Not ‘The Lion’ and Hamp in Pasadena

Join jazz aficionado Peter Gardner with his look back at one of the premier, but lesser known, lead Alto Saxophonists in jazz history…

If your CV included playing lead alto in the bands of Jimmie Lunceford, Harry James, Duke Ellington, Billy May and Charlie Barnet as well as spells with Jazz at the Philharmonic and Gene Krupa trios, and you had played on one of the most famous jazz records, we might expect that you would be quite well known to any modern saxophonist who has more than a passing interest in the history of jazz and big bands.  Sadly this is not the case, and when you mention this saxophonist’s name, people with some knowledge of jazz history often think you are talking about a famous stride pianist. So, let me clarify. Willie Smith, or to give him his full name, William McLeish Smith, was the lead alto saxophonist with the more than impressive CV.  Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith was a justifiably famous, bowler-hatted, cigar-chomping, extrovert stride pianist.

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Break-In at Dawkes: Saxophone Thefts

*UPDATE: We have a full list of our stolen instruments & the saxophones also stolen from Sax.Co back in April/May – SEE BELOW

In the early hours of July 12th we were victims of a break-in at the shop. The gang of thieves forced their way into our Sax Suite and stole 40 saxophones that were on display (full list below). The police arrived on scene and are investigating the matter further. Sadly this is the most recent in a spate of Music Industry related break-ins with the thieves clearly targeting certain locations and stock types. It is unlikely these instruments will appear in the UK marketplace but we have listed a full inventory below of what has been stolen, please be aware or on guard for any 3rd party re-selling or auction sites offering these models. Any info can be passed to us or Thames Valley Police (Ref: 43170204724)

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