Pete Christlieb

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Pete Christlieb
Pete Christlieb.jpg
Christlieb in Los Angeles, 2007
Background information
Born (1945-02-16) February 16, 1945 (age 73)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Saxophone
Associated acts

Pete Christlieb (born February 16, 1945) is a jazz bebop, West Coast jazz and hard bop tenor saxophonist.


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

Christlieb played the sax solos on Steely Dan's hit song "Deacon Blues" from the album Aja; 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 Pete 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 Dragsters' class.



Based on left hand pinky table mounting construction, on tenor probably a refinished (silverplated with gold lacquered keys?) Selmer "Super Action," aka "Super Balanced Action." If bell key guard is original, it would make it a later series "SBA."[2]

Mouthpiece & Reeds[edit]

Christlieb plays a vintage Berg Larsen metal mouthpiece (130/0) with Rico (plasticover No. 2) reeds.


As leader/co-leader

  • Jazz City: A Quartet With Pete Christlieb [live] (1971, RAHMP)
  • Apogee – Pete Christlieb & Warne Marsh Quintet (Warner Bros., 1978)
  • Conversations With Warne Volume 1 – Pete Christlieb Quartet Featuring Warne Marsh (1978, Criss Cross [rel. 1990])
  • Conversations With Warne Volume 2 – Pete Christlieb Quartet Featuring Warne Marsh (1978, Criss Cross [rel. 1995])
  • Self Portrait (1981, Bosco)
  • Going My Way (1982, Bosco)
  • Dino's '83 [live] – Pete Christlieb Quartet (1983, Bosco) -with Mike Melvoin, Jim Hughart, Nick Ceroli
  • Mosaic [live] – Pete Christlieb & Bob Cooper (1990, Capri)
  • Get HappyDon Lanphere & Pete Christlieb With New Stories (1996, Origin)
  • The Tenor TrioErnie Watts/Pete Christlieb/Rickey Woodard (1997, JMI/JVC) -sextet with Gerry Wiggins, Chuck Berghofer, Frank Capp
  • Red Kelly's Heroes – Pete Christlieb And The Bill Ramsay/Milt Kleeb Band (1997, C.A.R.S.)
  • Live At Capozzoli's (Las Vegas Late Night Sessions) – Pete Christlieb/Andy Martin Quintet (1998, Woofy) -with Terry Trotter, Jim Hughart, Dick Berk
  • For Heaven's Sake (1999, C.A.R.S.)
  • Late Night Jazz – Pete Christlieb & Slyde Hyde (2000, Vertical Jazz/Fine Tune) -quintet with Tom Ranier, Jim Hughart, Charlie Harris
  • Live At The Jazz Cave – Pete Christlieb With The Lori Mechem Quartet (2006, Cognito)
  • ReunionHadley Caliman & Pete Christlieb (2010, Origin) -quintet with Bill Anschell, Chuck Deardorf, John Bishop
  • High On U – Tall & Small: The Pete Christlieb & Linda Small Eleven-Piece Band (2011, Bosco)

With Louie Bellson

  • 150 MPHLouie Bellson Big Band (1974, Concord)
  • The Louie Bellson Explosion (1975, Pablo)
  • Live At The Concord Summer Festival – Louie Bellson's 7 (1976, Concord)
  • Prime Time (1977, Concord)
  • Matterhorn: The Louie Bellson Drum Explosion (1978, Pablo)
  • Don't Stop Now! (1984, Bosco; reissued on Capri in 2004)
  • Their Time Was The Greatest! – Louie Bellson Honors 12 Super-Drummers (1995, Concord)
  • Air Bellson – Louie Bellson's Magic 7 (1996, Concord)
  • The Art Of The Chart – Louie Bellson's Big Band Explosion! (1997, Concord)

With Tom Waits

With Bob Florence

  • Live At Concerts By The SeaBob Florence Big Band (1979, Trend)
  • Westlake – Bob Florence Big Band (1981, Discovery)
  • Soaring – Bob Florence Limited Edition (1982, Bosco; reissued on Sea Breeze in 1996)

With Frank Mantooth

  • PersevereFrank Mantooth (Featuring Pete Christlieb/Bobby Shew/Clark Terry) (1990, Optimism; reissued on Sea Breeze in 1995)
  • Sophisticated Lady (1994, Sea Breeze [rel. 1996])
  • A Miracle – Frank Mantooth Jazz Orchestra (1999, Sea Breeze)

With Bill Holman

  • A View From The SideBill Holman Band (1995, JVC)
  • Brilliant Corners: The Music Of Thelonious Monk – Bill Holman Band (1997, JVC)
  • Hommage – Bill Holman Band (2007, Jazzed Media)

