Three Little Bops + Two Peppers - JazzWax

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November 17, 2008


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Larry Kart

Admittedly, the baritone saxophonist here is trying to play in a neo-R&B manner, not like himself, but in no way does this sound like any imaginable incarnation of Pepper Adams. It does, however, sound like Jimmy Giuffre playing in a neo-R&B manner, of which there are examples on record (on tenor, though, IIRC). Also, Giuffre was a member of Rogers' Giants at about this time.


i second that emotion--Jimmy not Pepper, because Adams was pretty much East Coast based, and the other likely candidates were LA cats. also, a cartoon released in January would likely have been recorded the previous summer or fall (in LA), meaning later '56, which (i'm guessing here) would have been when Shorty was still in LA before taking up his (likely NY-based) chores as regular Jazz producer for RCA. this is speculative obviously, but Giuffre seems the better bet, even ignoring the rest of what i've proffered here.

Ken Dyck

I think you'll find the Wikipedia page more to your liking now. I've updated the 'Credits' section with your (and Larry's) guesses.


There's a drum riff in the cartoon similar to the one in the movie Man with the Golden Arm.
Shelly Manne played in the movie so I think it's him in the cartoon.

Kenny Berger

Speaking as a professional baritone saxophonist I would like to point out two things about the unnamed baritone. The first and most obvious is that Pepper Adams had his own sound in place by the time of this recording and if its him on that track I'll eat my baritone, case, stand,and all.
The second and more subtle point is the naive assumption that because a baritone sax is heard, it must have been played by a baritone saxophonist. If this were the case I would have paid off my house years ago. An annoying occupational hazard for baritone specialists is that by my estimation only around one third of the times that a baritone is used is it likely to be played by an actual baritone player. Therefore it is just as likely that the baritone , which had a simple written part here, and is played with a tubby sound with no edge, was played by a doubler who happened to have answered a call for baritone that day. Check a random sampling of West Coast Jazz records of the 50's and 60's and you'll see tons of dates with people like Bud Shank, Med Flory, Buddy Collette, and Bill Holman among others (fine players all ,but not baritone players in the sense of, say Pepper, Bill Hood or Jack Nimitz) playing baritone.


Ever since I saw the cartoon as a very young kid and budding jazz fan (and in particular, collector of Shorty records), it's been obvious to me that the baritone sax was played by Jimmy Giuffre. For the drummer, the most likely candidate is Shelly Manne based on Shorty's almost exclusive usage of him at that time and Shelly's well-known ability to play in any style. Seems to me that Shorty was just setting up to recreate the fun he, Jimmy, and Shelly had on the Lighthouse "Big Boy" and "Big Girl" numbers. I've always remembered the closing line of the cartoon underlayed with some sweet notes by Shorty: "...had to get hot to play real cool!"

Jerry Minkoff

Update: The Three Little Bops have checked out from YouTube. Are they swinging on a DVD?


Every time youtube takes this down, someone will re-post it; just search for the title. The insert at 4:36 almost sounds like banjo & kazoo, but probably just a clever imitation with guitar and sax. The quip at 2:22 is a reference to Liberace's brother. I'd agree that it's definitely Barney, and sounds as much like Jimmy & Shelly as anyone. Shorty steals the show though.

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of 55 More Songs," "Anatomy of a Song," "Rock Concert: An Oral History" and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax has won three Jazz Journalists Association awards.
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