Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario- Rock Saxophone 101- Jackie Kelso- Flutter tongue on Sam Cooke's hit song " Twisting The Night Away".

Jackie Kelso- Saxophone solo on Sam Cooke " Twisting The Night Away". Listen and learn right here ... .....What Jackie is talking about in the above Wrecking Crew video is -Honky Tonk Part 2 by Bill Doggett. Clifford Scott used it in his 4th solo. Jr. Walker performed the effect on Shotgun. Joel C. Peskin on a more recent 1989 Top 40 hit titled With Every Beat of My Heart by Taylor Dayne. Check Bobby Keys' solo on Brown Sugar by The Rolling Stones. Jackie on the Sam Cooke hit was the crystallization of this effect heard world wide on a pop hit. Off the hook greatness by Jackie!! To learn this effect, read this chapter from my Hot Rock Sax book ; Several other examples: Rebel Rouser - Duane Eddy - Gil Bernal - Tenor; The Stroll - Diamonds - King Curtis - Tenor ;Urgent - Foreigner - Jr. Walker - Tenor. John Joseph Kelson Jr. (February 27, 1922 – April 28, 2012), better known by his stage name Jackie Kelso, was an American jazz saxophonist, flautist, and clarinetist. Born in Los Angeles, California, Kelson was the eldest child of John Joseph Kelson Sr. and Lillian Weinberg Kelson.[1] He started clarinet lessons at age eight, studying with Caughey Roberts. At fifteen, Jefferson High School classmate Chico Hamilton urged him to take up the alto saxophone, and he soon made his professional debut with Jerome Myart. By the time he graduated from Jefferson, he was playing with Hamilton, Buddy Collette, and Charles Mingus at clubs on Central Avenue.In the 1940s he played with C.L. Burke, Barney Bigard, Marshal Royal, Lucky Thompson, Kid Ory, Benny Carter, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, and Roy Milton. He enlisted in the Navy in October 1942 with Marshal and Ernie Royal, and, after training at Camp Robert Smalls, he was stationed with the Royals with the St. Mary's College Pre-Flight School band. In the 1950s he also performed with Johnny Otis, Billy Vaughan, Nelson Riddle, Bill Berry, the Capp-Pierce Juggernaut, Ray Anthony, Bob Crosby, and Duke Ellington. He joined Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps in 1958 and is featured on several fine recordings from that period, including Say Mama, She She Little Sheila and Ac-centu-ate the Positive. He worked as a studio musician between 1964 and 1984, in addition to recording with Mercer Ellington and Mink DeVille, touring worldwide with Hampton, Ellington, and Vaughan, and appearing in The Concert for Bangladesh. He semi-retired music in 1984, but returned to performance in 1995 with the Count Basie Orchestra, where he became a regular in 1998. He reverted to his birth name of Kelson that year as well. He died on April 28, 2012, in Beverly Hills,California. - - Jackie Kelso was a musician's musician- a brilliant example of a humble together man at one with his music. Study that solo and study the beautiful vibe Jackie had while explaining it too- What a fantastic musician he was. Till next week- TIM PRICE


  1. Any ideas on what his setup was?

  2. Since Plas Johnson helped pull Jackie into the LA recording scene, Jackie bought the same piece as Plas, he had many of them, but most of the rock solos were on a big Berg, 130/3 Offset M. I have one of them now from his collection. Jackie was one of the most recorded saxophonists of all time, and we don't know it, because the record industry then didn't have to list credits on the recordings. Jackie was part of the so-called Wrecking Crew ( a name Carol Kaye can't stand). He had a large collection of mouthpieces, many dwindled over the years. ON alto it varied, he had some Meyers, and a Runyon of Marshal Royal's (one of his best friends) that he used in the Basie band sometimes. Some links from long ago etc etc. I also now have the Marshal Royal piece that Marshal gave Jackie. Jackie was one of the most amazing musicians I have ever met, because he played not to impress the other musicians but he played musically for the music. I've heard recordings of him when he was younger playing incredible bebop on tenor with Lionel Hampton. His clarinet playing was masterful, he recorded some early clarinet solos that were incredible. He recorded on alto, soprano, tenor, bari, flute and clarinet. At one point he lived in a trailer outside the studio because he had that much work, they would beep him and he would go inside to record. He lived to practice, he said he would roll out of bed, grab his horn and practice. It was his sense of time and music, which was his great forte, his time was amazing. he said he studied dance to learn to have the "dance" in his playing and suggested I do the same. He also played with Dizzy and he said Dizzy first spoke to him about the "dance" years ago. It is the "dance" that is missing from jazz today, listen to Stanley Turrentine and you feel the "dance". I was blessed to sit beside Jackie while he was playing Lead alto in the Basie band, and when he left I moved over to lead I grew up listening to Marshal Royal, so I'm honored to have sat next to Royalty.

    Marshall McDonald Count Basie Orchestra
    (Thanks Tim Price for this wonderful piece on an unknown musical legend)

  3. Marshall....Love you for being you and you inspire me for years....We are both KELSO fans and great friends for a long time. Thank you for being the great friend
    and musician you are Marshall.