With John Leitham

With Gary Urwin

  • PerspectivesGary Urwin Jazz Orchestra (2000, Sea Breeze)
  • Living In The Moment – Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra (2001, Sea Breeze [rel. 2003])
  • Kindred SpiritsBill Watrous/Pete Christlieb/Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra (2006, Summit)
  • A Beautiful Friendship – Bill Watrous/Pete Christlieb/Carl Saunders/Gary Urwin Jazz Orchestra (2014, Summit)

With Wayne Bergeron

  • You Call This A Living (2002, Wag Records)
  • Plays Well With Others (2007, Concord)

With Phil Kelly

  • Convergence ZonePhil Kelly & The Northwest Prevailing Winds (2003, Origin)
  • My Museum – Phil Kelly & The Southwest Santa Ana Winds (2006, Origin)
  • Ballet Of The Bouncing Beagles – Phil Kelly & The Northwest Prevailing Winds (2009, Origin)

As guest soloist

  • Big Band Favorites Of Sammy NesticoSammy Nestico (1998, Summit)
  • The Art Of Swing – Gregg Field (1999, DCC Compact Classics)
  • InnerplayJim Self With Strings (2004, Basset Hound)
  • Take Only For Pain – The Boulevard Big Band Featuring Pete Christlieb And Frank Mantooth (2004, Sea Breeze)
  • Live At Harling's Upstairs – The Boulevard Big Band Featuring Pete Christlieb (2007, Boulevard)
  • Home Of My HeartChris Walden Big Band (2005, Origin)
  • The Lost Bill Holman Charts – The Carl Saunders Exploration (2007, MAMA)
  • Ellington Saxophone EncountersMark Masters Ensemble (Featuring Gary Smulyan) (2012, Capri)

With others

  • Playin' It StraightJack Sheldon Featuring His Late Night All Stars (1983, Real Time) -as a member of Sheldon's septet
  • Then And NowJoe Williams (Featuring The Mike Melvoin Trio With Guest Artist Pete Christlieb) (1984, Bosco; reissued on Sea Breeze in 1998)
  • Long Overdue! – Chuck Foster (Featuring Pete Christlieb) (1985, Sea Breeze)
  • Dreamland ExpressJohn Denver (1985, RCA) -as a session musician
  • Ellyn – Ellyn Rucker (1987, Capri) –quartet with John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton
  • Comin' At YaAndy Simpkins Quintet (1990, MAMA) -as a member of Simpkins' group with Mike Fahn, Frank Collett
  • Sweet SimonConte Candoli (1992, Best Recordings) -as a member of Candoli's quintet with Frank Strazzeri, Monty Budwig, Roy McCurdy, Ralph Penland
  • Somebody Loves Me – Frank Strazzeri With His Woodwinds West (Featuring Bill Perkins/Pete Christlieb/Jack Nimitz) (1994, Fresh Sound) -sextet with Dave Stone, Paul Kreibich
  • Soaring With The Bird – James Zollar (1997, Naxos) -septet with Andy Martin, Bill Cunliffe, Ron Eschete, John Clayton, Paul Kreibich
  • The Legacy Lives On II – various artists (2002, Mack Avenue [2CD]) -features 3 tracks by Christlieb's quintet with Conte Candoli, Pete Jolly, Jim DeJulio, Larance Marable
  • Good Bait: Live At The Amsterdam Bimhuis – Ferdinand Povel & Pete Christlieb With The Rein de Graaf Trio (2008, Timeless [rel. 2011])
  • Trio Plus One: Live At Boxley's – Danny Kolke Trio + Pete Christlieb (2013, Pony Boy)
  • Come Back To Me LoveFreda Payne (2014, Artistry) -as a session musician

As member of The Tonight Show Band[edit]

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

As sideman[edit]

With Gene Ammons

With Sonny Criss

With Joey DeFrancesco

  • Singin' and Swingin' (Concord, 1999, [rel. 2001]

With Terry Gibbs

  • From Me To You: A Tribute To Lionel Hampton (Mack Avenue, 2003)

With Bill Henderson

  • Street of Dreams (Discovery, 1979)

With Ahmad Jamal

With Quincy Jones

With Carmen McRae

With Tom Scott & The L. A. Express

With Anthony Wilson

  • Anthony Wilson (MAMA, 1997)
  • Adult Themes (MAMA, 1999)


  1. ^ Yanow, Scott (2000). Bebop. Miller Freeman Books. pp. 242–243. ISBN 0-87930-608-4. 
  2. ^ "Pete Christlieb: Linda Small Quintet" on YouTube

External links[edit]