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Lenny Pickett and the Jazz Knights

Lenny Pickett and the Jazz Knights


For those of you keeping score, you know that we had the great Lenny Pickett in to do a reading session with us (the Jazz Knights) about two weeks ago. Well, it was a great success! Members of the Cadet Jazz Forum were in attendance and asked a myriad of great questions, all of which were answered thoroughly and in very entertaining fashion by Lenny Pickett.

We read through ten of his charts, some of which were his compositions arranged by others; some were his compositions that he arranged for the Saturday Night Live Band, the Borneo Horns, or Tower of Power. He shared stories about the origin of each composition accompanied usually by an anecdote about a situation from behind the scenes at NBC and the Saturday Night Live show. It was all very interesting and entertaining!

Although the music wasn’t necessarily what the Jazz Knights are used to playing, I think all of us left the session with a sense of satisfaction, having played through Lenny’s music and listened to him play his virtuosic altissimo lines. But even more than that, he really dug the band! In fact, on the last chart, as the session was winding to a close, we played through Tower of Power’s hit song What is Hip. We let alto saxophonist Staff Sgt. Derrick James loose for an extended solo and Lenny was into it so much that he took a video of it on his phone! All in all it was a great day that will hopefully formulate a musical relationship between the West Point Band and Lenny Pickett and the Saturday Night Live Band. Who knows, maybe there will be a guest appearance by the Jazz Knights on SNL someday…wishful thinking…

Words by Staff Sgt. David Loy Song