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Chris Pitts

Steeped in Post Bop and Blues, Detroit Saxophonist, Chris Pitts made Manhattan, San Francisco and Paris, his homes before moving to Boston. His bands have always featured energetic rhythm sections and adventurous music. He performs regularly in the Boston area and released a recording titled "42". Active as a music producer, he produces the annual Newton Piano Summit and music for several local fairs. He also serves as Festival of the Arts Chair in Newton and Co-chair of the Newton Cultural Council.

He has performed at major jazz festivals and clubs in North America and Europe and played with jazz notables; Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, Clark Terry, Thad Jones, Phil Woods, Jon Faddis, Regina Carter, James Carter, Betty Carter, Geri Allen, Robert Hurst, Kenny Garrett, Roy Brooks, Johnny O’Neil, Ralph Armstrong, Marcus Belgrave, Rodney Whitaker, Danny Spencer, Rick Margitza, Kim Nalley, Eula Lawrence, John Handy, Madeline Eastman, Kitty Margolis, Bruce Forman, Mike Clark, Grover Washington Jr., Ronnie Cuber, Steve Slagel, Winard Harper, Marvin Stamm, Herb Geller, Wes Wirth, John Lockwood, Sean Skeete, Yuron Israel, Charles Boles, Sam Sanders, Jaribu Shahid, Ralph Peterson, and Warren Gale.

Entertainers Pitts has performed and/or recorded with include: Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Martha Reeves, Lou Rawls, Bob Hope, Liberace, Henny Youngman, Lyman Woodard, Enchantment, The Floaters, The Dramatics, and even President Bill Clinton, He has also opened for many acts including Dave Mason, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Ambrosia, and Don Mclean. Pitts performed with many Boston-based commercial groups including Soul Party, Clockwork, and Unity.

Pitts also founded the San Francisco-based Contemporary Jazz Orchestra in 1995 which performed every Monday night and directed the band until 2000. Several recordings can be purchased at jazznation.com

He is a recipient of composition and performance grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for the Arts, and the Detroit Council of the Arts.

Detroit provided Pitts solid exposure to serious jazz artists such as saxophonists Sam Sanders, Donald Walden, Phil Lasley, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, pianists Kenn Cox and Charles Boles. Encouraged to lead his own groups, he formed the EMX with trumpeter James Van Dyke, pianist Kenn Cox, bassist Ed Pickens and drummer Danny Spencer (after Ed Pickens left the music business, the bass chair was subsequently held by young bassists Bob Hurst, Rodney Whitaker and Jaribu Shahid.) The group gained attention opening for Ornette Coleman and went on to perform at several National Jazz Festivals, concert venues and jazz clubs. He also gained big band experience in the bands of Ed Nuccilli, J.C Heard, Sam Sanders, Marcus Belgrave and Johnny Trudell. Pitts studied privately with George Coleman in New York and Bill Pierce in Boston.

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"A saxophonist deeply immersed in the total jazz tradition." JazzTimes critic Willard Jenkins "It was the kind of music that makes one feel confident about the future of jazz." The Detroit News
Sonny Rollins
band/orchestra
Woody Shaw
trumpet
Wayne Shorter
saxophone
George Coleman
saxophone, tenor
John Coltrane
saxophone
Billy Harper
saxophone
Joe Henderson
saxophone

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