If It Swings, It's Music
The Autobiography of Hawaii's Gabe Baltazar Jr.
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
Title Page, Copyright
This is the story of a child who dreamed of becoming a cartoonist but became a musician; of a musician who started on a clarinet but first performed on a tenor sax; of a young tenor player who became a legendary alto player; and of a passionate combo player who became internationally known for his work in a big band. Perhaps, then, it’s part of a larger pattern that this “autobiography” of...
Chapter 1 Early Years
I was born in Hilo. Wait, but first, I gotta say it. My name is Gabriel Ruiz Baltazar Junior. And sometimes I have a little middle Japanese name which is not on my birth certificate, but they call me Hiroshi, because prior to World War II, I used to go to Japanese school. After American school. These are just some of...
Chapter 2 Music Becomes a Profession, Gabe a Pro
Well, when I won the contest I was surprised. I never expected to. I don’t expect anything, anyway. And I was in shock, I guess. Then, later on, I just realized, hey, you know, you’re going to the mainland. You’re going to Michigan, to the famous Interlochen music camp where young aspiring musicians go in the summer. And they still do. I got my things together and went to the airport...
Chapter 3 Blowing Alto in the City of the Angels
Fall semester, 1956, I enrolled with my GI Bill of Rights as a music
major at LACC, Los Angeles City College. I signed up to take all kind of stuff—
history, psychology, biology, and so on—but I was there for the music.
I went—I think my brother Norman told me about it first—because they had a stage band program, a jazz program. See, in addition to preparing you for a regular four-year degree in music, they had a commercial curriculum where...
Chapter 4 1961—An Incredible Year
Now, 1961 was an incredible year. From the time we started to record with the new mellophonium section in February, till late in December, when we recorded three albums for Stan’s Adventures series and called it a day, we did so much traveling and recording, so much was going on, that it was like we never stopped moving. Or playing. Or slept...
Chapter 5 Scrambling ’64–’65
Well, I got off the road, end of 1963. I wasn’t doing anything, and some guy asked me if I’d like to go to Phoenix and do some Broadway shows, so I say, yeah, okay. So, back on the road, I took the job because I could play clarinet, flute, piccolo, and, like always, I wanted to work on my doubles. Plus, it paid okay, union gig and all. So I spent ten weeks, two weeks for every show, five different...
Chapter 6 Back Home
I played my last gig for CBS and Glen Campbell on February 23,
1969, and I played my first gig for the Royal Hawaiian Band on March 1, 1969:
one week to change gears, clear out, fly to Hawai‘i, and start playing with the
folks back home.
Now don’t forget I played in the band in the ’40s and ’50s, so I had all kind of memories. Good memories, like my dad finally getting a steady job with that band, and Domenico Moro helping me win the Interlochen contest in 1947. Of...
Chapter 7 Retire? Hah!
And when I retired, I told a writer for one of the newspapers that I was going to spend the rest of my days playing jazz, and that’s pretty much been the story. I probably should have mentioned that I’d be playing golf, too, because that’s still a sport I love, even if I keep my handicap pretty high...
Outtakes: Gabe on Music, Playing, Practicing, and Stan Kenton
Of all the solos I’ve recorded, I don’t have a favorite. Everybody asks me if I have a favorite, and I say not really. I’m very critical of my playing. I’m never satisfied. Well, there were some that I’d listen to. Maybe some of the things from Birdology. I kind of like some of those things. They felt pretty good. “The Wind”...
About the Authors, Back Cover
Publication Year: 2012
OCLC Number: 809317572
MUSE Marc Record: Download for If It Swings, It's Music