Friday, 2 March 2012

Jonathan Senator Gerber (Jon Gerber)

Time for another musical interlude.

A day or two ago, I mentioned Sylvain Sylvain`s eponymous first solo album.

One of the highlights of that album is the closing track, `Tonight`, a haunting saxophone-led instrumental which in many ways is in contrast with the general mood but in some mysterious way seems to round the collection off quite nicely.

I suppose I first heard that track circa 1979/1980 and I`ve loved it ever since. It does raise one or two questions though.

Firstly, and most obviously, the composer credit goes to Sylvain himself and not to saxophone player Jon Gerber (Jonathan Senator Gerber) - but Sylvain is a singer and player of guitar and keyboards, not a saxophonist. I would think it`s unlikely  he could pen a saxophone piece*. Against that, he doesn`t seem to be the kind of man to take the credit for another man`s work. 

It could be said that the appeal of the piece is as much in the performance of the composition, and certainly the whole piece seems designed to showcase Gerber`s skills. Yet who is that mystery saxophonist ? 

As we`ve established he appears on the first Sylvain solo album. A couple of years later he was saxophonist and horn arranger on the Syl and the Teardrops album, but I`ve never heard of anything he did before or since. It seems odd. Saxophonists and arrangers don`t grow on trees and I would have expected someone at his level of ability to have years of recording behind them, and indeed I always assumed I`d be hearing his name again in connection with music.

All these years later, even with the advent of the internet, our man remains elusive. The only new thing I`ve tracked down on the web is a favourable review of a Muddy Waters album penned by a Jon Gerber of Houston, Texas. Is it the same man ? I`ve no idea.

I can`t claim it keeps me awake at night, but it is intriguing. If anyone can cast any light on the career of this musical man of mystery, I`d be glad to hear from you.

Failing that, if I`ve said enough to interest others in discovering this excellent music, I`ll feel I`ve done a good thing !

*Though I did learn recently that Ian Gomm, a guitarist/singer/songwriter once composed a bagpipe piece for the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, so anything is possible !

No comments:

Post a Comment