Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Cecil Payne-Ron Carter Quintet: Flying Fish

Cecil Payne [source]

Cecil Payne Dossier#5 - An ongoing series on one of the giants of baritone sax 

"One of the greatest needs of an artist is unified effort with himself to swing. Conceptions of rhythm patterns vary widely... individually. Therefore, it is very important to fill yourself with the spiritual causes of images so that you may paint a more colorful picture which will increase your natural musical development. Lester Young was one of the greatest of picture painters until Charlie Parker came with wide screen Vistavision painting. Now I love both of thefts." -- Cecil Payne

More from
The Cecil Payne-Ron Carter Quintet

Jazzfestival Bern, Switzerland, May 8, 1998
Eric Alexander(ts), Cecil Payne (bars), Stephen Scott (p), Ron Carter (b), Lewis Nash (d).

Flying Fish (Cecil Payne)

Cecil Payne was pretty much his own man which means most of the recordings in his not too extensive catalogue are done with him as the session leader. That leaves us with a big regret, as the combination of baritone sax in sessions with different musical approaches has always proved to be intriguing. (For that matter, check on Pepper Adams' illustrious career and recording as a session man, as well as a leader.) The tune played here, Flying Fish, was first recorded during a 1968 session, later released on Zodiac LP.

Randy Weston on Cecil Payne

"Two baritone saxophone players have impressed me with their originality, depth, beauty of tone and amazing agility. Harry Carney, key man with Duke Ellington's orchestra for many years, and Cecil Payne. Growing up together in Brooklyn our paths crossed in Okinawa where Cecil was playing 1st clarinet in the 291st AGF. [He] began his career after hearing a solo of Lester Young on Honeysuckle Rose, which led to his parents buying him a fifteen dollar alto, after much persuasion because at thirteen years old he had already had lessons on violin, guitar and voice (which cost money). Cecil studied four years with Pete Brown, altoist, who lived in the same block. At the time of his first recording date on Savoy with J. J. Johnson, Max Roach and Bud Powell he was playing alto; he made the change to baritone while with Roy Eldridge, but it was while working with Dizzy that the baritone horn and Cecil Payne became synonymous. Cecil has recorded with Roy Eldridge, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Illinois Jacquet, Patti Page, Bennie Green.

[Cecil] never seemed to really achieve the recognition due hiss as one of the pioneer soloist on baritone sax. There have been long periods during which Cecil had not been heard from. He surprisingly and frequently continued to place 2nd and 3rd in jazz polls. Among fellow musicians Cecil has always been regarded as a giant on his instrument. While the baritone sax has always been thought of as an unusual solo instrument in jazz, Cecil's musical ability, his sensitivity and the resulting big and beautiful sound make him an outstanding artist. In his sound there is such beauty ... such soul."

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