Stafford Simon

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This tenor saxophonist and clarinetist got less than four and a half lines in one well-known encyclopedia of jazz, none of which explained where his nickname, "Pazuza," came from -- not to mention whether…
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This tenor saxophonist and clarinetist got less than four and a half lines in one well-known encyclopedia of jazz, none of which explained where his nickname, "Pazuza," came from -- not to mention whether its proper spelling ought to include an additional "z," on general aesthetic principals if nothing more. It can be assumed that the nickname fit in better than his real name of Stafford in the working milieu of jumping jive combos led by Louis Jordan and Lucky Millinder. Nonetheless, credits for this reliable horn-section dude seem to have amassed much more under the name of Stafford Simon, despite Pazuza and Pazuzza pizzazz. It is easy to turn this name around and wind up with Simon Stafford, but it does involve time travel into distant genres: the latter is an unrelated rock bassist whose recording career began in the mid-'90s with a group called the Longpigs.

Simon's ascendency into the Benny Carter band took place in 1940. The relationship with the highly amusing Jordan had already begun by then, continuing when Simon rejoined Jordan in 1941, after which he spent two years in the reed section of the aforementioned Millinder's ensemble. Simon had a combo of his own beginning in 1943. Later sideman affiliations included a period with the fine trumpeter Rex Stewart in 1946, yet throughout this and the ensuing decade Simon kept his own group buzzing as emphatically as the "z"s in his nickname, despite any ongoing collaborative ventures. In 1960 he died leading his band on-stage at the Savannah Club, a venue in Greenwich Village, New York City.