This video is a behind-the-scenes look into the world of the players who are the foundation of any woodwind section—whether in a pit band, big band, movie soundtrack, or a symphonic setting. The low reeds set the pitch center and help determine the overall volume, balance and rhythmical stability of any woodwind ensemble. The players of this “chair” also must have the type of personality that allows them to be flexible when working with lead players of a woodwind section in order to mimic their pitch, phrasing and rhythmic feeling. These are three of the best artists at all of these responsibilities that I have met in my career. This video allows the viewer to understand the levels of excellence and versatility that Reed V players must demonstrate on the baritone saxophone, bassoon and bass clarinet—the instruments that orchestrators tend to emphasize when writing for Reed V.
I met Ron Jannelli in the late 1970s on the very first opportunity that I had to sub on a Broadway show. He was incredibly supportive and complimentary and made a nervous situation bearable. Since then, we have become friends and colleagues and I have had the pleasure of working with him on various gigs in and around NYC. Ron was also the first person I contacted when I began to assemble the woodwind doubling faculty at New Jersey City University in 2001. This led to the creation of a highly successful graduate program that provided the pathway for numerous young doublers into the industry. Ron has the respect and admiration of every musician I know of in the industry and is the perfect section mate for any type of musical job.
Roger Rosenberg has been a friend for many years. Before we had the opportunity to work together, I had greatly admired his jazz playing and I have never stopped being knocked out by his level of creativeness—he remains my favorite jazz baritone player! He is also a fine woodwind multi-instrumentalist and is especially adept at playing jazz bass clarinet. Roger is a deeply sensitive musician, fine composer, and brings a desire to learn to every musical setting. Like Ron Jannelli and Allen Won, he is also a great colleague.
I can’t remember exactly when I met Allen Won but I had heard his name mentioned frequently around NYC in the early 1980s as a great concert saxophonist and when we eventually got to play together in a recital, I immediately understood what all of the “buzz” was about. (Allen and I played Hindemith’s Concert Piece for Two Alto Saxophones at that recital.) Allen is a monster saxophonist on every saxophone and in many styles. He is always “on” and creates the happiest vibe in the workplace. While he never talks about it or will admit to it, he gets great sounds on every woodwind and is a deeply sensitive musician. He is also a very dedicated and successful music educator who is beloved by his students. He remains a great friend.
About the Artists:
A native of Canton, Ohio, Ron Jannelli has long been regarded as one of the top bassoon doublers in the U.S. for over 50 years, having established himself in both New York and Los Angeles as a first-call studio musician fluent in commercial, classical and jazz styles. He began his musical studies on clarinet, followed by saxophone, bassoon and flute. His teachers have included Joe Allard, Leon Russianoff, Harold Bennett and Robert Sensale. Ron started his professional career in the big bands of Richard Maltby, Buddy Morrow, Tommy Dorsey and Fred Waring. His list of professional credits thereafter represents a Who’s Who of the entertainment industry including work with Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli, Natalie Cole as well as TV and movie recordings for composers such as Lalo Shifrin, Bill Conti, Peter Matz, David, Tom & Randy Newman, David Rose, Alf Clausen, etc. He was a frequent member of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra while in L.A. He has played in over 20 Broadway productions and has been a regular member of the Academy, Tony & Grammy Award orchestras.
New York saxophonist Roger Rosenberg has been a first-call session player for 40 years. An accomplished woodwind doubler, he also plays clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, and flutes. His work has been acknowledged by the Downbeat critics and by an NARAS MVP award. As one of definitive voices of the baritone saxophone, Roger has worked with some of the most illustrious jazz and commercial artists in history including Chet Baker, Buddy Rich, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Lee Konitz, Bob Mintzer Big Band, The Mingus Big Band, John Scofield, Tom Scott, Gerry Mulligan, The Michael Brecker Quindectet, Sarah Vaughn, Ray Charles, Joe Williams and Steely Dan. He also has had a strong presence on the Latin music scene, playing with Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Eddie Palmieri, and Ray Barretto. Some of his teachers include Joe Allard, Danny Bank, Phil Woods, David Baker, Jaki Byard, George Russell, Keith Underwood, Kim Laskowski, Dennis Godburn and Harold Seletsky. Roger has been a member of over a dozen Broadway pit orchestras and has two solo recordings to his credit: Hang Time and Barotonality.
Allen Won grew up in Honolulu where he began studying saxophone. He moved to New York to study at the Mannes School of Music with Harvey Pittel. Since then, Allen has established himself as an artist on all of the saxophones, clarinets, flutes and more recently, bassoon. He has studied with Joe Allard, Keith Underwood, Bill Blount, and Kim Laskowski. Allen is one of the few multiple woodwind specialists working in commercial music who is also a first-rate concert saxophonist. He has worked extensively with the orchestras of the NY Philharmonic, NYC Ballet, NYC Opera, Metropolitan Opera, American Symphony, NJ Symphony and the NY Pops. Recordings include work with Galt MacDermot, Kenny Garrett, Levon Helm, and the Harvey Pittel Quartet. He has been a featured soloist with the Honolulu Symphony and Korean Symphony Orchestra and has worked as Reed V on six Broadway shows.