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Marshall Royal

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
507
Location
Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
Looking for additions to the "Great Sax Players" section of the website (www.kingsleyjazz.com), I remembered Marshall Royal. I remember hearing him on TV when the Basie Band toured the UK in the 60s and coincidentally a full concert recorded by the BBC at that time turned up on Jazz on the Tube.

For those who haven't discovered Jazz on the Tube, here's the link:

http://www.jazzonthetube.com/page/22890.html

I don't think I'm being unkind in saying that he was perhaps not the greatest improviser, but what a player!

Here are two solos with the Count.


A Quincy Jones original - The Midnight sun never sets:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdFpjBWBfBc


and a great ballad ideally suited to his style - Gordon Jenkins' This is all I ask, with one of the best lines ever, "Beautiful girls - walk a little slower when you walk by me":


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-j7BPwqRV0


and All heart with the Capp-Pearce Juggernaut:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coxGaUET3Ng

And I just love the look of that old Conn with the Microtuner!
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
507
Location
Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
Chris,

It's a funny old world. I yield to none in my admiration for Hodges but what about Russell Procope, and - in the Basie Band - Bobby Plater? Both great players. Plater gets a run in that Basie concert video; Procope I heard in a tiny bar in New York on my first visit in 1976, in a quartet with Sonny Greer on drums. Amazing for a boy from rural Gloucestershire to walk into a bar and hear people playing whose names I'd only seen before on a record sleeve.

One of the YouTube posters mentioned Hilton Jefferson - lead alto in the Cab Calloway Band. Can't find anything by him but - and this is one of the joys of doing this kind of research - the name led me to Tina Louise, who made some records with a band in which Jefferson played. Never heard of her? - Ginger in Gilligan's Island! And a great set of pipes!

So she made "Miscellany" in the Singers section of my site.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,480
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Thank you so much for posting these terrific videos of Marshall's playing. Playing in college jazz ensembles in the '60's, he provided my concept of what a lead alto player should sound like. This was back in the era where the saxophone still had a "pretty" tone instead of the bright and edgy sounds that came later. If you take away the scoops and pitch bends, Marshall's playing is close to a "classical" sound. You can hear Marshall's tonal influence in Cannonball's playing---especially in his ballads. Of course Cannonball had a lot more notes at his "disposal" with his amazing technique. Another of my favorite ballads played by Marshall is Sammy Nestico's "Lonely Street" on the "Basie Straight Ahead" album.
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
507
Location
Nr. Bandung, Indonesia
Chris - thanks for that - I'll try to work that into the website tomorrow. Doubling on clarinet just blows my mind - I could never play the thing. Interestingly, I was in a jazz club yesterday in Bandung (city I live near in Indonesia) and there was a young kid - maybe 18 - who played jazz-rock on alto and clarinet. Not to my taste but I had to admire the technique - and the chutzpah!

JBT - agree about the tone - nothing wrong with pretty - which is why I can happily listen to Freddy Gardner, dated as his stuff sounds now. And didn't Charlie Parker admire Guy Lombardo - or was it Lawrence Welk?
 

dexdex

Member
Messages
91
Location
Switzerland
Marshall Royal is Basie's sax section sound in those great Roulette years. The "Midnight Sun" immediately comes to mind, but think about "Lil'Darlin'" or "Splanky" (the answers on the 2nd round, such a simple blues riff, but no other sax section sounds like this). For me too, he is the epitome of lead alto, together with Phil Woods in Q's band.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBTSoLzZ3-U
 

scooby

Member
Messages
31
Location
San Jose, CA
Marshal was one of the best lead alto players and one I try to keep in mind when I play lead. I think it's cool we share a birthday. Phil Woods tells the story of Cannonball calling him to be on the "Domination" record date. Cannon didn't say much about the date other than it was going to be a big band date. As Phil was in the studio getting ready to unpack his horn he was thinking to himself "I wonder if I'm playing lead alto" at which point Marshal walked in and Phil thought, "Well, I guess that answers the question who is playing lead" :)
 

Reed Warbler

Senior Member
Messages
617
Location
Marciac, France
Lovely story about Marshall Royal: He used to hand out the parts at Basie rehearsals. One day some new arrangements had been submitted for trying out. Royal passed round one of the charts, sat down to look at his own lead alto part, stood up and said "Aint no A#, pass it in." The poor arranger who wrote the chart didn't even get a listen, never heard his piece played by the Basie band. Based in the blues, Marshall Royal liked to keep things simple.
 

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