Name: Pete Christlieb
Instrument: Tenor Sax
Years Playing: A little over 50 years
ADVICE FOR YOUNG MUSICIAN?
“Well the most important piece of advice I have to pass on that I’ve learned in all the years I’ve worked in this business, is nothing is better than experience. You will always find yourself at some job where you are thankful for some tool that you learned while studying with a private teacher or in school.”
“I’ve also found that versatility is the key to success, especially in LA or California. There are so many different styles of music that I am asked to play; solos on records, big bands, etc. You can’t work in the commercial music business without playing all the doubles.”
WHAT PARTS OF YOUR PERSONALITY HAVE YOU FOUND TO BENEFIT YOU AS PART OF NETWORKING AND TOWARDS THE GROWTH OF YOUR CAREER?
“The ability to listen to other people play and not judge them or compare them to myself and accept them as who they are. It’s part of your character.”
CAN YOU HELP EXPLAIN SOME OF THE PROCESS THAT YOU WENT THROUGH TO HAVE THE SUCCESS THAT YOU HAVE HAD IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS?
“I first went on the road with bands at an early age. When I was in college, my first semester, I played in the jazz band. It was all tenor sax; no doubles. I got a call to work with a band, and the first thing they asked me was to double on clarinet and I didn’t play clarinet, so I had to go to a colleague of my father’s and had to get a clarinet and play before I could get this job. I ended up going on the road with the band. I was a staunch jazz tenor saxophonist, and I learned my lesson with doubling very soon. I ended up playing with this band for a year.”
“The next year, I went on the road with Woody Herman’s band. (Because Woody Herman played clarinet, I didn’t have to double and was very happy.) I was in this band for another year. My third year was out on the road with Louie Belson and Bailey; I did very little doubling with this group.”
“When I got off the road, I had to reestablish myself in the LA area. The first thing that came along was the Tonight Show in 1970 or 68. They were coming out from NY to LA. I got to play for the two weeks they were in LA.”
“I later started playing on a television show called the Glenn Campbell Variety Hour on CBS. I played tenor saxophone, flute and clarinet (country and western music) and didn’t see the key of Bb for three years. This was great exposure, and it got me a few session gigs on flute and clarinet (as well as alto flute and piccolo).”
WHAT PERFORMANCE SETTINGS DO YOU FEEL MOST COMFORTABLE IN – LARGE CONCERTS, FESTIVALS, SMALL CLUBS, ETC.?
“Concerts and small clubs are the most fun.”
DO YOU WRITE MUSIC?
“Have written music, but I prefer to play a lot of standards. I don’t know them all yet!”
YOUR INFLUENCES- HOW DID THEY HELP SHAPE YOU AS A PERSON OR YOUR PLAYING?
“Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan when I was playing violin and decided I wanted to play some Jazz. Zoot Sims, Al Cone, Stan Getz, Charlie Parker, Miles, Cannonball, Coltrane, Benny Golson, JJ Johnson, Bob Brookmeyer, and classical music. Also, Jimmy Rowles.”
ANY NEW PROJECTS COMING UP?
“I just recorded in Nashville, and I am going to record again next year with a jazz quintet and string quartet.”
WHAT WAS YOUR COOLEST OR MOST MEMORABLE GIG?
“Playing with Metropole Orchestra in Holland. I also like playing in new places like Paris.”
“I’ve been drag racing for over 40 years. I love building and racing dragsters.”
FAVORITE JOKE ABOUT YOUR INSTRUMENT:
“My clarinet squeaks in the case.”
Cannonball and Rico Reeds
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