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Freddy Gardner

Interesting. For a while I was thinking "when does the violin stop and the sax come in?"
Try this one:

As to the violins, remember this was when Mantovani and Semprini - a piano player - were big stars! And you could still hear the Warsaw Concerto on radio regularly.

In my first band - in about 1962 - the lead alto player was a huge Freddy Gardner fan. He lent me all this stuff on 78s.
As to the violins, remember this was when Mantovani and Semprini - a piano player - were big stars! And you could still hear the Warsaw Concerto on radio regularly.
No, I meant he makes the sax sound like a violin.
Sorry I misunderstood - I never thought of that before - of course it was once very common from sax players to double violin. Maybe that's the reason for his tone?

What I actually like about him is the control he exhibits all over the sax - the altissimo in the last part of I only have eyes for you is to me- who can't do altissimo at all - simply incredible.

I just looked him up in Wikipedia - he played with Ellington and Benny Carter and once had a band with Ted Heath and George Chisholm - not bad sidemen! Died suddenly at 39!
The uploader of that YouTube clip gives the date as 1950 - is that correct ? The style sounds very dated to me, even for 1950 and I was guessing mid 1930s or so.

Not me cup of tea, but worth a listen.

Agree on the style- as I said in my first post deeply unfashionable!

As to the time, his heyday was in the late 30s - then he was in the navy through the war and (presumably) didn't record. After the war, he played this 1930s style stuff with the Peter Yorke Orchestra, but it's probably recorded in about 1948. He died in 1950.
His style could well be unfashionable, but is also very beautiful for my ears. He indeed had an incredible technique on clarinet as well as all the saxophones. The only only compatible player, with also an impeccable control of the altissimo-register seems to me Al Gallodoro who played in the Paul Whiteman Orchestra.
Never heard him on clarinet - can you please give me any references to his clarinet recordings?

I agree about "beautiful" - wonderful tone, particularly compared with some of today's alto players.
I have an album called 'Freddy Gardner and his Swing Orchestra 1937-1939' (Harlequin, 1998) where in everal songs he's switching from clarinet to alto and sometimes tenor- or even baritone. His playing here is less 'sweet' and more 'crisp' than his later recordings like 'Roses of Picardy' with the Peter Yorke Orchestra (with all those violins).
Found it on Amazon UK - and he's playing tenor on the album cover shot! I only knew of him - as I mentioned in my initial post - through my first ever lead alto player when I started playing in dance bands in the 60s. I was about 14 and he was in his 50s - seemed positively ancient to me at the time - but he did have good taste!

While I love alto players like Paul Desmond and, of course, Johnny Hodges, there's something so special about the way Gardner plays.
Hodges also has something very special and personal and of course Benny Carter, who i consider one of the greatest jazz-musicians of all time. As luck will have it there are some fine Dutch altoplayers, like in de wonderful orchestra called The Beau Hunks, which plays the music of Rudy Wiedoeft, Frank Trumbauer, Raymond Scott and the likes. On YouTube part of the complete soctette plays with the aforementioned altsax player Al Gallodoro (then 86).
Just listening to it now - fantastic! Love also the rhythm section - that chugging acoustic guitar is so good.

I've always enjoyed Dutch jazzers - I worked with a singer in Australia whose dad had been with the Dutch Swing College Orchestra. She had a large collection of various Dutch bands which we always enjoyed.

I never saw Hodges but I did see Benny Carter in Tokyo in 1981 (I think). He - and Benny Goodman and Teddy Wilson - were fantastic. Clips of the Goodman stuff is on YouTube but sadly the Carter band was not apparently recorded.
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Rooting around the Beau Hunks on YouTube, I came across the Dutch "Bix 100" project. What an amazing altoist in that band!
You are quite right. They are in part the same players as in The Beau Hunks. The alt & C-melody player is Ronald Jansen Heijtmajer and is indeed remarkable - he also plays the bass-sax. As does the cornetplayer Ad Houtepen and Robert Veen 2d row, who plays from the Swaneesax and sopranino up. He is also the founder of The Beau Hunks and is always on the prowl for additional instruments. At one time when i visited him there were 28 saxes lying around in his house. He also founded The Jimmy Lunceford Legacy Band that played from the original scores picked up in US historical galleries and museums. Another sax player, Leo van Oostrom goes even further and has an outstanding collection of 105 historical saxophones going back to Adolphe Sax himself.

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