Friday, January 23, 2009

Serge Chaloff: Heroin & the Big Horn

I have a taste for big horn bop. All the sharp brass is great, but the baritone saxophone digs deep into the geology of feeling in a way that nothing else can. I chanced upon Chaloff's name in the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings, and I wasn't sorry I did.

The son of two piano teachers, Chaloff fought two demons: heroin, which he conquered, and cancer of the spine, which he did not. He was the second jazzman to specialize in the baritone sax. His masterpiece was Blue Serge, with Sonny Clark on piano, Leroy Vinnegar on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums.

Give this a listen:
Serge Chaloff/A Handful of Stars/Blue Serge
Then go and get the rest of the disc. You'll keep coming back to it.


  1. Just got a chance to listen to this. Wonderful. Thank you!

  2. You're welcome, BassIL. Thanks for the comment. That's what keeps me going.