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I was a kid, not even a teenager, when I first heard Bruce Johnstone playing with Maynard Ferguson. Eventually I had every MF recording, and had ALL of Bruce's solos memorized -- he's one of a handful of "iconic" baritone saxophonists who sort of codified what the big horn "oughta" sound like.

So: it was an especially ... complex ... feeling I had this past Monday night when I was seconds from counting off the first tune and down the hall coming into the door was a skinny guy carrying a big horn case who appeared to be ... Bruce Johnstone! He continued to appear to be, and appear to sound like, Bruce Johnstone for the rest of the set.

In that time, Bruce's playing was a lesson in time, poise, and intensity.

Here's the tune I was counting off when Bruce appeared, a Bb blues:

Kelly Moon For Insert Number Here.

(Recorded this past Monday at the Central Park Grill in Buffalo, New York!!)
 

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Kelly, i couldn't get the link to work. i do share your enthusiasm for Bruce Johnstone's playing with the MF Band. i would love to hear the two of you together!
 

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The link is working for me. Nice.

Did you give him grief for showing up late? :twisted:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Kelly, i couldn't get the link to work.
Dagnabbit, Mascio, it appears to be working now -- give it another shot!

Did you give him grief for showing up late? :twisted:
Heh-heh: Mr. Johnstone gets to arrive whenever the hell he wants! I must've been counting off early!
 

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He must have been warming up in the cab, that's all I can guess.
 

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Many thanks for sharing. Must have been a great thrill for you. Especially enjoyed the dialogue in the middle and the gentle way these phrases wove.
 

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Must have been a great thrill for you.
Indeed: the kid who listened to Bruce's live MacArthur Park solo approximately 1000 times and thought it was the coolest thing ever: yeah, at the very concept of playing with Bruce, his head would've exploded.

I know this because the current non-kid that I am right now: my head exploded.

He must have been warming up in the cab, that's all I can guess.
Dude doesn't even get his reed wet, and bam he plays like that...

Here's what I hear from his first ding-dang note: charisma! Savoir faire! Just pure HERE's how it's done, son...
 

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You sound great Kelly. First time I've had the pleasure of listening to you. i dig your site alot too. Thank you man.
 

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that guy is a be-bop / hard bop dictionary..

everybody is playing great!!

Thanks for posting AND thank for all of your hard work on your website.

It reminds me of how much I need to practice and how little time I actually get to practice... but someday... one day... you'll see ;)
 

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that guy is a be-bop / hard bop dictionary..
Indeed! I sense some transcription fodder there... Speaking of which, thanks DTExpress and phannah for your kind words regarding my blog. I've got good stuff in varying stages of transcription yet to put up there, but the summer's been way busier than I expected!

It reminds me of how much I need to practice and how little time I actually get to practice... but someday... one day... you'll see ;)
You sound great on the stuff you've posted, phannah -- if that's the non-practicing version of yourself, then ... well, yikes!
 

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Cool! Thanks for sharing the mp3. Great playing by everyone!

Somewhere I have a tape of a similar experience. I was playing bari in Maynard Ferguson's band and Bruce came to our show in Erie, PA. MF had been featuring me on a blues tune that I had grown up listening to as "Stay Loose With Bruce." (The chart actually pre-dated Bruce, and had been played by and titled for several other players over the years)

So there I was, playing the blues in front of one my bari sax heroes, on a tune that had very much shaped my jazz bari concept. Whew!!!

Then Bruce sat in with the band on the 2nd set and we got to play together and trade a bit (I think it was on St. Thomas). Unforgettable night!
 

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So there I was, playing the blues in front of one my bari sax heroes, on a tune that had very much shaped my jazz bari concept. Whew!!!

Then Bruce sat in with the band on the 2nd set and we got to play together and trade a bit (I think it was on St. Thomas). Unforgettable night!
This is a great story -- and I didn't know that Stay Loose With Bruce was actually along the lines of Stay Loose With The Current Guy In The Band... Cool.

One thing I will note: While Bruce is indisputably one of the top and most influential bari players ever, he'd also rank pretty high as one of the *nicest* guys in the biz...
 

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Didn't get a chance to listen to the clip *yet*, very much looking forward to it!!!

Much love for Bruce Johnstone, he's terrific. Important early influence to me.


In addition to Stay Loose with Bruce (I had some good bits of that memorized at one time), other favorites on that MF 4+5 record are Two for Otis, Got the Spirit, Nice and Juicy, and I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You (check out Bruce's ensemble playing). MF gets a really sweet big band sound considering the small number of trombones/saxes in the band at that time. And the acapella secton of Two for Otis... sublime.

I had an old MF recording "Birdland Dream Band" on the Bluebird label, I think, and they did Stay Loose with Bruce. Except it was Herb Gellar on alto, and it was called Geller's Cellar (of course!).

Shawn

ps There's a young bari player at our school who's getting quite good, been meaning to share a little of that MF 4+5 Live at Jimmy's with her. The interplay between Johnstone and Ferd Povel on that album is astounding. Mindblowing.
 

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In addition to Stay Loose with Bruce (I had some good bits of that memorized at one time), other favorites on that MF 4+5 record are Two for Otis, Got the Spirit, Nice and Juicy, and I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You (check out Bruce's ensemble playing). MF gets a really sweet big band sound considering the small number of trombones/saxes in the band at that time. And the acapella secton of Two for Otis... sublime.
Yeah -- MF 4+5 absolutely blew my mind. And it was that one-two punch of Povel and Johnstone that made me play the vinyl into dust! It was like a "champagne moment" for me when it finally came out on CD!
 

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Great music, Kelly... great playing from everyone concerned. Tenor/bari counterpoint after the bass solo is really nice. Your solo was fantastic. Repeating this one kind of out there figure in the middle, then sequentially at different pitches...loved that. And believe it or not, this is my introduction to Bruce Johnstone...that was a killer solo. Clearly I'll have to check out the MF albums you guys are discussing.

Seriously, this music is what it's all about. You guys (and Matt Otto, and Paul Hannah, and Glenn Kostur and some of the others on here..) ARE jazz. Great to hear such an enthusiastic audience, too.
 

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Really enjoyed that!!! Btw, anyone else catch the Blue Seven quote in Kelly's solo...

Paul: I know what you mean about Bruce's encyclopedic knowledge... But, what I like best is he always swings his rear end off!!! His timing is amazing...
 

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Discussion Starter #18

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I'm bumping this post from a while back 'cuz it was recorded exactly FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY, and Bruce Johnstone sounds amazing and remains one of my heroes! Since posting it here, I've also put the track on my Soundcloud account. If you haven't heard it, check it out, and if you're a bari fan but not familiar with Bruce Johnstone, this is an emergency and you MUST check him out ASAP!

https://soundcloud.com/kellybucheger/kellymoon-for-insert-number-here-featuring-bruce-johnstone
 

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I'm sitting at the dentist's office so I can't listen, but yes Bruce Johnstone's MacArthur Park solo is mind boggling. I remember learning some of it by ear in High School and college.

Another fun one was Superbone meets the Bad Man.

Sent from my Moto X 2015 Pure Edition using Forum Runner
 
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