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Alvin "Red" Tyler

Alvin "Red" Tyler was inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame, but he considered himself to be first and foremost a jazz player. Bebop was his first love, but rock & roll and the blues paid the bills better. In an era when bebop took New York by storm, audiences paid shockingly little attention to the great musicians playing straight-ahead jazz and bebop in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz.

The adaptable Red Tyler rolled with the punches, performing with some of the greats of the R&B tradition. He was a member of Dave Bartholmew's band, and sat in on the recordings of big names from Fats Domino to Little Richard, and Allen Toussaint to Dr. John. While playing with characteristic excellence in that idiom, a careful listener can hear him break out into bebop on some of the songs collected in Tyler's 1961 release, Rockin' and Rollin'.

When the heyday of R&B ended, Tyler settled down with a day job as a liquor salesman, claiming that the steady income made his occasional gigs more enjoyable. By the mid-'80s, these gigs became more frequent, as the saxophonist worked with some of the Crescent City's most notable jazz luminaries, including Ellis Marsalis and New Orleans' "Tan Canary," Johnny Adams.

Finally, in 1986, Tyler's mastery was acknowledged in two recordings for Rounder Records: Graciously and Heritage. Each CD contains outstanding tracks by the artist, with help from some of New Orleans' most outstanding musicians. Tyler is assisted by David Torkanowsky, James Singleton, Steve Masakowski, and Johnny Vidacovich of Astral Project fame, along with Clyde Kerr Jr. Standouts on Graciously include the title cut, as well as "Count 'Em" and "Here's That Rainy Day." There are stunning vocals on Heritage, contributed by Johnny Adams and Germaine Bazzle. Bazzle is undoubtedly the most-revered jazz and scat singer in New Orleans. Tyler, who worked often with Bazzle as part of her Gentlemen of Jazz, provides sophisticated backup for her smoldering rendition of "Lush Life." The saxman takes a great solo with just the right note of melancholy on Johnny Adams' gorgeous rendition of "I'll Only Miss Her."

Shortly before Tyler's death in 1988, he put together another outstanding CD entitled Simply Red, a compendium of vintage Tyler, containing classics like "Peanut Vendor," "Junk Village," and "Double Whammy." The recording serves as a fitting legacy of the saxophonist's artistry. ~ Rose of Sharon Witmer
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: City Of Dreams: A Collection Of New Orleans Music

Disc 1

1. Carnival Time

2. Sing It

3. Drawers Trouble

4. Just Because

5. Don't Mess With My Man

6. Check Mr. Popeye

7. You Talk Too Much

8. Big Shot

9. I Bowed On My Knees

10. Drink Jax Beer

11. Go On Fool

12. Dollar Got The Blues

Disc 2

1. Feel Like Funkin' It Up

2. Sew-Sew-Sew

3. Cuttin' Out

4. Shoo-Fly

5. Royal Flush

6. It Ain't What You Think

7. T. Chapman

8. No It Ain't My Fault

9. Golden Crown

10. St. Louis Blues

11. If My Shoes Hold Out

12. Just A Little While To Stay Here

Disc 3

1. You Can Stay But The Noise Must Go On

2. Ain't No Yachts In The Ghetto

3. Rough Spots

4. Flow On

5. A Corn For Crip

6. Keeper Of The Crown

7. Body And Fender Man

8. Gemini Rising

9. Sweet Touch Of Love

10. Here We Go Again

11. Funkyard

12. House That Jack Built

Disc 4

1. Hard Times

2. Classified

3. Every Day, Every Night

4. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most

5. Tee Nah Nah

6. On The Q-Tee

7. Gumbo Piano

8. All By Myself

9. My Children

10. I Don't Know

11. Go To The Mardi Gras

12. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans

x

Track List: Louisiana Scrapbook

1. Mardi Gras In New Orleans

2. The New Rules

3. She Said The Same Things To Me

4. We Don't See Eye To Eye

5. Wondering

6. Song For Renee

7. It's You I Love

8. Louisiana Blues

9. The Bachelor's Life

10. Don't You Know I Love You

11. Think It Over One More Time

12. Steppin' Up In Class

13. No Relation

14. One For The Highway

15. You Got Me Worried

16. Gonna Cry 'til My Tears Run Dry

18. When The Saints Go Marching In

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