NYC Concert Marks 100th Birthday of Legendary Concert Saxophone and Clarinet Virtuoso Al Gallodoro played lead alto sax with Paul Whiteman Orchestra and bass clarinet withNBC Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Toscanini, but at this tribute it’s his memory that takes center stage NEW YORK, 5 May 2014 _ He would have turned 101this June and one of his students is celebrating his memory days before his birthday, playing his music, and using his vintage instruments to commemorate his first 100 years – and it’s just one way that Al Gallodoro lives on. Dedicated musicians know the man, the rest of the world mostly knows his music; to many he’s the musician who performed the opening clarinet glissando from the 1945 movie Rhapsody in Blue and frequently performed it with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. According to folklore, he claimed to have played the particular solo more than any other person, surpassing 10,000 times throughout his career. Insiders know Gallodoro as a sought after session recording artist and icon of his time. Gallodoro was a commodity for his ease in transitioning from an elaborate woodwind doubling concerto with music by George Gershwin to improvised jazz idioms on the alto saxophone, clarinet and bass clarinet; they called him the Triple Threat. Composers like Ferde Grofé wrote music with Gallodoro in mind. Many of his solo performances are still heard on the radio today.
Broadway saxophonist Chad Smith will perform a tribute to his late saxophone teacher and mentor, Al Gallodoro, at 7:30 pm on Sunday, June 1st 2014 at St. Peter’s Church in New York City (346 West 20th Street; between 8th/9th Aves). Smith will be playing Gallodoro’s original horns – a 1958 Selmer saxophone, bass clarinet and clarinet. He’ll be joined by a 15-piece wind ensemble and world-class musicians, including: Lynette Wardle (harp), Dalton Ridenhour (piano), Art Bailey (accordion), Vince Giordano (bass) and Todd Sullivan (conductor).
“Al continues to be an inspiration and a mentor to me to this day,” said Smith, who is spearheading the tribute in Gallodoro’s honor. “When studying with Al, he constantly raised the bar for me through his keen sense of detail and musicianship from his vast performance history." Smith has been a member of the Broadway orchestras of Wicked, Legally Blonde and Follies. He has also performed with various prestigious orchestras, and created and premiered SAX-O-PHILM, a unique, multimedia concert presentation featuring the music of 1920's saxophone phenom, Rudy Wiedoeft, at the 15th World Saxophone Congress in Bangkok.
Smith will perform some of Gallodoro's most famous solos, including "Concerto for Doubles," "Oodles of Noodles," "Hora Staccato," "Carnival of Venice," "The Shadow of Your Smile," "Harlem Nocturne" and many more. The concert will be attended by many friends and family, including Gallodoro's music producer and grandson, Kevin Wood.
Tickets to the 90-minute concert cost $30 (students and seniors, $20) at the door and are also available in advance through Brown Paper Tickets at http://algallodoro100.brownpapertickets.com. A portion of ticket sales will go to the Al Gallodoro Fund, Ltd., which helps deserving high school woodwind players with college and musical tuitions. For special VIP tickets which include guaranteed first 2 rows of seating, an Al Gallodoro CD, an autograph and photo with Chad Smith, and an automatic partner donation to the Al Gallodoro Music Memorial Fund, please visit http://www.algallodoro.com
Al Gallodoro passed away on Oct. 4, 2008, after starting his career at age 13 in New Orleans and playing professionally for more than 80 years, with the last 22 years of his career in Oneonta, New York. He would’ve been 101 years old this June 20th.