. Some of their best horns were produced in the late ’20’s and 30’s, decades before Selmer made a decent horn. And the characteristics of the Conn seem to really fit well with many baritonists. Players like Gerry Mulligan, Harry Carney, Ronnie Ross and many others used Conn’s as well as many modern day players. Perhaps its the style of projection, and large sound that Conn’s can produce. Regardless a lot of you out there love Conn’s as do I.
Well for us fans of the Conn, there is a new website and Instagram profile to enjoy. Its called “Connsortia” and has some great content. It has many photos of different engravings used on Conn saxophones, some of them stock, some of them incredible custom engravings of beautiful nature scenes or portraits. There are dozens of comparison photos of the famous “naked lady” or “lady face” engraving – I had no idea there was so much variety! There is a also a great deal of information about the master engravers. The site has other oddities like Billy True’s patented contraption to play 3 saxophones at once.
There are other sites out there too if you’d like to go down this rabbit hole (I do!), to learn about the history and see photos such as:
The Connsortia site is a sub-site of Getasax.com which is a reputable site that deals largely in vintage horns. Enjoy!
I have often stated my admiration for Frank Basile, for his playing, as well as his knowledge of the history and tradition of Jazz. He is my first choice when I am looking for advice or information about the history of the baritone saxophone. But he is not just a trove of knowledge, his playing is fantastic and he has fully absorbed a huge trove of jazz language and tradition. One of the last concerts I saw before the current pandemic forced closings was a group he co-led with Gary Smulyan – it was great. When I found out that Frank had a recording in the works with tenor saxophonist, Sam Dillon I knew it would be excellent. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear Sam play for years and even sit in some big band sections with him. In a world full of tenor saxophonists, he is a monster that stands out.
So today, August 7th, 2020 Frank and Sam have released their album “Two Part Solution” on the Cellar Live label. I just got done ordering my copy and can’t wait for it to arrive. I’ve already heard most of the album and it is indeed great. The playing, the recording (recorded at the legendary Rudy Van Gelder’s in Englewood Cliffs, NJ), the arrangements, everything is good. The songs include some original compositions by both Frank and Sam. Though Jazz fans will also enjoy their take on the classic “Two Bass Hit”
I would really recommend getting a copy of this album, you can do so directly at Frank’s website (the best way to support artists!):
I’d like to thank Jorge Retamoza for sharing two new transcriptions to the repository. Two very different solos but both from two great baritonists.
First is a Gerry Mulligan solo from what I always thought was one of Gerry Mulligan’s more interesting albums. Its called “Close Your Eyes and Listen” and its from a collaborative album Mulligan made in the 70’s with Argentinian Tango master, Astor Piazzolla. The music is beautiful and the arrangements are excellent. There is some tinge of unfortunate 70’s era percussion and sounds but overall I think the album is beautiful and Mulligan’s lyrical playing worked really well with Piazzolla’s tango.
The second solo is a Pepper Adams solo. Its the title track from his album, “Urban Dreams”. Not much to add here other than its great to have another classic Pepper solo in the mix. Urban Dreams is one of the later recordings he made as a leader.
Head on over to the Transcriptions page and check them out.
Jay Metcalf of the BetterSax YouTube channel did a very nice video segment with baritonist Jason Marshall. They talk about sound, air, the difference between low Bb and Low A, equipment and more. Check it out below.
The total download count for the Transcription repository has surpassed 300,000! That’s a lot of baritone solos! Looking forward to the next 300,000!
Thank you to Anthony Pellegrini for another transcription! This one is pretty interesting – Jimmy Heath. Known more as a tenor saxophonist he did record a small amount on the baritone saxophone, and Anthony found a gem of a short little solo that has some very classic be-bop language. Its on a tune called “Short Life” from a Howard McGee album.
Jimmy Heath passed away earlier this year at the age of 93. If you enjoy jazz autobiographies his is well worth the read, “I Walked With Giants”. He was a master saxophonist, a great teacher amazing composer, big band leader and frankly one of the wittiest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. So please check out a rare baritone solo from this master saxophonist on the Transcriptions page.
Over the last few months as all musicians have basically been sidelined at home, many of them have taken to collaborating online. One such group is the Quarantined Woodwind Ensemble, made up of many of New York City’s finest Jazz and/or Broadway musicians. Their most recent video on the classic song “Just The Two Of Us” features prominently two baritone saxophonists – Lauren Sevian and Jason Marshall. Check out the video below.
The transcriptions keep rolling in. Thank you to Avery Barten, for sending in another couple Leo Parker transcriptions. This time on “Glad Lad” and “VI”. Some nice medium-up tempo tracks off of Let Me Tell You Bout It. Head over to the transcriptions page and grab copies for yourself.
In other news, fantastic baritonist, record collector, and jazz scholar Frank Basile recently participated in a very interesting radio show. Its a show that features music found on 78 records. For you young ones out there, that’s not 1978, that 78 rpm
vinyl shellac records (thank you for the correction, Frank) that were used mostly in the first half of the 20th century. Frank brought in and discussed a number of excellent Be-Bop era records. To listen to the show head over to the Hot Club of New York website and scroll down to “Frank Basile”.