May 18, 2024

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There are a handful of 12 videos and 4 photos of Hal McKusick in action so you can get to know him, too

Hal was an educator and always available, and he was loaded with stories and insights. Naturally, his passing was heartbreaking. His early encouragement was essential and fantastic, and his cool, relaxed way of talking was entertaining in and of itself.

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As I recall, baritone saxophonist Danny Bank was my first. I had much more free time between 2007 and 2010, so I simply decided to track down jazz musicians I admired on my records and interview them about growing up and their recording careers. I figured interviewing was what I did for a living, why not pay the music back by capturing the lives and stories for my blog. Today, all of those interviews are free and in the right-hand column.

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Recently, I was thinking of Hal. Here are a handful of videos of him in action so you can get to know him, too.

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Hal McKusick playing John Coltrane’s The Wise One

A video tribute to Hal after his passing by the Ross School in East Hampton, N.Y., where Hal taught music and led the school’s orchestras and ensembles for many years…

A video that Ross School student Alexandra Fairweather made of Hal in 2009…

Home Town Blues in 2007 in Sag Harbor, N.Y.with Hal McKusick (as), Don Friedman (p), Jay Anderson (b) and Dennis Mackrel (d)…

Hal on alto sax in 1956 on his album Jazz at the Academyplaying Irresistible You with Barry Galbraith (g), Milt Hinton (b) and Osie Johnson (d)…

Hal on alto and bass clarinet at his peak in 1958 on his album Cross Section-Saxes playing George Handy’s arrangement of La Rue with Dick Hafer and Frank Socolow (ts), Jay Cameron (bs), Bill Evans (p), Paul Chambers (b) and Connie Kay (d)…

Hal on alto saxophone playing Don’t Worry About Me

Hal on You’re Everywhere...

Hal on clarinet playing I’m Glad There Is You

Hal on alto saxophone playing Irresistible You

Hal playing alto saxophone on Give ‘Em Hal...

Bonus: Hal in the early 1960s on TV’s I’ve Got a Secret.He’s on the right on the bandstand and on the right when the musicians gather behind Steve Allen. You have to be fast to catch Hal’s sense of humor, like when he ad libs, “Not the way we play it”…

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