The Session Musicians

runningshoes

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Session musicians are instrumental and vocal performers, musicians, who are available to work with others at live performances or recording sessions. Usually such musicians are not permanent members of a musical ensemble and often do not achieve fame in their own right as soloists or bandleaders. The term is applied not only to those working in contemporary musical styles such as rock, jazz, country, and pop but also classical music. Including sufficient ear training, versatility is one of the most important skills of session musicians as they may have to perform in a range of different settings. Session musicians are also expected to learn parts rapidly and to be skilled in sight reading.

Session musicians are used in any situation where musical skills are needed on a short-term basis. Typically session musicians are used by recording studios to provide backing tracks for other musicians in recording studios and live performances; recording for advertising, film and television; or theatrical productions.

The terms "session musician" and "studio musician" are now synonymous, though in past decades the latter term more typically described musicians who were associated with a particular record company or recording studio.




Clifford Carter

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One of the music industry's most sought after talents, Carter has performed and recorded with legendary artists ranging from Art Garfunkel, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Natalie Cole, Bette Midler, Carly Simon and Patti Scialfa to Chris Botti, Paul Simon, Betty Buckley, George Benson, Narada Michael Walden and Herbie Mann. His playing can be heard on film scores, television shows and commercials.




Steve Gadd

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A well respected drummer who has appeared in many types of settings in many genres, Steve Gadd's impressive technique and flexibility have been influential during the past 20 years. He started playing drums at the age of three, sat in with Dizzy Gillespie when he was 11, and after extensive study and a stint in the Army, Gadd became an important studio drummer beginning in 1972. Among his more significant jazz associations have been with Chick Corea (starting in 1975), Bob James, Al DiMeola, Tom Scott, Grover Washington, Jr., David Sanborn, the group Stuff, the Manhattan Jazz Quintet, and his own impressive band (the Gadd Gang) which recorded for Columbia in 1986 and 1988. Gadd has recorded countless legendary drum tracks like, Aja, Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover and Late in the Evening and with artists such as James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Joe Cocker, Dave Matthews, Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, among many many others. There is no drummer alive today who in some way has not been effected by Steve Gadd's influential grooves and "in the pocket" playing style. Steve was an honored recipient of the American Drummers Achievement Awards in 2003 and was recently inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.

The song "A Little Green Rosetta" from the Frank Zappa album Joe's Garage lampoons Steve Gadd's status as one of the highest paid session drummers in popular music.



P.P. Arnold

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P. P. Arnold is an American-born soul singer who enjoyed considerable success in the United Kingdom in the 1960s and beyond. She has worked with Ike and Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones and Small Faces. She appeared on Roger Waters' album, Amused to Death, in 1992, providing vocals on the song Perfect Sense and toured with Water's on his In The Flesh and Dark Side Of The Moon tours
 
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TheFeldster

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You can't mention session musicians without this guy:

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StarCards supporter Ray Cooper by StarCards, on Flickr

One of the better percussionists out there, Ray Cooper has worked with Elton John, Billy Joel, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Mark Knopfler, Roger Waters, Maynard Ferguson, The Traveling Wilburys, Joan Armatrading, Weezer and Ravi Shankvar - Not a bad little who's who of the music industry.
 

runningshoes

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Larry Carlton

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Larry Carlton is an American jazz, smooth jazz, jazz fusion, pop, and rock guitarist and singer. He has divided his recording time between solo recordings and session appearances with various well-known bands. Over his career, Carlton has won four Grammy Awards for his performances and compositions, including performing on the theme song for the hit television series, Hill Street Blues.

Carlton started learning to play guitar when he was six years old, studying under Slim Edwards near his Torrance home. Taking an interest in jazz while at high school, his playing style was influenced by Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel, and B.B. King. Saxophonist John Coltrane has also made a notable impression on Carlton, and Carlton's live albums have featured cuts from Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.

During the 1970s and early 1980s, Carlton was a session musician in Los Angeles, making up to five hundred recordings a year, including albums by Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, The Four Tops, Christopher Cross, Barbra Streisand, the Partridge Family, and Charly García's Clics Modernos. His guitar work on Steely Dan's "Kid Charlemagne" from their 1976 LP The Royal Scam has been listed as the third best guitar solo on record by Rolling Stone Magazine.
 

runningshoes

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Jimmy Page

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Jimmy Page began his career as a studio session guitarist in London and was subsequently a member of The Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968, after which he founded Led Zeppelin.

