Five oh one saxophone blues

  1. In a former life, we used to have a notebook in which I wrote the names, date of birth of 1,001 saxophone players that I had culled from three different music reference books, all music guide, a British one, and another one. It was a sad ritual to record the deaths of many, over a 15-year period.
    When I got married three years ago my wife made me feng shui about 100 hand written spiral notebooks including that one, Which was blue or almost blue and always doing things the way I used to .

But just today watching “shadows” by John Cassavetes I couldn’t recall whether Shafi Hadi was in the book. So here is 501 more saxophone players in no particular order:

  1. Shafi Hadi; He played with mom and guess Charles Mingus on the movie I taped by John Cassavetes about New York in the 60s called shadows but he is only mentioned once in the all music Guide.
    James Brandon Lewis:(b. 1983) A friend of Dave Douglas A friend of Dave Douglas. Nuf said. Or “Nufi Sedi”. [Edit to add a few minutes later: Mr. Lewis has an interesting resume having studied at Howard University a historically black East Coast DC college and then Cal arts in Los Angeles which is reasonably diverse I would guess although isn’t that the one started by Walt Disney? And besides a relationship with Dave Douglas and Rudy Royston also Jams with Jamaluddin to Kuna, On a redeye to Dakota. It was also James Brandon Lewis’s birthday, I think that makes him a Leo?
  4. Nancy Wright; Well I guess I’m expanding into blues and not sklu jazz. I saw Nancy in January which seems way more than seven months ago at KZSU. Or maybe that was 13 months ago. I was with Bob Margolin and both Bob and Nancy record for Vizztone and we’re being interviewed for Byrd Hale‘s show. A little bird so to speak tells me that Nancy has been corresponding electronically with Kid Andersen for a redo of a song on her relatively recent album “is there some thing on your mind“ by Bobby Marchan I wasn’t particularly familiar with it but it’s an instant classic . Maybe 16 months ago I saw her Halloween at a private function on the bay SF yacht club I was going to meet Beth Custer there but we only stayed for one song and for me to schmooze. before that I saw her at that cool magazine coffee place on Potrero Hill goat Hill. Farleys. Far out.

  5. four: Stay tuned but don’t hold your breath try circular breathing (Nancy Wright seen in a video shot partly in her Oakland home August, 2020)

6. Nubya Garcia, was in the Times and also Chris May of All About Jazz online:

It was back in 2017 that Garcia debuted with the EP Nubya’s 5ive (Jazz Re:freshed) and since then she has been a leading light of the new London jazz scene. One of a triumvirate of tenor stars—the other two being Shabaka Hutchingsand Binker Golding—Garcia has since 2017 illuminated a host of other ex-London albums (too many to list here), along with projects initiated by Chicago drummer / producer Makaya McCraven, an early US celebrant of the London scene. She has also been an integral member of the (originally all female) collective Nerija. In the three years since Nubya’s 5ive, Source is the first time Garcia has taken the time to stretch out and present her own vision as sole leader.

I have learned, in the article in The Times that Nubya is Guyanese based in London. 

7. Aha, this is going to be easy: Shabaka Hutchings

8. Binker Golding 

young guy with a tattoo and mulitple genres, and is featured in Bandcamp, their editorial section. 

9. Not that Dayna Stephens was not in my percursor to this, called One Thousand and One Saxophone Nights, but certainly he is on my mind these days. He is rumored to be working on a composition or commission for my Lions With Wings project; he played August 18, 2019 at Mitchell Park, easy to remember the exact date because it was my nephew’s birthday and the Rolling Stones played Santa Clara later that day. I think Dayna has about 10 albums out. He is working on something somehow influenced by an author and guru who went to Cubberley High School, coinkydinky. 

10. Shout out to my friend Esther Berndt who plays a pretty good saxophone, and is a teacher in East Palo Alto and competed in cross country and or track for Gunn High of Palo Alto, Cubberley High of Palo Alto and Stanford University. I think Dayna and her partner attended the August 18, 2019 Dayna Stephens show I referenced above, and you can see them in the front row. She also went to my Allison Miller show on October 18, 2018. Hey, four of the first eight on this list of 500 are females!


It says 11 but its only 9: Alexa Tarantino. I noticed this on bandcamp. There was a guy from near here, Middleton of Boulder Creek, which might be on fire as we speak, and he had a link to this act or she is in his “collection”. But I also noticed Joe Martin plays bass on her cd, and I knew him slightly from when I was John Ellis’ manager, about 15 years ago. Joe also put it in my head, or affirmed my view, that Jane Monheit was good. Truth be told I only heard about 1 min of her track “Karma” but that’s how I roll

Ten: I bet John Ellis, aka John Axson Ellis has ten albums out as a leader. Let’s toast to that. I was John’s manager when he signed to Hyena with Joel Dorn, Bill Dern and Kevin Calabro, which became a three-record deal. I last saw him briefly at Stanford with Darcy James Argue, but he didn’t seem interested in a chat. When I met John he was with Charlie Hunter group. 

11. Calder Spanier. He was in Charlie Hunter’s groups, and died on the Bay Bridge following a gig, not here. I am having the artist Veronica DeJesus do a memorial portrait of him. 

