Ray Pizzi


Ray Pizzi    Box 8137   Van Nuys, CA. 91409    CONTACT: RPizzi2@aol.com


(click to enlarge)


  Home: scroll down for:  BIO,  Quotes, Quips,  Albums, Discography, Videos, "Piece for Jazz Bassoon" reviewed 

      page 2: click:  Ray Pizzi  Music  Solos, Duos, Trios, Quartets, Quintets, Play-Along CD's, etc.  (w/audio samples)

      page 3: click:  Photos    Photographs of Very Special People, Moments and Memories

      page 4: click:   Ray Pizzi Art   Acrylics, Charcoal   and "Saxual Fantasies" cartoon book

      page 5: click:    Ray Pizzi MP3    Rare  AUDIO Tracks ..... (including "The RONDELS" 1959-1964)

      page 6: click:  Ray Pizzi YouTube Videos  YouTube Videos of Live and Recorded Performances

Original Artwork by Ray Pizzi   (click on images to enlarge)

"Ray Pizzi's harmonically sophisticated, introspective style on SAX, FLUTE, CLARINET, BASSOON
is the highest level of communication. It's music music, combined with energy, openness, clarity, simplicity,
                         substance and lyricism that always communicates with the listener. A true to life master of instrumental
                         timbres and  sonic realism. Ray Pizzi will resonate in your ears with truth, wisdom and inspiration"
Tim Price.com

                               Ray has enjoyed a long and fruitful career  in the music industry, performing with such diverse artists as:
                         Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Zappa, Ravi Shankar, Henry Mancini,
(wrote "Piece for Jazz Bassoon and Orchestra" for Ray),
                         John Williams, Alan Silvestri, Quincy Jones, Jack Elliot, Lalo Schifrin, Sarah Vaughn, Nancy Wilson, Madonna,
                         James Brown, Clarke Terry,  Bob Florence, Louie Belson, Billy Higgins, Christopher Cross, Aretha Franklin,
                         Stevie Wonder, Chaka Kahn, Barbra Streisand, Bill Conti, Burt Bacharach, Bobby McFerrin, Horace Silver,
                         Joe Henderson, Lou Rawls, Willy Bobo, Michael Feinstein, Johnny Mandel, Moacir Santos, Fred Myrow,
                         Dinah Shore, Dori Caymmi, Cash McCall, Alphonse Mouzon, Rodney Franklin, Walter Murphy, Michael Buble'
                         David Foster, Stephen Bishop, Alan Price, Shelley Manne, Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Woody Herman
, Al Porcino.

                                Ray's outstanding level of musicianship and versatility has garnered him many awards, including:
                        "Most Valuable Player Emeritus"(4 consecutive years) from NARAS"Musician of the Year" Jazz Podium Magazine, Germany.
                        "Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition"Downbeat Magazine,"Grammy nominations"  "Album of the Year"Hi-Fi Mag.
                        "Silver Microphone Award"Ad Music, "Jazz Pioneer Award"BMI, "John Phillip Sousa Award"Quincy High Band Bari Sax,
                        "Honorary Citizens Award"Mobile Alabama, is also included in
Groves Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Jazz.

                                Ray Pizzi's CONCERT performances as a SOLOIST include: The Hollywood Bowl, L.A. Music Center,
                         Disney Concert Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, The Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, American Orchestra,
                         Rochester Symphony Orchestra. The Newport, Playboy, Monterey, Mobile & various European Jazz Festivals.

