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My Private Students

Album Notes for

Sax Sampler CD

1 - The Pink Panther - From the movies of the same name starring Peter Sellers, and the TV cartoon series that resulted. For 35 years or more, this has been an informal favorite of sax players everywhere. The player is Plas Johnson, a prolific session player since the 1950's. He was also the sound of the Purple People Eater. Johnson appears on more records than you can name, including a few of his own on the Concord Jazz label. For years, he appeared on the Merv Griffin Show as a member of its stage band, the Mort Lindsay Orchestra. This piece was composed by Henry Mancini, a prolific film composer who is also responsible for famous instrumentals like Peter Gunn and the Baby Elephant Walk.

2 - Penthouse Dawn - Composed by Oliver Nelson, and performed by Phil Woods. This piece was included for Phil's gorgeous alto sax sound. The basic melody is in a good key and easy to pick up.

3 - Rigadoun - Performed by the Adelphi Sax Quartet. More info to come.

4 - Pick Up the Pieces - Another all-time sax hit played by Scotland's Average White Band. Their two sax sound was widely admired, and the band still tours today.

5 - Shotgun - Junior Walker was a very influential R&B player, and also provides the vocal on this cut. This one makes everyone want to learn flutter tonguing. Visit Junior Walker and the All-Stars on the web.

6 - Never Will I Marry - This cut features a young Nancy Wilson sitting in with the quintet of Julian Cannonball Adderly. The son of a jazz musician, Adderly began his career as a high school teacher after graduatin from Florida A&M. In 1955, he went up to New York to see his friend, trombonist Jimmy Cleveland who was playing with Oscar Pettiford's group. Adderly was invited to sit in with the band, and brought the house down. He was offered a job on the spot, and within two weeks had a record contract. Fronting various bands with his brother, cornetist Nat Adderly, Cannonball was a big mover in the soul jazz movement, and was extremetly popular with audiences. He also played in the Miles Davis Sextet which recorded Miles' landmark album, Kind of Blue.

The band on this record featured both the Adderly brothers, along with singer Nancy Wilson, who was discovered by Cannonball. Wilson made 40 albums for Capitol in the 1960's and completed her 60th album in the 1990's. The pianist for this sesson is Joe Zawinul, who would later found the fusion band Weather Report.

7 - Dizzy Atmosphere - Any early Bebop recording featuring trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Charlie Parker. This is a typically entertaining Gillespie number, with a catchy head, blistering solos, (including the bass-and-voice solo of Slam Stewart) and a beautifully written shout chorus at the end. The song is in AABA form, with the A form borrowed from I've Got Rhythm, and a very chromatic B part that resemble's the bridge to Honeysuckle Rose.

8 - Tequila - The Champs' most famous hit. It speaks for itself. Don't tell me you can't learn this one!

9 - Air from Suite No.3 in D (J. S. Bach)

10 - More Soul - One of few big band tunes you'll hear featuring "King Curtis" Ousley. King Curtis is one of the most widely imitated R&B sax players, and you can hear examples of his work on songs like the Coasters' Charlie Brown, and Aretha Franklin's Respect. He was also an excellent jazz player. The composition is by jazz and TV composer Oliver Nelson.

11 - Goin' to Chicago - This traditional blues piece is from Oliver Nelson's album More Blues and the Abstract Truth, and features alto saxophonist Phil Woods. Woods was one of the best loved postwar alto players, and this piece shows a different side of his playing than you hear on Penthouse Dawn. Most people know Phil from the solo that he recorded on Billy Joel's hit song Just the Way You Are.

12 - Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You - This one's a bit more laid back and sultry, and I couldn't resist it because of Zoot Sims' terrific solo, and his vocal duet with drumming icon Buddy Rich. (Zoot sings the first verse, Buddy sings the second)

13 - Night Train - This is the original version played by its composer, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest. Forrest is known for these R&B hits, and for some fine albums with organist Jack McDuff, but he was also a veteran of the Andy Kirk, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Lunceford and Count Basie big bands. This piece, in fact, originated as The Happy-Go-Lucky Local in Duke Ellington's Deep South Suite--probably while Forrest was in the band. Listen to any Jimmy Forrest that you can find. He links swing, bebop and R&B in a terrific way.

14 - The Poacher (Adelphi Sax Quartet)

15 - Harlem Nocturne - This version of the world's favorite alto sax piece is played by R&B alto saxist Earl Bostic. This piece was written in 1940 by trombonist/arranger Earle Hagen, who also composed music for TV shows like The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle, USMC and That Girl. It is Hagen, in fact, who is whistling the theme for Andy Griffith. This particular piece was played in the pilot for Gomer Pyle, and served as the theme song for Mike Hammer. Several groups have had hits with this piece, but the original was by Herbie Fields in 1953.

16 - Hootie Blues - The first recorded solo of Charlie Parker to hit the airwaves, and one that put the jazz world on notice. This song was the flipside of Jay McShann's "Confessin' the Blues.'