Joe Rushton

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The history of jazz has had very few significant bass saxophonists. In fact, other than Adrian Rollini in the 1920's, Joe Rushton was probably jazz's finest. Rushton actually started out on the drums…
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The history of jazz has had very few significant bass saxophonists. In fact, other than Adrian Rollini in the 1920's, Joe Rushton was probably jazz's finest. Rushton actually started out on the drums and spent time playing clarinet, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone sax before settling on bass sax in 1928. Through the years Rushton would occasionally play other instruments. His associations included Ted Weems, Jimmy McPartland, Bud Freeman, Benny Goodman (1942-43) and Horace Heidt (1943-45). Most significant was Rushton's longterm job with Red Nichols' Five Pennies which began in 1947 and continued throughout most of the 1950's. Rushton was a major asset (and often a costar) on Nichols' many recordings of the era and also made records with Floyd O'Brien and the Rampart Street Paraders. As a leader, he only had the opportunity to lead six songs, cut for the Jump label in 1945 and '47 and, since he was otherwise always a sideman, Joe Rushton never received the recognition he deserved.