                                His professional career began 1959 at age 16, recording rock instrumentals with The Rondels,
                     and featured on Dick Clark's American Bandstand 1960 performing "Back Beat no.1
                                     *Listen to Rondels original 45 rpm records click:
mp3 page (scroll down to #19)

                               As an ACTOR, Ray Pizzi stars in this highly acclaimed, award winning film short.
                                        click to view: End of the Rainbow  (view in  full screen)

                                PBS-TV, live interviews and recording session  w/ Ray Pizzi, Lee Sklar, Ellis Hall,
                         Jonathan Moffett, Don Peake,  produced by Lenny Kalikow,
click to view Road Stories-The Musicians

                                The 1984 Winter Olympics saw figure skater Rosalyn Sumner performing her skating program to Ray's
sax solo on "We Go Together"
(from the movie, "Grease") winning her the silver medal.  click:
mp3 page (#21)

                               Receiving a Bachelor of Music Ed. degree from Boston Conservatory and Berklee School of Music, he
                         successfully taught public school Band, Chorus, Classroom Music in Randolph Massachusetts (1964-69).
                         "A wonderfully memorable and personal growth period of my life, but I needed to fulfill an urgent desire to
                         play music professionally." In 1969, he moved to Los Angeles to realize his dream.
                         Many of those former students still contact Ray to express their acknowledgment , gratitude and friendship.....
                         ....."the best gift a teacher can receive"

                                A dedicated MUSIC EDUCATOR, Ray is often called upon to share his musical knowledge and vast
                         experience with music students throughout the world, recently celebrating 10 years Artist in Residency
                         at the prestigious Henry Mancini Institute-UCLA, successfully teaching his unique method of
                         to hundreds of college level musicians.

                                Another educational project that Ray is particularly proud is his involvement with Paul Astin and his 6th
                         grade classes at Topanga Elementary School, where the kids learn how to Compose, Play, Record CD's of their
                         own music. Proceeds of their records go to worthy worldwide causes. Check out the inspirational contributions
                         these kids have made  throughout the world  with their music.
click: 6th grade  Music Projects

                        He is also  involved with various community outreach programs, including 10 years performing with
                        "Jazz Adventure" school assembly program throughout the Los Angeles Public School System.

                               Ray respectfully credits and thanks his most influential teachers: Simon Kovar, Irving Kams, Joe Viola,
                         Jim Progris, Jimmy Mosher, Herb Pomeroy, George Gaffney, Ivar O. Nelson and Albert Harris, holding the
                          highest regard and love for his legendary bassoon teacher, SIMON KOVAR, "The Father of the Bassoon" 
                         who on his death bed, asked his wife Rose, to "Call Ray Pizzi, tell him no lesson today" and passed away.

                               COMPOSER, "Ray Pizzi is dedicated to bringing today's BASSOONISTS the awareness and experience
                         of  the various styles of music the versatile bassoon is so capable of rendering. "Original pieces, written for the
                         Bassoon by a Bassoonist" which run the gamut of
  modal jazz, be-bop, swing, salsa, bossa-nova, blues, bluegrass, etc.
"Fun to play, melodically expressive, whimsically soulful, honest musical statements" "An alternative resource
for professionals, teachers, students, pieces featuring various accompaniments and styles"
click here for: Ray Pizzi Music Page with Audio Samples

CONTACT  RPizzi2@aol.com


(Ray Pizzi advice to students)
"I promise you... the sooner you recognize your own positive attributes, the sooner you will improve."

Ray Pizzi's music, a REAL solid body of work. Fluid in its composition while
seamlessly incorporating a jaw-dropping horn style that has yet to be approached.
.....This man is as important as Miles and Bernstein.
Tim Price Jazz.com 

"Ray Pizzi, through his composing and performing, has done more than any one person
in history to promote the use of the bassoon outside of its traditional  classical role."

Dr.  Jon Beebe, IDRS Journal, 2010

and has influenced generations of  musicians and music lovers. Thank You Mr. Pizzi

dizzip227, YouTube

"Ray Pizzi  turns his woodwind instruments into magic wands, bringing a sparkling
           quality of originality and freshness that peels away the familiar, enabling us to hear
the soul and the music with new ears."
Carl Snyder, Playboy Magazine
"Ray Pizzi,  a high level performer on sax, flute and bassoon has been a persistently
           adventurous voice, performing his characteristic blend of cutting edge imagination and melodically lighthearted  whimsy"
Don Heckman, L.A. Times

"Ray, you just keep getting better and better...and you started out great!"

