Serge Chaloff

Born 24 November 1923. Died 16 July 1957.


Serge Chaloff (November 24, 1923 – July 16, 1957) was an American jazz baritone saxophonist.

The son of noted Boston piano teachers, Margaret and Julius Chaloff, he was among the few major jazz performers on his instrument. Until Chaloff the only prominent baritone player in jazz was Harry Carney of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Originally influenced by Charlie Parker, Chaloff became the first major bebop baritonist and opened the way for others to follow.

Chaloff first became well known as one of the "Four Brothers" reed section in Woody Herman's Second Herd. He also played with Boyd Raeburn, Georgie Auld, Jimmy Dorsey, and Count Basie, as well as recording as a leader.

Serge Chaloff's career was greatly limited by addiction to heroin. After successfully giving up drugs, he developed cancer of the spine which caused his early death.

N.B.: For a list of Chaloff's recordings, vid. Vladimir Simosko, Serge Chaloff, an Appreciation and Discography, 3rd ed., rev., Montréal Vintage Music Society, 1991, ISBN 1-895002-06-0.

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