A while back I wrote a post marking the 11th year that I have been in charge of this site. I refer to it as curating because a lot of the content on the site comes from and features other places on the internet. I also encourage fellow baritone saxophonists to submit and provide content as much as possible. Quite a bit of the biographical information on this site pre-dates my time at the helm.
According the venerable Way Back Machine, also known as the internet archive, the earliest incarnation of this site was captured on January 29th, 1999 – Exactly 20 years ago today! So happy birthday JazzBariSax.com!
For fun you can check out what the site looked like when it started:
And here is what it looked like 11 years ago after I took it over and established it at the current domain, jazzbarisax.com:
The earliest I can remember visiting this website is sometime when I was in High School. I had great teachers, but I did not have access to a teacher that was a dedicated baritone saxophonist so this site really let me explore the world of the baritone, and I was thrilled to be able to take over and continue its work.
The site still receives hundreds of visits daily, and transcriptions from the repository have been downloaded over 200,000 times! I have been very gratified to learn and be told that many young baritone saxophonists enjoyed this site and learned about some of the greatest baritonists for the first time here. I don’t update daily or even weekly but I hope to keep this site alive, and available for all baritone saxophonists around the world to learn about the King of All Instruments.
Here’s to another 20 years,
Pianist Randy Halberstadt has created an ambition new project. It is a set of directories online for professional musicians. He has it divided into different categories, such as vocalists, bass players, brass players, wind players etc. Each listing includes contact info for as well as basic info such as instruments played, genres, skills etc.
The purpose of these directories is to allow people to find musicians for gigs (or subbing possibilities), to get contact info for musicians they already know, or any of the other host of reasons you’d want to find musicians in a new area. There is no cost to peruse or to join the directories, so if you’d like to do so feel free to check them out here:
I have covered Larry Dickson’s first, second, and third, installments in his 4 album project that mirrors the seasons. Today I am happy to say I’ve had a chance to enjoy the latest one from his quartet titled, “Winter Horizons”.
Similar to all of the other albums this album is very well done. The playing on the album is great, but what always stands out to me is Larry’s choice of songs and arrangements. There is an especially nice arrangement on Well, You Needn’t. On this disc there is a balanced and enjoyable mix of originals, standards, Thelonious Monk songs, and even a less-known but very enjoyable Billy Taylor original.
The format is again a chordless quartet. Being familiar with the baritone saxophone one might immediately think of the Mulligan/Chet Baker quartet. But this album uses alto saxophone instead of trumpet. This instrumentation might lead you to remember the “Two of a Mind” album that Mulligan did with Paul Desmond, but that’s not really the feeling here either. Rick Van Matre has a more modern slightly edged alto sax sound that contrasts nicely with Larry’s more mellow rich sound.
Bravo to Larry Dickson for another tasteful and enjoyable album.
For those looking to get a copy please contact Larry directly.
When I inherited and became curator of JazzBariSax.com over 10 years ago I kept the “style” delineations for all of the great baritone saxophonists in the roster. I don’t like pigeon-holing musicians since it over-simplifies their music in a distasteful way. Also, a lot of them play more than one style and span many eras. However, since this site serves a lot of new-comers to the baritone saxophone I have left them intact to make the journey a bit simpler and easier.
There is one style that was left out and I am ashamed to say I have been remiss in addingt until now. There is now a “Latin Jazz” category for this site. Currently there are only a few players there so far (the late Mario Rivera, and the excellent and still thriving Pete Miranda), but I hope to add more soon.
PS – I also added a page for jazz baritonist George Barrow. An unknown, but often heard baritone saxophonist with an incredible discography – perhaps most notably splitting baritone duties with Danny Bank on the famous Oliver Nelson Album, Blues and the Abstract Truth.
I was very pleased to see two articles about Hamiet Bluiett in this month’s DownBeat magazine. They discuss his life, his work, his music, and his extreme dedication to the baritone saxophone and belief that it is an under-utilized instrument with lots of potential.
The latest transcription added to the repository is another from the great Pepper Adams. This time from a Freddie Hubbard album titled, Groovy! The song is Number Five.
You can download the newest transcription over on the transcription page.
A big thank you to Noah Pettibon for sending this one in.
We are saddened to report that two elder statesmen of the baritone saxophone have passed on.
Hamiet Bluiett was an incredibly unique and innovative baritone saxophonist. With a long career he influenced many younger saxophonists especially with his trail blazing exploration of the upper registers of the baritone saxophone and his un-matched, often times aggressive sound.
Hamiet was a powerful advocate for the baritone saxophone. He also is credited for introducing many musicians to the avante garde side of Jazz. He led many of his own bands and recordings on top of his very impressive list of sideman accomplishments.
I would highly recommend everyone make sure they have sampled at least some of his music.
For a detailed bio, you can see our page for Mr. Bluiett.
McDonald “Don” Payne was perhaps a bit lesser known, but a fine baritone saxophonist having played in several military ensembles and very much present in the New York scene and Broadway pits. He was also a very active educator.
Everyone who met Don remembers him as a very soft spoken kind person.