Henry Mancini

"Ray Pizzi  is a Complete, Honest and Very Soulful Musician" 
Zan Stewart, L.A. Times

........."Ray Pizzi?.......... oooooh!......... Can he play !!!
Dizzy Gillespie, L.A. Times

"Ray Pizzi, Having followed his career as a multi-instrumentalist, his admirers
must now consider him as a serious and talented composer."

Leonard Feather L.A. Times

           "Pizza Man..... With You, the Music is Always a Joy" Milcho Leviev.net

"Ray Pizzi plays a love song with the emotion only a genius can engender.
Each note is tenderly caressed and guaranteed to bring goose bumps to those of us
that love the bittersweet warmth of a ballad played with unabashed tenderness.
When entering the realm of pure swing, he comes on like gangbusters. His energy catapults the tune into another level of exuberance. It becomes contagious, the room is electrified with the joy of his playing. Mr. Pizzi can turn a gentle rain into a hurricane in an instant. From steamy romanticism to raw emotion, nobody does it better than the "Pizzi Man"
Johnny Jazz.com

"If you are interested in musicianship, quality and something a bit unusual, listen to the   
           brilliantly crafted music of Ray Pizzi."
Melody Maker, England

"Ray Pizzi's  music is all fire, passion, and emotion, not to mention ecstasy and sincerity.
It all happens on the spot and communicates to an audience."
Francesca Nemko Downbeat Magazine

"Ray Pizzi plays with beaucoup feeling, that's how he does it." Chuck Niles KKGO Jazz Radio

"Ray Pizzi is like an actor doing Shakespeare and Neil Simon simultaneously.
From soft textured ballads to blistering soliloquies,
he gives his all to the music and the people  absolutely love it.
Johnny Jazz.com

"Ray Pizzi, who's repertoire of original compositions achieve melodic lyricism to
rhythmically  propulsive exuberance, receives "Musician of the Year" award."
Jazz Podium Magazine, Germany       

"Ray instantly wins the profound confidence of all ages, not only with his command of the
but with the love, love, love he has for performing."
Diane Voltz-Ojai Music Festival

"I love the great Ray Pizzi, have always loved working with him - simply the best!"
George Gaffney, pianist, arranger, conductor

"Ray Pizzi's ingenious abilities as an improviser have always been first-rate.
The passionate intensity of his solos, occasionally lightened by an irrepressible musical wit
and an instantly identifiable sound underscore his utter individuality."
Don Heckman, L.A. Times

"A  real "THUMBS UP!" You can't find another saxophone player with a tone like Ray Pizzi, real thick,
round and fat. You hope for the solos to be repeated over and over to listen to again and again. Ray has several albums released. Try to find the album- "Conception" You will be blown away by the power of the songs, A collector's treasure!"
  Heng Fong, Amazon.com

Of  Ray Pizzi, who plays such a striking variety of instrumental roles, Moacir Santos simply observes,
"I consider him a genius." 
Leonard Feather, renowned jazz critic

"Ray Pizzi  continuously surprised us with his music.....engaging sense of humor and relaxed demeanor.....
all connecting well with the audience and  adding to the success of the evening."
Harvey Barkan, L.A. Jazz Scene

"Ray Pizzi, Always inspiring us...thanks maestro for your own authentic voice on bassoon..."
Alexandre Foo, Bassoonist-Brazil

Ray Pizzi truly embodies the philosophy that an artist should have his head in the conservatory and his feet in the street.
It's a privilege to call this extraordinarily soulful musician my friend." 
Tony Horowitz

"Ray Pizzi ..... The UNSUNG HERO of SOPRANO SAX .....
Seentza, YouTube

"You are the most soulful musician I've ever heard, the most positive musician I've ever known,
and the most INSPIRING cat I've had the profound privilege to play with in my life.
  Paul Astin, pianist

