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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013-
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5,592 Posts
Yes, Plas had a 160 Berg and used 1 1/2 baritone Plasticovers. He also was known to smear a little Vaseline on the table which I believe was to help seal. The man had the biggest, fattest tenor sound of all time. He was so great on records/sound tracks that he became the voice of the tenor sax for decades while only a few even knew who he was. I recognized him on every record/movie sound track but could not learn who he was - then came the Internet and SOTW! Then I had a name to put with that unbelievable sound. Now that we have Sirius FM and it's '50s and '60s channels, I am to this day still hearing Plas on records I never heard before. He must have been on thousands of sessions because he can be heard on hundreds of records. As you know, a small percentage of records get any air play so there probably is a lot of his work 'in the can' that we'll never hear - but what we can hear is so amazing that it doesn't matter. Like the great drummer Bernard Purdy, producers and A&R men called on Plas because his great sound and style simply sold records. What young tenor player hasn't played the 'Pink Panther' theme? You can find many recordings of it but the original Henry Mancini cut featured Plas. No other tenor player who ever recorded it had the same lush but penetrating sound of Plas. Of course he was a member of 'The Wrecking Crew', the LA-based studio band.
How well do I remember my Pink Panther moment.

I was in junior high and got ahold of the tenor part.

Cool. Now I can play that neato stuff.

My ears were opened to the importance of sound itself.

I could hit the notes.

But I could not play!

I worked on scooping, subtoning, and growling. And listening.

Finally, I realized that playing the sax was NOT about pushing down the buttons and blowing into it.

My shocked state has remained with me to this day.

Thank you, Plas.

Damn you, Plas.
 
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