Category: News

BIG news for the baritone – Low Blow Music launches!

This is the biggest news I’ve been able to write about I think since launching this site 15 years ago.

Some time last year Gary Smulyan called me to propose a crazy idea to promote the baritone saxophone. Though we have planned and scrapped those plans a few times we are finally at the point where we can announce a new organization devoted to the baritone saxophone. Low Blow Music was formed by Gary Smulyan in conjunction with the council of baritonists – Frank Basile, Claire Daly, Andrew Hadro (myself), Brian Landrus and Jason Marshall – with the purpose of promoting the baritone saxophone.

We’re hoping to make this a world-wide phenomenon, and to kick things off we are celebrating Pepper Adams’ birthday on October 8th, 2022 with a BARITONE MARATHON. 12 hours of baritone and a jam session to boot. In addition to performances from groups led by Gary as well as each of the council of baritonists, we have additional performances from Lauren Sevian, Dave Schumacher, Roger Rosenberg and Carl Maraghi! The day will start at 12pm with Gary Smulyan and end at 12:30pm with an open Jam Session! Click here to see the full line up and schedule.

But perhaps the even more exciting news is that we have launched LowBlowMusic.com – this is a site that offers exclusive baritone content for a very affordable yearly membership of $25. Membership will get you all of the following:

-Access to the live stream of the October 8th event!
-Council of baritonists videos – conversation and mini lessons from Gary Smulyan, Claire Daly, Andrew Hadro, Jason Marshall, and Brian Landrus!
-Rare photos from Gary Smulyan’s career and travels
-Free download of the album “Marcescence” from Andrew Hadro
-Custom altissimo fingering chart from Andrew Hadro
-Rare photos from Claire Daly’s career and travels!
-Free download of the album “Mirage” from Brian Landrus
-Access to unreleased live Frank Basile performance in France
And more to come soon.

You can also support this organization by joining as a Gold Member or becoming a Sponsor of one of the live sets!

I hope to see you at the Ornithology Jazz Club in person, and look forward to sharing all of the forthcoming baritone goodness with you.

Andrew Hadro

Brian Landrus releases new album, “Red List”

Brian Landrus is a modern baritonist, amongst all the many other woodwinds he plays – often focusing on the low range. In addition to recently joining the composition faculty at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Brian has released a new album. This album is called Red List, and refers to a list of critically endangered animals – Brian is hoping to raise awareness about this important issue.

The album sounds great, and Brian has assembled an incredible list of musicians to play on it. It has a lot of room for improvisation but is clearly showcasing Brian’s composition skills and also leaning into more of a modern rock/electric sound that is refreshing to hear.

Have a listen below, and head over to Brian’s website to pick up a copy.

2 Recordings from Josh Sinton

The baritone saxophone is not nearly as prevalent as the alto or tenor, so it is inherently somewhat niche. Josh Sinton is a long time practitioner of the baritone and is exploring the edges of what the already somewhat undiscovered baritone saxophone can do. He has two new recordings out and they are worth listening to.

“b.” is a solo baritone saxophone recording. Recording an instrument acoustically while playing solo is incredibly daunting and ambitious. Adding digital effect, pedals, loops etc can really assist the endeavor. But Josh has spent a lot of time developing a repertoire of sounds and approaches to the saxophone such that he can now present an entire album’s length of music and sound with just him and a saxophone in a room. When listening to a solo instrumental recording I like to try to keep in the foreground the physical reality of the music. This is a large brass tube with holes in it, and the variety of sounds that can be produced with it is astonishing and worth listening to.

The other recording, “Adumbrations” is a trio recording with Josh, Jed Wilson, and Tony Falco. While still not striking down the middle of main-stream jazz this recording might be more familiar sounding to some listeners. The interaction between the musicians is really what’s special here. I especially enjoyed hearing Josh play some excellent flute.

I encourage you to expand your palate for baritone and go to Josh’s band camp page and have a listen. You make like it, love it, or just be interested to know what’s possible.

Interview with Dana Colley and Jerome Deupree from Morphine

An interesting interview with baritone saxophonist Dana Colley. If you don’t know Morphine and you’re a fan of the baritone saxophone, especially in non straight-ahead jazz settings, this is a must listen band.

Dana and drummer Jerome Deupree made up 2/3 of the band Morphine and took part in a podcast interview recently. Its worth listening to.

https://www.theirverybest.com/episodes/014-morphine-pt-2

Welcome to the internet, leoparkermusic.com

Almost 15 years ago I took the helm of this site and launched it at its current home, jazzbarisax.com. The reason I created this site and maintain it is to address the lack of readily available information about the baritone saxophone and the musicians that use it as their voice. Especially the ones that aren’t Gerry Mulligan or Pepper Adams (though I love them too). So it with great pleasure that I welcome a new website devoted entirely to Leo Parker!

