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Saxophonist Was Original Member of SupersaxCopyright © 2001
Jay Migliori was best known as a member of the group Supersax, where he shared tenor duties with Warne Marsh in the original line-up. The nine piece band (five saxes, trumpet and rhythm) was formed in LA in 1972, and specialised in playing highly virtuoso arrangements of Charlie Parker's solos, mostly by Med Flory.
Migliori had one taste of playing with Parker for real, when he was invited to sit in on several tunes at the Boston night club The Hi-Hat in 1954. The occasion was preserved on a radio broadcast on Symphony Sid Torin's networked show, and issued on disc on Bird in Boston: Live at the Hi-Hat, Vol. 2. Migliori was studying at Berklee College at the time, and playing in Boston's clubs.
He was given an alto saxophone as a present on his 12th birthday, and developed a passion for jazz as a teenager. He attended the St. Louis Institute of Music, then played in the 571st Air Force Band in Texas in 1951-2. On demobilisation, he enrolled at Berklee.
He made his recording debut in 1955, then joined Woody Herman in early 1957. He played with the Herman band for 18 months, including an extended tour of South America, and can be heard soloing on "The Preacher" and others on Herman's disc, Woody Herman '58 (Verve).
He settled in Los Angeles in late 1959, and became a busy studio musician, playing on an estimated 4,000 commercial recordings with a huge range of artists, including Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Glen Campbell, Ray Charles, Celine Dion and Frank Zappa.
He continued to play in jazz settings throughout his life, working with band leaders like Miles Davis, Stan Kenton, Terry Gibbs, Louie Bellson, and Maynard Ferguson, among many others. He led his own groups, playing what he described as "modern acoustic jazz with roots in bebop", and recorded occasional albums under his own name.
He underwent surgery for cancer in 1995, but continued to maintain a heavy working schedule until very recently. He died of colon cancer, and is survived by his wife, Patti, four children and two grandchildren.