(Ray Pizzi Sax Soloist on Wagners Liebestod)
"A  jazz saxophone taking on one of the most sensuous melodies of the classical stage? It should be blasphemy, But, It soars, flies, transforms  the long-lost male lover for the soprano's swan song. A fusion of raw jazz and deepest classical, I can die happy now" 
Panda Mishima YouTube  click to play  Leibestod
Most  jazz musicians in LA play competently.  But too often the fingers are at the service of the brain, not the SOUL...Ray Pizzi is a continual exception of this on all his instruments.
High Fidelity Magazine.


J   Quips   J    
(Henry Mancini at RCA Studios)     
"Hey, Pizzi.......... What's your range on the bassoon?........... 3,000 yards???"

(Pizzi  masterclass)

What is most difficult about  playing the bassoon?"
   Pizzi replies: "Getting it past Customs Inspection"

(Conductor to Pizzi)
"Bassoon player... you are wearing a Hat... will you be able to see me conduct?"

Pizzi replies: "I am happy to remove my hat, maestro, but I play with my eyes closed anyway"

(Pizzi to a Conductor)

"Excuse me maestro.........Where was  I  when you cued me in?"

(A telephone call from Madonna)
"Hello, Ray?..... this is Madonna"
     Pizzi replies:....."Madonna who?"

(Ray calls Mama Pizzi and excitedly announces)

MA !..... Dizzy Gillespie asked me to play in his band!!!"   
Mama Pizzi replies..... "Thatsa'  wondaful.......He's a Italian Boy???"
"Mr. Pizzi, will you play my son's  Bah Mitzvah?
Pizzi replies:  "Sorry......
"I have Anger Management Class that night ..... and they get really pissed off if I'm absent."

(Pizzi to a student)
"I am truly annoyed at how well you are sounding"

(Pizzi to a student)
"Stop confusing me with your pertinent questions"

"I think colleges should give all young composers full scholarship along with a lifetime supply of ERASERS"
Ray Pizzi, International Double Reed Journal

(Pizzi on band uniforms)
            "Can we wear black suits instead?...... My tuxedo has been confiscated by "Greenpeace."

(Pizzi on electronic bassoon)

"I prefer to discover the inherent Timbres and Textures of the Bassoon with my Soul rather than a Foot Pedal"
Ray Pizzi, International Double Reed Journal

(Pizzi reviews a music critic)

"Another Malodorous Melange of Miasmic Mediocrity"

Maestro Pizzi,  Do you have some advice for female bassoon players?
 Pizzi replies:  Yes.....Dress sexy, but keep your knees together.

During a concert,
the Percussionist  drops his cowbell which noisily bounces on  the stage.
Pizzi quips..... "Sounds like Mad Cow Disease"

(Clarke Terry at the Grammy Awards) 
"Pizza Man!... Damn!... That was a nasty blues solo... I know you've worked in some toilets!

(Jack Sheldon announces)
"Now we'd like to feature Ray Pizzi... and see if his saxophone
survives another solo."

(Pizzi on procrastination)

"I have a tendency to procrastinate..........can we talk about this later?

(Pizzi, on the benefits of a higher education)
"What is a
Kiosk and  where's my  Stipend?"

"Mr. Pizzi, are you available to work a Polka-Party  next weekend?

  Pizzi replies:  "Nope, I'll be on the Witness-Protection-Program."

Pizzi  teaching the Blues Scale to a High School Band,
 when suddenly a student exclaims: 
"FINALLY !!!...... a scale I can USE !

(Ray Pizzi on Ravel's Bolero)

"That was a VERY SEXY performance of Ravel's Bolero......... I went to find my wife,
but she, unfortunately, was listening to Stockhausen!"

