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Frank Socolow

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A fine tenor saxophonist who never rose beyond the journeyman stage despite his talents, Frank Socolow had a transitional swing to bop style. He first worked professionally in 1941 with Jack Melvin and then had stints with Georgie Auld, Ted Fio Rito, Roy Stevens, Van Alexander, and Shep Fields. He was featured with Boyd Raeburn's Orchestra in 1944 (and later in 1948 and 1956-1957), the short-lived Buddy Rich big band, and Chubby Jackson, touring Scandinavia with the latter during 1947-1948. Socolow was in Artie Shaw's beboppish big band during 1949-1950 and in the late '50s, played with Johnny Richards' Orchestra. He recorded with Raeburn, Rich, Jackson, Shaw, and Richards plus Sid Catlett, Johnny Bothwell, Buddy DeFranco, Charlie Ventura, Sal Salvador, Terry Gibbs, Cecil Payne, Manny Albam, Gene Krupa, Teddy Charles, and Joe Morello (1961) among others. Frankie Socolow also led two sessions of his own: four songs in 1945 with a quintet also including trumpeter Freddy Webster (heard at his best) and pianist Bud Powell, and a full album with a sextet in 1956 for Bethlehem (reissued on CD by Fresh Sound). But despite all of this activity, he remains only a footnote in jazz history. ~ Scott Yanow

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