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Bud Shank

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Bud Shank
Bud Shank.jpg
Bud Shank in 2006
Background information
Birth name Clifford Everett Shank, Jr.
Born (1926-05-27)May 27, 1926
Dayton, Ohio, United States
Died April 2, 2009(2009-04-02) (aged 82)
Tucson, Arizona, United States
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Alto saxophone, flute
Years active 1946–2009
Associated acts

Clifford Everett "Bud" Shank, Jr. (May 27, 1926 – April 2, 2009) was an American alto saxophonist and flautist. He rose to prominence in the early 1950s playing lead alto and flute in Stan Kenton's Innovations in Modern Music Orchestra and throughout the decade worked in various small jazz combos. He spent the 1960s as a first-call studio musician in Hollywood. In the 1970s and 1980s he performed regularly with the L. A. Four. Shank ultimately abandoned the flute to focus exclusively on playing jazz on the alto saxophone. He also recorded on tenor and baritone sax. He is also well known for the alto flute solo on the song "California Dreamin'" recorded by The Mamas & the Papas in 1965.


Bud Shank was born in Dayton, Ohio. He began with clarinet in Vandalia, Ohio, but had switched to saxophone before attending the University of North Carolina. While at UNC, Shank was initiated into the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. In 1946 he worked with Charlie Barnet before moving on to Kenton and the West coast jazz scene. He also had a strong interest in what might now be termed world music, playing Brazilian-influenced jazz with Laurindo Almeida in 1953–54, and in 1962 fusing jazz with Indian traditions in collaboration with Indian composer and sitar-player Ravi Shankar.[1]

In 1974 Shank joined with Ray Brown, Shelly Manne (replaced by Jeff Hamilton after 1977), and Laurindo Almeida to form the group the L.A. Four, who recorded and toured extensively through 1982. Shank helped to popularize both Latin-flavored and chamber jazz music, and as a musician's musician also performed with orchestras as diverse as the Royal Philharmonic, the New American Orchestra, the Gerald Wilson Big Band, Stan Kenton's Neophonic Orchestra, and Duke Ellington.

In 2005 he formed the Bud Shank Big Band in Los Angeles to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Stan Kenton's Neophonic Orchestra.

A documentary film about Bud Shank, Bud Shank "Against the Tide" Portrait of a Jazz Legend, was produced and directed by Graham Carter of Jazzed Media and released by Jazzed Media as a DVD (with a companion CD) in 2008. To date the documentary film has been awarded 4 indie film awards including an Aurora Awards Gold.

Shank died on April 2, 2009, of a pulmonary embolism at his home in Tucson, Arizona, one day after returning from San Diego, California, where he was recording a new album.[2][3]


As leader[edit]

  • Brazilliance, Volumes 1 and 2 (1953) early fusion of jazz and Brazilian music – with Laurindo Almeida
  • Bud Shank and three trombones (1954) Pacific Jazz – with Bob Cooper, Shelly Manne, Maynard Ferguson, Claude Williamson, Bob Enevoldsen, Joe Mondragon
  • Bud Shank with Shorty Rogers (1954) Pacific Jazz
  • Bud Shank and Bill Perkins (1955–58) Pacific Jazz
  • Bud Shank Quintet (1955) Nocturne Records
  • Cool Fool (1954 and 1955) – with Maynard Ferguson and Bob Brookmeyer
  • Theme Music from "The James Dean Story" (1957) – with Chet Baker
  • The Swing's to TV (World Pacific, 1958) – with Bob Cooper
  • Blowin' Country (World Pacific, 1958) – with Bob Cooper
  • Slippery When Wet (1959) Pacific Jazz
  • New Groove (1961) Pacific Jazz
  • Barefoot Adventure (soundtrack) (1962) Pacific Jazz
  • Bossa Nova Jazz Samba (1962) Pacific Jazz – with Clare Fischer
  • Brasamba (1963) Pacific Jazz – with Clare Fischer and Joe Pass
  • All Through the Night: Julie London Sings the Choicest of Cole Porter (1965)
  • Michelle (featuring Chet Baker) (1966) Pacific Jazz
  • Girl in Love (World Pacific, 1966)
  • Magical Mystery (1967)
  • Windmills of Your Mind (1969) Pacific Jazz
  • Sunshine Express (1976) Concord Jazz
  • Heritage (1978) Concord Jazz
  • Crystal Comments (1979) flute and two pianos – with Alan Broadbent
  • This Bud's for You... (Muse, 1984)
  • California Concert (Contemporary, 1985) with Shorty Rogers
  • That Old Feeling (Contemporary, 1986)
  • Bud Shank Quartet at Jazz Alley (Contemporary, 1986)
  • Serious Swingers (Contemporary, 1987) with Bill Perkins
  • Quiet Fire (Contemporary, 1987 [1991]) with Frank Morgan
  • Tomorrow's Rainbow (Contemporary, 1988)
  • Drifting Timelessly (1990) – with the Roumanis String Quartet
  • A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing (1992) – with Bob Cooper and the Netherlands Metropole Orchestra
  • By Request: Bud Shank Meets the Rhythm Section (1997) – Muse Records quartet led by Shank on alto
  • On the Trail on Raw (2003) Bud Shank Sextet – with Conte Candoli, Jay Thomas, Bill Mays, Bob Magnusson, Joe LaBarbera.
  • Taking the Long Way Home on Jazzed Media (2006) – his first album as a big band leader, with arrangements by Bob Florence and others. (Shank is the featured soloist.)
  • Beyond the Red Door on Jazzed Media (2007) – Shank playing alto saxophone in duet with pianist Bill Mays.
  • Fascinating Rhythms on Jazzed Media (2009) – Shank's final recording as leader of his quartet, recorded in January 2009. Quartet members are Bud Shank (alto sax), Bill Mays - (piano), Bob Magnusson - (bass), Joe LaBarbera - (drums).

As sideman[edit]

With Chet Baker

With Elmer Bernstein

With Nat King Cole

With Buddy Collette

With Maynard Ferguson

With Jimmy Giuffre

With Gerry Mulligan

With Patti Page

With Ravi Shankar

With Laurindo Almeida

With Clare Fischer

With Barney Kessel

With Sérgio Mendes

With The Mamas & the Papas

With Shelly Manne

With Shorty Rogers

With Lalo Schifrin

With Gábor Szabó and Bob Thiele

With Hugo Montenegro (flute)

With Ron Elliott

With Gene Clark

With Harry Nilsson

With Boz Scaggs

With The Charlie Byrd Trio


  1. ^ Talbot, Bruce. "Jazz Profiles: Bud Shank". NPR. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Thurber, Jon (April 6, 2009). "Bud Shank dies at 82; alto saxophonist was immersed in West Coast jazz scene". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 6, 2009. 
  3. ^ Weber, Bruce (April 7, 2009). "Bud Shank, Jazz Saxophonist, Is Dead at 82". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2009. 

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