LeoParkerMusic.com is an incredible new site with an incredible level of detail. Frank Basile has done so much research and work over the years. In the past I noted his complete discography, which now has a home on this new site in addition to biographical information, excellent photos, a complete chronology and even a list of his compositions. 

All true baritonists know Leo Parker, and its shocking how few non-baritonists know him. Ronnie Cuber once told me that he can’t listen to Leo anymore otherwise he’ll sound too much like him! So head on over to this new site and learn more about the father of baritone be-bop.

New, previously unreleased, Pepper Adams album!

For Pepper Adams fans (which is most baritone saxophonists I think) there is great news. A new album is being released after being uncovered by some extensive archive digging. Its being released on the Real to Reel label headed up by Cory Weeds. The title is “Pepper Adams with the Tommy Banks Trio: Live at the Room at the Top”

This is a recording from an engagement Pepper did with the Tommy Banks trio. The new recording is in a 2 disc format with an extensive booklet. The tune lengths seem to indicate plenty of stretching out in the blowing, which makes sense on a live recording not originally intended for release. 

From the official description:

The 100-minute performance was recorded on September 25th, 1972 at the University of Alberta.

This is the first release from a rich tape archive from Marc Vasey in Edmonton, Alberta. The set is transferred from the original analogue tapes. The deluxe edition double CD Includes an extensive 15 page booklet with rare photos; essays by Gary Carner, producer Cory Weeds; plus interviews with baritone saxophonists Frank Basile and Gary Smulyan as well as original music producer Marc Vasey.

Click here to pre-order ! (releases May 6th, 2022)

New Mulligan Transcription – Straight No Chaser

A new transcription has just been added to the transcription repository – and its a bit of a strange one. This transcription comes to us from Erik Robisch, thank you!

Gerry Mulligan fans will probably know of the album that features him and Thelonious Monk. Two seemingly very different players with different approaches, and boy does that show on this album. Monk being famously fond of dissonance and jagged lines and Mulligan opting for linear consonant melodies. I think its a safe assumption that this was a record company’s idea of ‘put two big names together and profit’ and thus I’m not sure the music was at the forefront of the intention here.

There’s a quote from mulligan that goes something like ‘playing with Monk’s comping is like falling down an elevator shaft’ or something to that effect. I think this is probably true in the best of circumstances, but listening to this album I can’t help but think that Monk is just intentionally messing with and vibing Mulligan. For example on the track where this transcription comes from, Monk plays a chorus of the head (Mulligan noodles) plays the head again with Mulligan, comps for 2 choruses then just lays out for the rest of Mulligan’s solo and the bass solo to boot. Mulligan did very little to interact or acknowledge Monk’s comping. After the bass solo, Mulligan tries to noodle a bit behind the piano solo but seems to give up and they just take the head out. An odd album – but if you’re interested in hearing what Mulligan does over the blues, head to the transcription repository and download yourself a copy. Have a listen down below.

Andrew Hadro releases new single, ‘Regarding the Moon’

As the curator of JazzBariSax.com I often have the pleasure or sharing music by all of the great baritonists out there. Today, Friday December 24th I am releasing a single and would like to share a bit of my own music with the world. Perhaps you are curious as to what the person who runs this site chooses to pursue artistically.

Here’s a bit about the singe. Follow this link to find it on the streaming platform of your choice or YouTube.

‘Regarding the Moon’ is a new composition by Greek bassist Petros Klampanis, commissioned and performed by Andrew Hadro, baritone saxophonist in New York City. Hadro began working on the concept in the early days of the pandemic as a way to give work to composers during the global  performance outage. It is written for double string quartet (four violin, two viola, two cello), bass, piano, drums and features the baritone saxophone. It utilizes the extreme upper register of the baritone saxophone, a range and timbre rarely used by composers.
 
The title is both a reference to the extreme upper reaches of saxophone range and  a nod to composer Claude Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune’. The piece is so technically difficult that Hadro spent months re-learning the altissimo range of the baritone saxophone, while the recording took nearly 18 months to complete on two continents with sessions months apart.  
 
According to Petros, ‘Andrew asked me to write a tune that features the high register of the baritone, a sound which I find especially beautiful and surely not what someone expects to hear from a bari. I tried to integrate the roles of the different ensembles, within the whole group (strings on the one hand and a jazz quartet on the other) and create a musical story that allows the leading instrument to shine but not overshadow the colors of the group.’
 
This piece is the first in a series of compositions commissioned to feature the baritone saxophone with strings as part of Andrew Hadro’s ongoing project, ‘For Us, The Living’. Subsequent works will debut in 2022.
 
‘Regarding the Moon’ will be released on the  ΠΚ Music label on December 24th, 2021. Available wherever music is sold or streamed. To learn more please visit https://andrewhadro.com and https://www.petrosklampanis.com