When Garzone arrived for the 2011 Copenhagen Jazz Festival, he brought a surprise with him: tenor and soprano saxophonist Frank Tiberi. Shamefully underestimated, he is a musician’s musician and a mentor for many saxophonists with larger reputations among the broader public. After working with Benny Goodman among others, he joined Woody Herman’s band in the late 1960’s, and when Herman died in 1987, Tiberi took charge of the band. Garzone explains that he met Frank Tiberi through Joe Lovano, who played in Herman’s band in the late ‘70’s.
“Frank moved close to my place in Boston. He was always a great inspiration and teacher for Joe Lovano and myself, and I tried to get to play with him as much as possible. Working with and learning from a musician of his stature has been invaluable for me. I’ve been very lucky to have Frank as a friend and inspiration.”
Frank Tiberi (b.1928) began playing classical clarinet when a child – “but Benny Goodman got in the way when I was ten”, says Frank. “It was a revelation to discover that a clarinet could be played like that. Then I got a tenor, and when my father died when I was 13, I supported the family by playing. Hawkins, Lester Young and Charlie Parker where great sources of inspiration. I also liked Al Cohn, he was so melodic and soulful. When Woody died in 1987, I took over the band. It’s been a good life, I played, and that’s what I wanted to do… I was very enthusiastic when Coltrane put out GIANT STEPS. I listened to him a lot in a club in Philadelphia called The Showboat. It was different each time. It was incredibly intense, and developing and full of vitality. He played all the time – you would never see him at the bar. So listening to him, I developed my own style.”
In spite of his age, Frank Tiberi is still extremely vital, and many consider him the big surprise of the 2011 jazz festival. He hasn’t recorded very much in his own name, and is rarely heard soloing on record, and so Stunt Records took advantage the historic possibility of recording these two sax greats in Sun Studio.
Audacity is the fourth Stunt release with George Garzone. HEY WHY DON’T WE PLAY from 2001 features a line-up including Ben Besiakov on piano and Billy Hart on drums; ONE TWO THREE FOUR with Chriss Crocco, Dennis Erwin and Pete Zimmer is from 2007; and AMONG FRIENDS from 2009 is with Steve Kuhn, Anders Christensen and Paul Motian.