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Baritone Saxophone Band

This week, Dee Dee Bridgewater introduces a pride of baritone saxophones, onstage at the 2005 International Association for Jazz Education convention in Long Beach, Calif. They roar, the audience cheers back.

Three Baritone Saxophone Band... Ronnie Cuber, Howard Johnson, Gary Smulyan

The first great baritone player was Harry Carney with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The first "superstar" was Gerry Mulligan, a New Yorker living in Los Angeles. In the early 1950s his innovative, piano-free quartet became internationally famous.

After he died in 1996, the Baritone Saxophone Band premiered a tribute performance at the Jazz and Image Festival in Rome, Italy. They've been playing together, on and off, ever since. You'll love their sound and how FAST they move it around.

They're Ronnie Cuber, Howard Johnson and Gary Smulyan. Smulyan has made a number of recordings under his own name, with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Dave Holland Big Band. He was on JazzSet for ten seasons with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band.

Johnson's big, dark sound anchored the Gil Evans Orchestra. He also plays tuba with his own multi-tuba ensemble, Gravity. Cuber was an early-achiever, barely out of his teens when he was working with Maynard Ferguson, George Benson, and making pop sessions from Aretha to Zappa. Cuber plays lead, does all the arranging for the group, and is the spokesman.

Tune in to can hear each man in action, one at a time and -- even better -- all together.


MUSIC
"Five Brothers" (excerpt) by Mulligan
"Walkin' Shoes" by Mulligan
"Stella by Starlight" by Victor Young
"Line for Lyons" by Mulligan
"Bernie's Tune" by Bernie Miller
"Waltz for Geraldus" by Cuber


RHYTHM SECTION
John Mayer, piano
Derek Oles, bass
Joe LaBarbera, drums -- what a treat to have this well-known drummer on JazzSet!

WEB RESOURCES
IAJE is in New York in January, 2006. All people who love jazz are welcome! Visit the IAJE site.

Baritone Saxophone Band info.

Ronnie Cuber info.

Gary Smulyan info.

Review of the latest CD at All About Jazz site.

CREDITS
Thanks to Roberta Arnold, and also to everyone at IAJE and the Long Beach Performing Arts Center.

Our crew in Long Beach: JazzSet Technical Director Duke Markos, WBGO producer/director Joshua Jackson, technical diretor Brian McCabe.

Our writer is Brian Sanders. Additional recording by Ginger Bruner at KUNV Las Vegas. Becca Pulliam is the producer of JazzSet.


Copyright 2007 NPR