Catch Frank Basile on a live stream Friday!

There aren’t too many opportunities to hear music that is being performed live these days. Fortunately for baritonists everywhere Frank Basile will be performing at Small Club in NYC this Friday September 18th and it will be live streamed. We recently wrote about the album that Frank co-led with Sam Dillon and this will serve as the album release celebration. We highly recommend the album, and of course definitely recommend checking out the stream!

Its 4:45pm-6:30pm Eastern Standard, and you’ll need to sign up for an account but its otherwise free at http://smallslive.com

New website for Conn fans!

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:
http://momie.org/cgconnartistengravedportraitinstruments.html
https://bassic-sax.info/pix/index.php?/category/369
http://saxpics.com/?v=man&manID=3

The Connsortia site is a sub-site of Getasax.com which is a reputable site that deals largely in vintage horns. Enjoy!

Frank Basile’s new release, out today

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!):
https://www.frankbasilemusic.com/product-page/two-part-solution-cd

New album from Kevin Goss!

Baritonist Kevin Goss has a new album out. It features some great and varied baritone playing with mostly original compositions that pay homage to some of the baritone greats. Kevin is a very able saxophonist and one of several baritonists in Canada doing fine things.

To me his sound has a mix of Pepper Adams, with some Joe Temperley vibrato, but  a melodic intuition that is maybe more reminiscent of Mulligan. Overall its definitely worth a listen. So head on over to his bandcamp page to listen or pick up a copy:

https://kevingoss.bandcamp.com/releases

Pepper and a Mulligan transcriptions added

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.

A Jimmy Heath baritone solo!

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.

New Quarantined Woodwind Ensemble featuring baritonists

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.