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    Horn, Jim

    Multi-instrumentalist who was born in L.A. and grew up during the early stages of rock and roll, practicing his saxophone to Plas Johnson records and performing at his junior high school's dances.  After school, he would immerse himself in the L.A. club scene.  It was there he met and befriended fellow sax man Steve Douglas, who introduced him to Duane Eddy.  Eddy was so impressed with Jim, he asked him to be a member of his touring band, The Rebels.  He wasn't just touring for long.  Jim was studio-ready.  It is his tenor saxophone you hear on "Peter Gunn" and other recordings between 1958 and 1959.  Duane Eddy was so well-respected, Chet Atkins asked him to perform at the Grand Ole Opry one time, but Duane politely declined, because the Opry didn't allow saxophones on stage.  They said the saxophone was "the instrument of the devil".  Duane would not go on stage without his sax player, which should tell you something about Duane Eddy, and how much respect he had for Jim Horn.  He couldn't bear the idea of a steel guitar player taking Jim's sax solo.  It didn't take long for Jim's playing to attract the eyes and ears of the L.A. music cogniscenti.  In the 1960s, he landed a gig on Shindig!, which was a big deal at the time, and also found himself laying down tracks on Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" recordings such as "River Deep, Mountain High" with Tina Turner and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" by The Righteous Brothers.  If you were on that mega-hit, the studio doors swung open for you.  Eddy helped open some of those doors for Jim, and before long he was in demand as a session player.  Here he got to show off his versatility as a wind musician.  If you own any Carpenters records--that's right, any Carpenters records--you have heard Jim play the English horn and oboe.  If you were old enough to see Joe Cocker on his Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, you got to see and hear Jim, as well.  The same goes for George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh and Dark Horse tour.  Again, Jim was too valuable to keep on the road for too long, when the studio was beckoning him.  A longtime collaboration with John Denver enriched the musical landscape with bird-like, imitative woodwind playing, perfect for the airy and evocative country-folk-pop sound Denver was fashioning at the time.  His friendship with Denver allowed him to fly a bi-plane at a thousand feet, walk on The Great Wall of China, and visit the Pyramids of Egypt.  John, he said, empowered him to express himself musically moreso than any other artist.  That is lofty praise coming from someone who collaborated with all four of the Beatles on their solo albums, and is reputed to be the most recorded saxophonist in history.  In the 1980s, the times, they were a-changin'.  A migration of musicians from L.A. to Nashville swept along Jim Horn and his newlywed wife, Denise.  It is Jim you hear on Ronnie Milsap's mega-smash, "Lost in the Fifties (In the Still of the Night)".  As if to prove his chops were as versatile as ever, he also recorded with U2, and can be seen and heard on the documentary, Rattle and Hum.  Nashville turned out to be a good move for him, however.  If Garth Brooks asks you to play on one of his albums, it's a pretty big deal.  The same goes for Vince Gill and Wynonna Judd.  When Garth Brooks performed with Billy Joel in Central Park, it was Jim who played the saxophone solo in "New York State of Mind".  Session musicians are the unsung heroes of the music business, so we can forgive Horn for tooting his own:  He has released an album called The Hit List, which features songs which featured him, ones you might not have even known he played on, like "Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys, "Little Jeannie" by Elton John, and "Ride Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross.  He pays homage to others moreso than to himself, however, on A Beatles Tribute and Jim Horn:  A Tribute to John Denver.  Another example of his versatility is Northern Reflections, a staple on smooth jazz radio stations.  If Jim has only released ten solo albums, including Neon Nights and Work It Out, one could argue he simply hasn't had time to do more.  In his long and distinguished career, he has appeared on a wide variety of records that nearly everybody knows, like "The Age of Aquarius" and "Up, Up and Away" with The Fifth Dimension, "Goin' up the Country" with Canned Heat, "Lady Blue" with Leon Russell, "Laughter in the Rain" with Neil Sedaka, "Rosanna" with Toto, "Strangers in the Night" with Frank Sinatra, and "Tears of a Clown" with Smokey Robinson.  He has also appeared as a member of the CBS Orchestra with Paul Shaffer on The Late Show with David Letterman and twice as a guest musician with Jimmy Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band on the albums Beach House on the Moon and Far Side of the World.  On 29th November 2002, he joined an all-star line-up at Albert Hall in London to pay tribute to an old friend in the famous Concert for George.  Two years later, he was asked to arrange the horns at the Democatic National Convention.  He has spent the balance of the decade touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd, on whose early recordings he appears, and helped Sting organize the Rainforest Concerts at Carnegie Hall.


    Lalo Schifrin recordings

    All for the Love of Sunshine (Lalo Schifrin)

    Theme from "Medical Center" (Lalo Schifrin)








    Here he on sax with Duane Eddy on "Don't Be Cruel"...












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