Personalities | Courtney Pine | Eighties | Jazz & Blues
(Tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, b. 1964)
Starting out in reggae and funk bands in school, the British saxophonist became interested in jazz in the early 1980s and eventually gravitated towards the music of his biggest influences, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. He began playing with John Stevens’s Freebop band and by the mid-1980s had formed the Jazz Warriors, an adventurous big band that combined elements of reggae, calypso and ska with jazz. Pine later formed a sax quartet called the Saxophone Posse and made his recording debut as a leader with 1986’s Journey To The Urge Within on Island Records. Through his work as a composer-bandleader and virtuosic player – along with his high-profile guest appearances in the UK with the George Russell Orchestra, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine – Pine became a role model for a generation of young black jazz musicians in London in the mid-1980s.
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