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Jay Migliori
Jay Migliori
(Baritone Saxophone)

(He got his first horn at twelve and started playing professionally when he was thirteen in his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. During the Korean War, he interrupted his education to enlist, and ended up in the Air Force band. Then, thanks to the G.I. Bill, he went to Boston's Berklee School of Music [which was then called Schillinger House], during which time he was also a member of the house band at the High Hat Club playing with such legends as Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. After school, he hit the road with Woody Herman, then ended up in LA. where he began getting session calls for H.B. Barnum's band. That's where he met Steve Douglas and Hal Blaine, and before too long, they were all regular members of both Phil Spector's and Brian's studio bands. Later on, he made his own mark, playing with Frank Zappa and as a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning group, Supersax.)


JAY: "Steve Douglas and I really clicked as a team. We usually both got hired for the sessions. Steve also was an A&R man at Capitol and was doing the Brian Wilson dates at that time. During that period, we also did the Jimmy Bowen/Reprise sessions, working with Sinatra.

"Brian was a unique person. He was really a nice guy; he respected musicians. High respect for people who could play their instruments. He would come into the sessions with an idea, and he would have a very basic harmony line and chord changes that we were to follow, but we all had to use our own initiative. He knew what he wanted, could get what he wanted across and he got it out of us. But it was unorthodox. In those days, he would come in with those sheets and the horn parts were basically just pads of sound, so we would make up our own pattern.

A lot of time it would just be whole notes. Without the pad there...even though you don't hear them most of the time...that's what gave it the warmth...made the music warmer.

"Brian would come in with a concert sheet, off the piano. He obviously got these ideas at the piano and brought them to the sessions. What was on those sheets were the most important parts about what ended up on the track. The harmonies were not exactly what other rock 'n roll people were doing. Harmonic motion, like the bass line, was different. Sometimes he would come in with a bass line, and he would have the bass players underneath everything.

It was up to us to fill in with details. He went one-on-one with everybody in the whole band until he got what he wanted out of each person. Even though it wasn't masterfully put on paper, it was there in his head. 

"Sometimes you would be playing a part and get the feeling of 'I don't see how this is gonna work,' but after you find out that it did work, you didn't question it anymore. You were only seeing your little part, not the whole grand picture. And during Pet Sounds and 'Good Vibrations,' he was getting grander and grander. He was in a creative

frenzy at the time. And a lot of times, he wouldn't be happy with the way it was going, but he did persist. Several times, he wouldn't be happy with feel, like with 'Good Vibrations,' and we would cut the same song on another date.

"It was easy for me to work with him, and there was never any problem with his stuff. Especially on dates when I was the only horn, sometimes I wouldn't use the music and just memorize what he was telling me to do and play it that way.

"Every time it was a Brian Wilson date it was an event. It wasn't gonna be three hours and out. You didn't know what was going to happen, but you knew something was gonna happen. I played with a lot of great people, and what Brian had in common with them all was that you didn't really know what's gonna come next.

Unpredictability. They all seemed to have a little bit of that. And Brian has a beautiful melodic sense. So did Miles."My son, who is now 29, was born when we were doing 'Good Vibrations,' and at the end, on the fade, there is a baby crying. He did it in honor of my son. He didn't even tell me. I remember at the session when my son was born, Hal Blaine went across the street and bought a magnum of champagne and we all made a toast.

"One thing that made it so different was that he created it piece by piece, and he put it all together. It certainly wasn't bubble gum. The fact that his music is still around and people are still listening to it proves that. I'm proud of those records. A great time of my life. And it is important music."

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