While still a student, Page would often perform on stage at The Marquee with bands such as Cyril Davies' All Stars, Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated and with guitarists Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton. He was spotted one night by John Gibb of Brian Howard & The Silhouettes, who asked him to help record a number of singles for Columbia Graphophone Company, including The Worrying Kind. Mike Leander of Decca Records first offered Page regular studio work. His first session for the label was the recording Diamonds by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, which went to Number 1 on the singles chart in early 1963.

After brief stints with Carter-Lewis and the Southerners, Mike Hurst and the Method, and Mickey Finn and the Blue Men, Page committed himself to full-time session work. As a session guitarist he was known as 'Little Jim' so there was no confusion with other noted British session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan. Page was mainly called in to sessions as "insurance" in instances when a replacement or second guitarist was required by the recording artist. "It was usually myself and a drummer", he explained, "though they never mention the drummer these days, just me ... Anyone needing a guitarist either went to Big Jim [Sullivan] or myself." He has also stated that "In the initial stages they just said, play what you want, cos at that time I couldn't read music or anything."

Page was the favoured session guitarist of producer Shel Talmy. As a result, he secured session work on songs for The Who and The Kinks. Page is credited with playing acoustic twelve string guitar on two tracks on The Kinks' debut album I'm a Lover Not a Fighter and I've Been Driving On Bald Mountain and possibly on the b-side I Gotta Move. He played six-string rhythm guitar on the sessions for The Who's first single I Can't Explain, although Pete Townshend was reluctant to allow Page's contribution on the final recording. Page also played lead guitar on the B-side Bald Headed Woman. Page's studio output in 1964 included Marianne Faithfull's As Tears Go By, The Nashville Teens' Tobacco Road, The Rolling Stones' Heart of Stone, Van Morrison & Them's Baby Please Don't Go and Here Comes the Night, Dave Berry's The Crying Game and My Baby Left Me, Brenda Lee's Is It True and Petula Clark's Downtown.

In 1965 Page was hired by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham to act as house producer and A&R man for the newly-formed Immediate Records label, which also allowed him to play on and/or produce tracks by John Mayall, Nico, Chris Farlowe, Twice as Much and Eric Clapton. Page also formed a brief songwriting partnership with then romantic interest, Jackie DeShannon. He also composed and recorded songs for the John Williams[23] album The Maureeny Wishful Album with Big Jim Sullivan. Page worked as session musician on Donovan Leitch's Sunshine Superman (1966) and the Johnny Hallyday albums Jeune Homme (1968) and Je Suis Né Dans La Rue, the Al Stewart album Love Chronicles (1969), and played guitar on five tracks of Joe Cocker's debut album, With a Little Help from My Friends.

My session work was invaluable. At one point I was playing at least three sessions a day, six days a week! And I rarely ever knew in advance what I was going to be playing. But I learned things even on my worst sessions — and believe me, I played on some horrendous things. I finally called it quits after I started getting calls to do Muzak. I decided I couldn't live that life any more; it was getting too silly. I guess it was destiny that a week after I quit doing sessions Paul Samwell-Smith left The Yardbirds, and I was able to take his place. But being a session musician was good fun in the beginning — the studio discipline was great. They'd just count the song off, and you couldn't make any mistakes.
 

runningshoes

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Kenny Aronoff

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(I actually saw him do a clinic in Manila)

Although probably best known as a member of John Mellencamp's backing band, drummer Kenny Aronoff is one of rock's most in demand session players, having played with some of the genre's biggest names.

Beginning in the mid '80s, Aronoff served as a session drummer for countless renowned artists, as he played on albums by Bob Dylan, Jon Bon Jovi, Bob Seger, Belinda Carlisle, Indigo Girls, Meat Loaf, Lisa Germano, Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, The Rolling Stones, Tony Iommi, Joe Cocker, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alice Cooper, Travis Tritt, and Willie Nelson and many others. Besides backing other artists on record, Aronoff has also performed and/or toured alongside others besides Mellencamp, including Willie Nelson, Melissa Etheridge, Bob Seger, John Fogerty, Richie Sambora, Smashing Pumpkins, and Joe Cocker. Additionally, Aronoff has taught as an associate professor at Indiana University, performed at drum clinics, and produced several instructional videos. Aronoff has also been named the top 'Pop/Rock Drummer' four five years and 'Studio Drummer' for four years by the readers of Modern Drummer Magazine.
 

