Category: News

Essential and Deeper Listening Lists

After much skull sweat, and deliberating I would like to unveil two new articles.

The first is a list of 5 Essential Baritone Saxophone Albums. This list is intended to be a sort of primer for those looking to dip their toes into the deep pool that is the history of the baritone saxophone. I’ve done my best to distill 5 albums that are probably the most influential for the baritone saxophone in jazz. Not necessarily the absolute pinnacle of artistry, but good starting places for future fans of the big horn.

The second article is one that veterans of this website will find more interesting. Its a ‘Deeper’ Dive into the baritone saxophone. These are albums and/or players you may not have heard of but may find very exciting. The list goes from slightly past the main stream to extreme niche, so there should be something new there for just about everyone. Since this type of list in inherently far more subjective I reached out to some very prominent baritone saxophonist of today to get their input as well. So you can see what each had to add.

Whether you’ve come to this site for an initial foray into the baritone saxophone or are looking to delve quite deep, I hope there’s something here new and exciting for you.

Andrew Hadro

Our first Paul Nedzela solo transcription

Thanks to Benjamin Trimboli we have our first solo transcription of a Paul Nedzela solo. Paul is the baritone saxophonist with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and recently released his debut album. The solo is on “Strange Bedfellows“, one of Paul’s tunes that uses the chord changes from the popular Benny Golson song, “Stablemates“. This transcription is from that album, so head on over to the transcriptions page and check it out!

The Legend of Serge Chaloff and Woody Herman

The story of how Serge Chaloff left Woody Herman’s band is an oft told colloquial story in jazz history. The story is often given as a humorous example of how to stay employed, although perhaps not for long. What is often less told is the story of how Woody did finally fire Serge. I have heard the story, both parts, from many reputable sources so I’m fairly comfortable posting the story without too much worry that it was false. There is a written, published account of the story that seems to have more details than most tellings so I wanted to reproduce it here.

Steve Voce told this story:

“Woody wanted to break up the Second Herd when, fronting it on the bandstand one night, he turned around and found that half the horns had fallen asleep. Serge Chaloff used to sell drugs to the rest of the band from behind a blanket on the band bus.

Eventually, because he was the source of the disruption, Woody fired Serge. But, since he was not a harsh man, Woody told Serge he could stay with the band until they reached Boston (Serge’s home town) on their tour.

The night before they were due in Boston, the band played at Nuttings in Waltham, on the Charles River. The building they played in was on a pier sticking out above the river. At the intermission Serge asked Woody to come out on the balcony.

‘Look down in the river.’ Serge told Woody, ‘and tell me what you see.’

‘Nothing,’ said Woody, ‘except a lot of pieces of paper floating about.’

‘That’s the band’s baritone book,’ said Serge, who knew the book off by heart. ‘Now you can’t fire me.’

He was right. Woody had to keep Serge another year before he could get the baritone parts copied out so he could fire him.”

Steve continues the story later. This is after a year or so when Woody Herman was able to have all of the baritone parts for his band re-copied out, and therefore was able to fire Serge.

“The pissing incident happened one night when Woody and Serge were standing crushed up against each other in an extremely crowded bar, after a gig. Woody took this opportunity to get some payback by peeing on Serge’s leg. Since the bar was so crowded, Serge couldn’t move away, even after he realized what was happening.”

These stories can be found in Gene Lees’ biography of Herman, “The Leader of the Band.”

Paul Nedzela gives masterclass on the baritone saxophone

Paul Nedzela is the baritone saxophonist with Wynton Marsalis’ Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. On Wednesday April 29th at 4pm (Eastern) he will be giving an online masterclass. I’d highly recommend watching it!

Here’s the description from the Facebook event:
“Paul Nedzela guides you through the family tree of baritone saxophonists, highlighting some of the instrument’s most influential players, and playing examples of their work!

Join us through our Zoom link or on Jazz Academy’s Facebook page on April 29 at 4 pm EST.”

UPDATE: Paul did a great job! I’m hoping that Lincoln Center archives the presentation. If so, I’ll be sure to link to it on the site. – Andrew

Transcriptions are rolling in!

With everyone stuck at home the transcriptions are coming in regularly. This is great news for everyone else stuck at home looking for new solos to read down!

We have a new Leo Parker solo on TCTB, as well as new Gary Smulyan solo on “Jahbero” from his album Hidden Treasures – A contra-fact on the changes to “All The Things You Are”. And another Smulyan solo with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, on the tune “Dameron”, a contra-fact using the chord changes from “Giant Steps”. Thank you Leon Williams!

From Orlando Cialli we received the complete set of solos from Gerry Mulligan on his “What Is There To Say?” album. That’s a lot of work! Its a great album so check it out.

Head over to the transcription page to grab a download of these!
We are well over 100 transcriptions and approaching 300,000 downloads! Thank you everyone!

Andrew Hadro

Diving Deep Into US Saxophone Patent Images

With some extra time on my hands lately, I’ve had time to trove through Google’s repository of scanned and cataloged patents. A few hours yielded over 70 patents that I saved because they are interesting, bizarre, or patents of mechanisms that would become universal. I wanted to share *some* of the things I found, please see the gallery below and checkout the captions for details. All of these patents are from before 1943 and are publicly available if you want to find out more about them. Enjoy!
-Andrew Hadro | Curator,

If you enjoyed these images, maybe you’d like a free Desktop wallpaper collage of these? Well here it is.
Click here to open in a separate window for saving.
Or click here for the dark version.