Saturday Night Live Band

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Saturday Night Live Band
Also known as
  • The Live Band
  • NBC Saturday Night Live Band
  • NBC Live Band
OriginNew York City, U.S.
Years active1975–present
Past membersSee below

The Saturday Night Live Band (referred to in the closing credits as The Live Band) is the house band of the NBC television program Saturday Night Live (SNL).

Role on Saturday Night Live[edit]

The band consists of mostly jazz, R&B, and some rock musicians and features a strong horn section. They normally play the opening theme music (after the cold opening), musical pieces in between commercial breaks, and the closing theme music "Closing Theme (Waltz in A)," written by founding member Howard Shore.[1][2] Often, the band will provide the music to a sketch when necessary.

Band leaders and musical directors[edit]

Musician and future Academy Award winning film composer Howard Shore was the original musical director and bandleader from 1975 until 1980. Singer and songwriter Kenny Vance (who appeared previously as a musical guest on the May 21, 1977 episode) became the musical director for the show's sixth season (1980–81). Original band member and trombonist Tom Malone took over leadership duties under executive producer Dick Ebersol's tenure from 1981 to 1985. Hall & Oates guitarist G.E. Smith came on board as the new musical director once original producer Lorne Michaels returned and stayed in that position until 1995 when lead saxophonist Lenny Pickett was promoted as bandleader. Katreese Barnes also served as the music director for a time, around the year 2000.[3][4] Keyboardist Leon Pendarvis (who has been a member of the band since 1980) is also 2nd musical director alongside Pickett.

Other projects[edit]

Mariah Carey utilized the horn section of the Saturday Night Live Band (Lew Delgatto, Lenny Pickett, George Young, Earl Gardner, and Steve Turre) for her performance of "If It's Over" during her 1992 MTV Unplugged special.

Tom Malone, Lou Marini, and Alan Rubin were members of the Blues Brothers band fronted by SNL cast members John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. They were also featured in the first Blues Brothers movie, with Malone as a member of fictional lounge act "Murph and the Magic Tones," Rubin as maitre d' of an expensive French restaurant, and Marini as a fry cook at Aretha Franklin's soul food restaurant. Paul Shaffer was also involved in early Blues Brothers performances, but had scheduling conflicts and could not appear in the film, until the sequel.


Current members[edit]

Musical directors[edit]

Past members[edit]


1970s additions

1980s additions

1990s additions

2000s additions


  1. ^ Darr, Deanna (May 16, 2013). "On the Record: 'Tapestry,' SNL songs close, but not the same". Rapid City Journal. Retrieved May 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "Moon over Naples – YouTube". YouTube.
  3. ^ a b "SNL’s Former Musical Director Breaks Out on Her OWN". October 10, 2011.
  4. ^ Barnes, Katreese. "Katreese Barnes – HOME". Retrieved July 22, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Walsh, Christopher (June 18, 2015). "'SNL' Band's Onstage Reunion to Take Place at Bay Street on Saturday". East Hampton Star. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  6. ^ "Alex Foster". RS Berkeley. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Madonna/Simple Minds". Saturday Night Live. Season 11. Episode 1. November 9, 1985. Event occurs at Closing credits. NBC.
  8. ^ a b "Candice Bergen/The Notting Hillbillies". Saturday Night Live. Season 15. Episode 20. May 19, 1990. Event occurs at Closing credits. NBC.
  9. ^ a b c d "Mariel Hemingway/Blues Traveler". Saturday Night Live. Season 21. Episode 1. September 30, 1995. Event occurs at Closing credits. NBC.
  10. ^ Dollar, Steve (July 21, 2014). "Sax and Satire on 'Saturday Night Live'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  11. ^ "Talking about Rahsaan: Q&A with Steve Turre". The Mercury News. August 8, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  12. ^ "SNL drummer Pelton donates kit to Indiana U." The Oklahoman. Associated Press. April 18, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  13. ^ McHugh, Ryan (October 30, 2015). "Saturday Night Live Band percussionist to perform with Virginia Tech percussion, jazz ensembles". Virginia Tech Daily. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Rob Lowe/Eminem". Saturday Night Live. Season 26. Episode 1. October 7, 2000. Event occurs at Closing credits. NBC.
  15. ^ a b c "Alumni Profile: SNL Band Members". New York University. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  16. ^ "Chris Rock/Megan Thee Stallion". Saturday Night Live. Season 46. Episode 1. October 3, 2020. Event occurs at Closing credits. NBC.
  17. ^ The SNL Standby Line [@standbyline] (September 30, 2022). "A big welcome to Summer Camargo! She has joined the #SNL house band as a trumpet player. Congrats!" (Tweet). Retrieved October 9, 2022 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ a b c "Miles Teller/Kendrick Lamar". Saturday Night Live. Season 48. Episode 1. October 1, 2022. Event occurs at Closing credits. NBC.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "George Carlin/Billy Preston & Janis Ian". Saturday Night Live. Season 1. Episode 1. October 11, 1975. Event occurs at Closing credits. NBC.
  20. ^ Schudel, Matt (November 4, 2016). "Bob Cranshaw, jazz bassist who spent five decades with Sonny Rollins, dies at 83". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Ed Koch/Kevin Rowland & Dexys Midnight Runners". Saturday Night Live. Season 1. Episode 1. May 14, 1983. Event occurs at Closing credits. NBC.
  22. ^ "Blue Lou Marini, TI Jazz Band to perform". The Dallas Morning News. February 15, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2020 – via
  23. ^ Hall, Phil (March 29, 2017). "Paul Shaffer is ready for his next gig". WAG Magazine. Westfair Communications. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  24. ^ Little, Ivan (January 29, 2018). "Drummer who kept the beat for Van Morrison in 1970s dies". Retrieved December 10, 2020. {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  25. ^ a b c d e f Micaleff, Ken (December 2009). "Drumming On TV". Modern Drummer. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  26. ^ "Earl Gardner". Dangerous Curves Productions. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  27. ^ Branco, Shellie (March 17, 2009). "SNL's former band leader G.E. Smith comes to Fishlips". The Bakersfield Californian. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  28. ^ "Chevy Chase/Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories". Saturday Night Live. Season 21. Episode 2. October 7, 1995. Event occurs at Closing credits. NBC.
  29. ^ "Dr. Luke: The Man Behind Pop's Biggest Hits". National Public Radio. September 20, 2010. Retrieved October 18, 2020.
  30. ^ James Egolf (November 5, 2012). "Rig Rundown – Saturday Night Live's Jared Scharff". Retrieved November 17, 2021.

External links[edit]