Preston Love

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Preston Love
Birth name Preston Haines Love
Born (1921-04-26)26 April 1921
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Died 12 February 2004(2004-02-12) (aged 82)
Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Band leader, musician, songwriter
Instruments Alto saxophone
Years active 1936–2004
Associated acts Nat Towles, Lloyd Hunter, Snub Mosley, Lucky Millinder, Fats Waller, Count Basie Orchestra, Lena Horne, Johnny Otis, Wynonie Harris, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin

Preston Haines Love (April 26, 1921, Omaha, Nebraska – February 12, 2004, Omaha, Nebraska) was a renowned alto saxophonist, bandleader and songwriter from Omaha, Nebraska.

Biography[edit]

Preston Love grew up in North Omaha and graduated from North High.

He became renowned as a professional sideman and saxophone balladeer in the heyday of the big band era. He was a member of the bands of Nat Towles, Lloyd Hunter, Snub Mosley, Lucky Millinder and Fats Waller before getting his big break with the Count Basie Orchestra when he was 22. Love played and recorded with the Count Basie band from 1945–1947 and played on Basie's only #1 hit record, 'Open The Door Richard.'

Love eventually became a bandleader himself, playing with Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, his friends Johnny Otis and Wynonie Harris, with whom he had several hits.

In 1952, he launched the short-lived Spin Records, as a joint effort with songwriter Otis René ("When It's Sleepy Time Down South"). The label released material by the Preston Love Orchestra, among others.[1]

In the early 1960s Love worked with Ray Charles in California and Aretha Franklin, eventually becoming Motown's West Coast house bandleader with whom he played & toured with The Four Tops, The Temptations, Tammi Terrell, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight and others. Love also recorded with Nichelle Nichols, Janis Joplin, Frank Zappa (Freak Out), Shuggie Otis, T-Bone Walker, Charles Brown, Ruth Brown, and many others. Love also appears in the Clint Eastwood film Play Misty For Me with the Johnny Otis band. (Love toured the U.S. and Europe quite frequently into the 2000s, additionally lecturing and writing about the history he was part of.[2] Other legends he played with included Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder.

In his later years Love moved back to Omaha, wrote a book, led bands, the last of which featured his daughter vocalist Portia Love, drummer Gary E. Foster, pianist Orville Johnson, and bassist Nate Mickels, and was an advertising agent for the Omaha Star, a local newspaper serving the city's African American community. He also is father of the amazing singer, songwriter and bass player Laura Love.[3][4]

In February 2004, Preston Love died after battling prostate cancer.

Solo albums[edit]

  • Preston Love's Omaha Bar-B-Q, released in 1969
  • Omaha Blues', released in 2000
  • Preston Love, released in 2003
  • Preston Love's final album, the self-titled album, PRESTON LOVE, released in 2003 was produced by Preston's drummer Gary E. Foster. It is unique in that the first half of the album (tracks 1 thru 10) features the legendary saxophonist with his last working band and various special guest artists such as Gary E. Foster, Orville Johnson, Mitch Towne, "Guitar" George Laughery, John Foley, Nate Mickels, Bill Eustice, Dave Polson, and the Michel Pastre Orchestra playing inspired interpretations of originals, blues, swing, jazz & ballads, and the second half (tracks 11 thru 19) features an overview of his career from 1945 to 1969, highlighted by rare live radio broadcast recordings with the Lucky Millinder & Count Basie Orchestras, and selections from the rare funk classic PRESTON LOVE'S OMAHA BAR BQ and the ultra-funky 1969 single CISSY POPCORN & FUNKY CHICKEN.

Books by Love[edit]

  • A Thousand Honey Creeks Later: My Life in Music from Basie to Motown and Beyond. Wesleyan University Press, Middletown CT, 1997.

Awards[edit]

  • 1975 First jazz artist-in-residence for the Iowa Arts Council.
  • 1992 Received an honorary doctorate from Creighton University.
  • 2003 At age 82, he was recognized by the Omaha Press Club as part of their "Face on the Barroom Floor" series that honors notable newsmakers.
  • 2005 The non-profit Loves Jazz and Arts Center (LJAC) established.
  • 2005 Inducted into the Omaha Black Music Hall of Fame.

References[edit]

  1. ^ J.C. Marion, "Forgotten Sessions", 1999. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  2. ^ (nd) Preston Love profile. Vibe.com. Retrieved 7/1/07.
  3. ^ McMahan, T. (2001) Sharing the Love: An interview with Omaha Jazz great Preston Love. Omaha Weekly.. Retrieved 4/29/07.
  4. ^ Bristow, D. (n.d.) Swingin' with Preston Love. Nebraska Life.
  • The Omaha Sunday World Herald: July 15, 1990, pp. F-1, F-3 and December 14, 1997, pp. E-1, E-8
  • New York Times, April 5, 1998, Sec. 2, p. 28
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd ed, Vol 2 (2002) 628.

External links[edit]