(Marilyn Pizzi, wife)
"You are better than good......You are a
genius ......So tell me......
...... when are you going to get a
real  job ?"
Pizzi, no reply:



"Pizzi's recordings mirror originality, deeply reflective improvisational styles,
strong rhythmic foundations, while merging a variety of jazz genres,
with a reverence for classical traditions"
Don Heckman, LA Times

$16 each ~ PayPal
(free shipping, no returns)

                               Bassoon Anthology CD  featuring the Bassoon stylistics of Ray Pizzi (homeburned)

                                  Appassionato,  CD contains "Maddalena" (homeburned)

                                Conception  CD contains "Willow Creek" (homeburned)

                                  Loveletter  CD contains "Alicia" (homeburned)

                                 Espressivo  CD contains "Ode to a Toad" (homeburned)

                                 Wind Rider won "Musician of the Year Award" Germany (homeburned)

                               I Hear You  another rare European CD

                               Thumbs Up, live recording with  Carol Kaye  bass and Mitch Holder  guitar


CONTACT  RPizzi2@aol.com


go to page 2  Ray Pizzi Music       page 3: Photos       page 4: Ray Pizzi Art       page 5: Ray Pizzi MP3 




       JOE HENDERSON, Canyon Lady, Milestone Years
       MOACIR SANTOS, Maestro, Saudade, Carnival
       DORI CAYMMI, Brazilian Serenata
       RAVI SHANKAR, Family and Friends, Bombay Jazz
       LOU RAWLS, Sings Sinatra
       NANCY WILSON, Love Ballads
       MICHAEL FEINSTEIN, Pure Imagination,
     Isn't It Romantic
       CASH McCALL, Cash Up Front
       STEVEN BISHOP, Careless
       DINAH SHORE, For the Good Times
       FEATHER, Mulege Day, Chenu Lips, Zanzibar
       ALAN PRICE, House of the Rising Sun
       WILLY BOBO, Tomorrow is Here
      PETER WELKER, Duke, Billy and Tadd

       OC SMITH, 
Love Changes
       MILCHO LEVIEV, Sad a Little Bit
      BOB FLORENCE, Westlake, Concerts by the Sea
Whatever Floats Your Bone
, El Super Blancos
       MARK LEVINE, 
Up Til' Now
Jazz Accordian, The Trio,
Man Incognito
       JOHN WOOD,
Inner Merge, 405 South
One Single Rose
You'll Never Know
Gladys Knight
       LA CARPOOL,
Linda Chicana
       YOKO SIKES,
You Don't Know Me
     JELSA PALAO,  One for Carmen
== MICHAEL BUBLE'  It's Time





"Grease" Tenor Sax
    "Star Wars-Return of the Jedi"
     Cantina Scene, Bassoon
    "Rocky 3"  Tenor Sax
    "10" Soprano Sax
    "Back to the Future" Tenor Sax
    "Predator 2"  Bassoon and Hose-oon
    "Romancing the Stone" Alto Flute
    "Harry and Son" Bassoon
    "Leon's Case" Soprano Sax
    "Armed and Dangerous" Soprano Sax
    "Clean Slate" Clarinet,
    "Main Event" Tenor Sax
    "Dick Tracy" Tenor Sax
    "Breathless" Tenor Sax
    "American Anthem" Soprano Sax
    "Skin Deep" Soprano Sax
    "Mommie Dearest" Soprano Sax
    "The Great Mouse Detective" Bassoon
    "Sunset Blvd" Soprano Sax
    "Fandango" Bassoon
    "Eraser" Bassoon
    "Father of the Bride" Sax
    "Forrest Gump" Bassoon
    "The Great Mouse Detective" Bassoon
    "Grumpy Old Men" Bassoon
    "The Mexican" Bassoon
    "S.O.B." Sax
    "Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot" Sax
    "Summer Rental" Sax
    "Used Cars" Bassoon
    "Judge Dredd"  Sax