12 Claire Daly — I got notice from Terry Hinte the publicist that Claire Daly has a new cd. Claire played a small series I did at an art gallery in downtown Palo Alto at the corner of Hamilton and Alma — I liked to pretend that the noise of the train was part of the show. I liked her version of Steve Wonder “Heaven Help Us All”. She plays baritone sax — unless it s a bass clarinet in which case I should probably move her out of this stream. So its 6-6 girls versus boys. I.e. Nancy, Nubya, Esther, Alexa and Claire. Ok, well 5 versus 7. 

Thirteen Connell Thompson street musician in Times Square subway caught by Black Palm slavic or cyrillic media crew:

Connell Thompson (note usually the standard is that you have to have a credit on a nationally distributed cd and I have not checked that here, which reminds me of the lady who sat in with the Jamaican dub wizard I saw at Montalvo, Eisen or Elsen, her dad also played: Lee Scratch Perry I mean. I could get 14 and 15

14, 15: Maria Eisen of Holly Miranda group, Dub As a Weapon and Lee Scratch Perry tour; father Steve Eisen unless he is sneaking in her as a soprano player not a clarinet; although this is mainly jazz and these people may be rockers; and my phone scrolled thru to the pop song by Holly Miranda something that would make a very compelling ad from a sun block, an update on the Coppertune oopsie doopsie rockin dopsie thing. BYG. 

16 and 17 I got just now from being on Matt Merewitz’s feed: Anna Webber sort of rings a bell, she is on the new cd of a Belgian drummer with cool tattoos, but I notice that she also plays with Dave Douglas Engage or is on the cd; (but I’m guessing does not co-lead a big band that was on his podcast, or does she? I steal a lot of booking or writing ideas from Dave Douglas). Anna also plays with Geof Bradfield, again, rings a bell; is from Chicago, is releasing a trio record with Ben Goldberg WHO DOES NOT PLAY SAX and I think this is a picture of him at Pritzker Pavilion at Millenial Plaza — wonder if he would back JB Pritzker in my fiddler on the roof tribute band? Hey, man, I know this sounds like a joke but any interest in backing the Governor of Illinoise JB Pritzker in a charity project that would seek to raise billions for affordible housing, in which the Governor sings “if I were a rich man” from Fiddler on the roof? I know you are a sax player and not a fiddler but you are posing on your website next to Pritzker Pavillion so I thought maybe this is you. Maybe with Ben – -I know Ben — and your percussionist Dana. Uh, maybe not. It’s fun to practice here. And it is true that 46 years ago JB stood up and belted such out, at Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, CA –across the street from what is now Tesla’s headquarters – -but in those days, ironcially or presciently we pretended the open fields were the Negev and we were wandering for what seemed like 40 years — and it was also for many years very near Syntex, the people who brought us birth control. And thank you Nathan Shedroff, who is Josh Redman’s cousin, for backing me on my claim that this is real and not for instance MKULTRA. 

Bingos! (and what was i watching recently where they had to correct some guy’s trope or lexicon to say “bingo!” singular and not “bingos” plural) – we can grant an exception to used bingos! plural in the case of any reference to big bands:

Anna Webber’s big band has 19 members but procrustean mother flicker than I am I am reducing it to these six reeds players:

Angela Morris (18 — to life!) : conductor, tenor Saxophone, flute;

Anna Webber: conductor, tenor saxophone, flute — I WAS WRITE;

Jay Rattman(19) : alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute

Charlotte Greve(20): alto saxophone, clarinet

Adam Schneit(21) : tenor saxophone, clarinet

Lisa Parrot(22) t: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet

which brings my little game that much closer to 501 sax players, this is 18 thru 22, if Webber was just 17 a minute ago. And for those rooting Girls vs Boys I will update: thru 22 innings we have Girls 10, boys 12 — not too shabby! Bring it, sisters! Or Swing it!

Not sure who this is probably the leaders Morris and Webber but just guessing that I have a 33 percent chance of being right and not Parrott or Greve

edit to add, after revision 25: Matt Merewitz wrote back to point out an editing error that implied that British Columbian Anna Webber was from Chicago, land of big shoulders more than big bands, and I noted to self and only now am thinking to mention here in Plasty, that I read the obit of Joe Segal and am therefore glad that I saw Danilo Perez band there in October, 2000 shortly before Danilo played The Cub here. I met Mr. Segal briefly. I also met the Delmark guy, the great Bob Koester, who sold his label and retired but denies the rumors that he is not swinging, via Chris Cuevas — we were in Chicago showcasing Jerry Hannan — I met Tom Windish. See, travel pays! I was in BC when Lady Di died. Who could forget? oh, death. I wish I could remember who wrote that great line. Also, matt my coreligionist missed the part that implies that Moses wandered the Negev. I think I meant Sinai. Negev sounds jazzier. Also, gratuitously but fine for plasty, which itself is approaching 3,000 posts, I found something about a former governor of Egypt named Major Jarvis riffing on the Jews in the desert — maybe they were jazz guys and didn’t want to just play straight ahead?

anyhoo: back to more sax types: bring me #’s 23 skidoo thru 501 jeans.

ok, back, Origin Records out in Seattle or up, from here, and O2 have 56 and 34 sax players as leaders. 

So that brings me to about 100 or so, but wifey is calling and i have to fold laundry, run 2 errands and generally as i said skidoo. 

I’ll make Kristen Strom 23 skiddoo — I think I have that record. Saw here earlier this year I think maybe within the last year at Portola Valley library. I don’t remember the book at the library, so to speak, but I did buy her John Shifflett tribute. 


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
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