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Nick Brignola: All Business

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In 1943, when Ben Webster first heard Charlie Parker play the tenor, he is reported to have said, “That horn ain’t s’posed to sound that fast.” Most likely, that sentiment would have been shared by Harry Carney and Ernie Caceres five years later, when they, the leading baritone saxmen of the ’30s and ’40s, first heard Serge Chaloff running up and down their horn with an agility usually associated with fleet-fingered tenormen. But ever since Serge proved that the baritone need not be the clumsy, cumbersome horn that critics insisted it was, the way was open for even more imaginative uses of the instrument’s potential, as we have seen in the work of Sahib Shihab, Pepper Adams, and, more recently, Nick Brignola.

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