Pete Christlieb

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Pete Christlieb
Christlieb in Los Angeles, 2007
Background information
Born (1945-02-16) February 16, 1945 (age 79)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Formerly ofThe NBC Orchestra

Peter Christlieb (born February 16, 1945)[1] is an American musician, playing tenor saxophone in the styles of jazz bebop, West Coast jazz, hard bop and pop music.


Christlieb was born in Los Angeles, California, United States,[1] and is the son of bassoonist Donald Orville Christlieb, and Pearl Gold,[2] Christlieb has worked with many musicians, such as Louie Bellson, Chet Baker, Woody Herman, Count Basie, Tom Waits, Steely Dan, Warne Marsh, Doc Severinsen, The Tonight Show Band, Bob Florence, Frank Mantooth, Gary Urwin, Phil Kelly, and Bill Holman.[3]

Christlieb played the sax solo on Steely Dan's hit song "Deacon Blues" by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen from the album Aja, nominated for Album of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in the 20th annual Grammies.

"I went over to the studio one night after the Tonight Show finished taping at 6:30 p.m. When I listened on headphones to the track Tom [Scott] had arranged, there was just enough space for me to play a solo. As I listened, I realized Donald and Walter were using jazz chord changes, not the block chords of rock. This gave me a solid base for improvisation. They just told me to play what I felt. Hey, I’m a jazz musician, that’s what I do. So I listened again and recorded my first solo. We listened back and they said it was great. I recorded a second take and that’s the one they used. I was gone in a half-hour. The next thing I know I’m hearing myself in every airport bathroom in the world."[4]

Christlieb also played on Natalie Cole's Grammy award-winning album Unforgettable; and the extended tenor sax solo on the song "FM (No Static at All)" from the movie of the same name.

Christlieb currently plays with his recently formed 11-piece group, the "Tall & Small Band"; the Bill Holman Orchestra; and his own quartet. Also, for years Christlieb has been involved in professional drag racing, with his cars participating in numerous races in the southwest and across the country. His team has won two national championships for the 'Blown Alcohol Dragster' class.

Christlieb played a jazz musician in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "His Way".[5]


As leader or co-leader[edit]

With Doc Severinsen

  • The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen (Amherst, 1986)
  • The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen, Vol. II (Amherst, 1988)
  • Once More...With Feeling! (Amherst, 1991)
  • Merry Christmas From Doc Severinsen & the Tonight Show Orchestra (Amherst, 1991)

As sideman or guest[edit]

With Louie Bellson

  • 1974 150 MPH – Louie Bellson Big Band
  • 1975 The Louis Bellson Explosion
  • 1976 Live at Concord Summer Festival – Louie Bellson's 7
  • 1977 Prime Time
  • 1978 Sunshine Rock – Louie Bellson & The Explosion Orchestra
  • 1978 Matterhorn: Louie Bellson Drum Explosion
  • 1979 Louis Bellson Jam
  • 1984 Don't Stop Now!
  • 1996 Their Time Was the Greatest – Louie Bellson Honors 12 Super-Drummers
  • 1997 Air Bellson – Louie Bellson's Magic 7
  • 1998 The Art of the Chart – Louie Bellson's Big Band Explosion!

With Wayne Bergeron

  • 2002 You Call This a Living?
  • 2007 Plays Well with Others

With Bobby Caldwell

  • 1996 Blue Condition
  • 1999 Come Rain or Come Shine

With Frank Capp

  • 1982 Juggernaut Strikes Again!
  • 1995 In a Hefti Bag
  • 1997 Play It Again Sam

With Rosemary Clooney

With Natalie Cole

With Bob Florence

  • 1979 Live at Concerts by the Sea
  • 1981 Westlake
  • 1982 Soaring
  • 1992 Jewels - compilation

With Bill Holman

  • 1995 A View from the Side
  • 1997 Brilliant Corners: The Music of Thelonious Monk
  • 2007 Hommage

With Quincy Jones

With Phil Kelly & The Northwest Prevailing Winds

  • 2003 Convergence Zone
  • 2006 My Museum – Phil Kelly & The Southwest Santa Ana Winds
  • 2009 Ballet Of The Bouncing Beagles

With Seth MacFarlane

With The Manhattan Transfer

With Frank Mantooth

  • 1987 Per-Se-Vere
  • 1995 Sophisticated Lady
  • 1999 Miracle

With Diane Schuur

With Tom Scott

  • 1973 Great Scott
  • 1982 Desire
  • 1983 Target
  • 1991 Keep This Love Alive
  • 1992 Born Again
  • 1995 Night Creatures
  • 1999 Smokin' Section

With Keely Smith

  • 2000 Swing, Swing, Swing
  • 2001 Keely Sings Sinatra
  • 2002 Keely Swings Basie-Style with Strings

With Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra

  • 2000 Perspectives
  • 2001 Living In The Moment [rel. 2003]
  • 2006 Kindred SpiritsBill Watrous/Pete Christlieb/Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra
  • 2014 A Beautiful Friendship – Bill Watrous/Pete Christlieb/Carl Saunders/Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra
  • 2024 Flying Colors – Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra And Friends

With Tom Waits

With Anthony Wilson

With others[edit]


  1. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Who's Who of Jazz (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 87. ISBN 0-85112-580-8.
  2. ^ Ned Chrislip (2013). Ancestors and Descendants of Friedrich Carl and Anna Catharina Christlieb. Christlieb-Chrislip-Crislip Family Association. p. 975.
  3. ^ Yanow, Scott (2000). Bebop. Miller Freeman Books. pp. 250–251. ISBN 0-87930-608-4.
  4. ^ Wall Street Journal. "How Steely Dan Created ‘Deacon Blues’" by Marc Myers. September 10, 2015.
  5. ^ "'Star Trek': 100 Greatest Episodes". The Hollywood Reporter. 2016-09-08. Retrieved 2021-04-24.
  6. ^ "Pete Christlieb | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Pete Christlieb | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 October 2018.

External links[edit]