runningshoes

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Nicky Hopkins

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Check the credits on any number of rock albums from the late '60s through the '80s, especially Rolling Stones albums, and you'll come across the name Nicky Hopkins. For almost two decades, he was the most in-demand session pianist in rock; the Beatles, Kinks, Who, Jeff Beck Group, Steve Miller Band, Jefferson Airplane -- there was hardly a major rock band in the world that hadn't benefited from Hopkins' deft touch at the keyboards. Born in London in 1944, Hopkins honed his chops with Screaming Lord Sutch and British bluesmeister Cyril Davies before producer Shel Talmy absconded with him to provide keyboards on early Kinks and Who albums. Hopkins' biggest break was in 1967, when he worked with the Stones on Their Satanic Majesties Request; it was the start of a professional relationship with the band that would last until 1980. Hopkins only recorded three solo albums, the second of which, The Tin Man Was a Dreamer, was a surprisingly solid, engaging record that, frankly, no one thought he was capable of recording. Frail and often in ill health, Hopkins never toured much, preferring the studio to the road. Sadly, his chronic health problems culminated in his death in October 1994. - John Dougan, All Music Guide

He actually died September 6, 1994, but if you've seen my We Once Walked The Earth thread, you'd already know that. ;)
 

runningshoes

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Jimmy Haun

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Jimmy Haun is an American left-handed guitarist best known for his work with the bands Yes, Air Supply, and Circa. Haun's first band was Lodgic with childhood friend Michael Sherwood and, later, Michael's younger brother Billy Sherwood. Haun went on to play on Yes's Union album before work in The Key with B. Sherwood and The Chris Squire Experiment with B. Sherwood and Chris Squire. He also did session work for Kitaro and Jon & Vangelis. Haun, not Steve Howe, plays most of the guitar parts on the 1991 Yes album Union. He was asked to sound like Howe and he did just that.

Haun has worked extensively with Jonathan Elias, including playing on his American River album. He has also re-joined Sherwood in progressive rock Yes spin-off supergroup Circa, also with Tony Kaye (ex-Yes) and formerly Alan White (currently of Yes). Sherwood, Kaye and Haun are also all in Yoso with singer Bobby Kimball.
 

Garrett

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Steve Ripley

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Steve is a recording artist, songwriter, studio engineer, guitarist, and inventor. He has been active in the music business since 1977. He is also the leader/producer of country rock band The Tractors.

Ripley started Ripley Guitars in 1982. He created guitars for Steve Lukather, J.J. Cale, John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, Jimmy Buffett and Eddie Van Halen before moving to Tulsa to buy Leon Russell's former studio called "The Church Studio." In 1994 he formed the country band The Tractors. In 2002 he created his own record label (Boy Rocking Records) to produce artists including The Tractors, Leon Russell and The Red Dirt Rangers.("Ranger Motel") In 2009 he produced a 20 part radio series on the history of Oklahoma Rock and Roll that aired on Oklahoma public radio stations called "Oklahoma Rock and Roll with Steve Ripley".

Source: The Tractors | Boy Rocking Records

The Tractors

Steve Ripley – electric guitar, drums, lead vocals, producer, engineer, design, original art

Jamie Oldaker – drums, "groove snares", tambourine, percussion

Walt Richmond – piano, Hammond B–3 organ, accordion, Wurlitzer, clavinet, drums, horns, bass vocals, producer, engineer, photography

Ron Getman – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, slide guitar, steel guitar, Dobro, mandolin, tenor vocals, engineer

Casey van Beek – bass guitar, baritone vocals



Garrett shamelessly does some name dropping .

Back in the early 90`s as The Tractors were forming, Jamie Oldaker owned The Sunset Bar and Grill in Tulsa. I knew and worked with Ron Getman and Casey Van Beek so this give me the opportunity to be in the right place at the right time....One night while watching these guys perform I was seated at the bands table with J.J. Cale.


 

aeroplane

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Got a lot of love for unsung session musicians. I honestly couldn't identify a great deal of them by name, but I know which artists used them (especially solo artists).

Session guys are people who generally help make a tour come together or an album come together.
 

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