Al Gallodoro

Al Gallodoro (1913-2008) played clarinet/bass clarinet/alto saxophone at the highest artistic levels. In addition to his many freelance gigs, he was the lead alto saxophone/clarinet for Paul Whiteman’s orchestras for many years as well as the bass clarinetist with Toscanini’s NBC Symphony for 12 years. Growing up in New Orleans in the roaring 1920s, he was witness to a diversity of cultures and music that infused his love of a variety of music for the rest of his life. Beginning his professional career at age 15, he learned by listening to those he worked with, radio broadcasts and commercial recordings. I had the chance to meet him several times when he was in his late 80s and during a 3-hour interview, he told me that he was still practicing 3 hours every morning. Al also shared some amazing stories from his career and displayed an incredible memory for details—including every complete serial number for the horns he had played. As an example, when I told him how much I admired his recording of the Brahms Clarinet Quintet, I inquired with whom he had studied that work. He said that he had worked often with the soprano Dorothy Kirsten and admired her phrasing and he just tried to copy that approach during the Brahms recording. (Al also mentioned that he recorded the Quintet with a Noblet “A” clarinet that he had gotten in the mail just a few weeks before the session.) His many accomplishments and recordings are legendary and now able to be examined through this wonderful website. In addition to his complete bio; photos of his horns; sheet music of recordings that Al performed; some video clips and personal memorabilia; there is also a page devoted to CDs and a DVD that one can purchase through the site. For any saxophonist and clarinetist wishing to gain a better understanding of what is possible to accomplish on these instruments, this website and Al’s recordings are a must. He was the ultimate triple threat (alto sax/clarinet/bass clarinet) and he could do it all!