|Andrew Love and Wayne Jackson|
I don’t know if this is morbid, but part of my daily routine is to read the New York Times obituaries. I’ve been doing it for years. I’d like to think I am simply fascinated by the lives people have lived. Not that everyone’s life isn’t special, but some people manage to spend their time if not wisely at least interestingly.
I noticed this week that Andrew Love died. He was part of a music group called the Memphis Horns. Originally they were a sextet but gradually became a duo with Wayne Jackson on trumpet and Love on tenor sax.
They appeared on very nearly every recording for Stax that required a horn section, which meant working with Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Sam and Dave and many others.
According to the Times:
The Memphis Horns helped shape classic records like Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds,” Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” and Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.” They backed up Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, the Doobie Brothers, Joe Cocker, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Peter Gabriel, U2, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, B. B. King and Robert Cray.
As a musician of sorts, the most interesting part of the obit for me was this:
They worked out their arrangements spontaneously. After listening to a few bars of a recording, Mr. Love might “hear” a saxophone lick, and Mr. Jackson might “hear” a trumpet lick, Mr. Love told The Commercial Appeal of Memphis in 1996. They would devise lines on the spot and hum them to each other, then practice them briefly and record their parts twice, effectively doubling the instruments. The third time through, Mr. Jackson would add a part on trombone.
Yeah, working musicians, mostly in the background, making everything and everyone sound better.
Mr. Love was 70 years old and died from complication of Alzheimer’s disease, according to his wife, Willie.
Here’s the Memphis Horns backing up Robert Cray, sounding just like a horn section should sound.
( Cross-posted at Lippmann’s Ghost.)