        TV SHOWS

     "Cagney and Lacey "
(theme, Alto Sax)
    "What's Happening"
     (theme, Soprano Sax)
    "The Little Mermaid" cartoon series, Bassoon
    "Fairy Tale Theatre"  Woodwinds
    "Roots" Bassoon
    "Dinah Shore Show" Woodwinds
    "Midnite Special" Baritone Sax
    "Knightrider" Woodwinds
    "CHiPs" Woodwinds
    "Taxi Cab Confessions" Soprano Sax
    "Mancini Generation" Woodwinds
    "Merv Griffin" Sax
    "Mike Douglas" Sax
    "NBC Tonight Show" Sax
    "Academy Awards" Woodwinds
    "Grammy Awards" Woodwinds
    "BET Awards" Baritone Sax
    "Wheel of Fortune" Alto Sax
    "American Dad" Bassoon
    "Family Guy" Bassoon






VIDEO: .....  "My Bassoon Audition" for L.A. Phil, YouTube Video
VIDEO: .....  "THE  L.A.  SCENE" YouTube video


VIDEO: .....   "MY TRUCK" YouTube Video

VIDEO: .....
"ME...WEBMASTER" YouTube Video

VIDEO:..... "MY DESK" YouTube Video

VIDEO:....."CHICKEN JOKE" YouTube Video


*Henry Mancini "Piece for Jazz Bassoon and Orchestra"*
REVIEW from: "Henry Mancini, Reinventing Film Music".....author: John Caps 2012.

    In 1981, Mancini was commissioned to compose a piece for Jack Elliot's New American Orchestra, Foundation for New American Music.
Mancini quickly accepted because he had a terrific and specific idea. He was hearing in his inner ear the tone and approach of one special Musician/Woodwind/Bassoon player named RAY PIZZI. They had worked together as far back as 1972 on the Mancini Generation TV series.
Pizzi, a quick witted Italian firecracker played Saxophone for many prominent bands and studio orchestras. The Bassoon was his specialty.
    The Bassoon, is not well represented in film music except as a comical voicing, even less in concert music and hardly at all in jazz, and is certainly one of the most difficult instruments to play because its double reed requires a great deal of breath and sustained pucker pressure to make a sound. Four feet long and with a 3 1/2 octave range, it is an instrument with a natural humor, a dramatic lower register, and yet a wistful singing tone when allowed to carry a melody.
    With Jack Elliot's prodding, Mancini composed "Piece for Jazz Bassoon and Orchestra" which is featured and dedicated to Ray Pizzi. The piece premiered in 1982 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles Music Center .

video: 1998 Hollywood Bowl: http://youtu.be/4LsoMsfCIb4  
video: 2004 Disney Hall:  http://youtu.be/cVsP0KhjiN8

    After a long evening of polite audience reactions for the other new works, the audience enthusiastically responded to "Piece for Jazz Bassoon and Orchestra" which obviously excited, charmed and delighted them.
            *The LA Daily News called the performance "clearly the hit of the evening."
            *The LA Times called Pizzi "The first serious master in a small field."
            *Variety wrote "the piece closed the evening in spirited fashion, thanks to Mancini's composition and the hilariously hip execution of bassoonist Ray Pizzi who dug into his performance with inspired musical punning and delivery."
    "Piece for Jazz Bassoon and Orchestra" audiences invariably have erupted in cheers at the conclusion (even though the piece ends softly) not only for the sheer theatricality of the performance but also for the very real musical satisfaction of the piece.
    All that is best in Mancini has been referenced in this piece. It has the hard swing of the big band era; it has Mancini's beautiful melodic structure, mature brass harmonies, plenty of humor, especially the way Ray Pizzi sells it with a sense of jazz lilt, and his ability to both sing and swing through this odd instrument.

go to page 2  Ray Pizzi Music     page 3: Photos     page 4: Ray Pizzi Art     page 5: Ray Pizzi MP3 


CONTACT  RPizzi2@aol.com

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