Stephen Pollock - Saxophonist
Home Biography Schedule CDs Links Photos Contact

Songs of the Heart

Songs of the Heart

Order Steve's CDs

Stephen Pollock

"Songs of the Heart"

Stephen Pollock: tenor saxophone
Alexander String Quartet: tracks 1, 5, 7, 9, 11
            Zakarias Grafilo: violin
            Frederick Lifsitz: violin
            Paul Yarbrough: viola
            Sandy Wilson: cello
Craig Davis: piano, track 3
Amanda Ford: vocals and piano, track 12
Jeff Grubbs: bass, tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11
James Houlik: tenor saxophone, track 8
Sean Jones: flugelhorn, track 5
Thomas Kikta: guitars, tracks 2, 9, 12 
Stephen Preston: baroque flute, track 2
Boots Randolph: tenor saxophone solo, track 1
Vahan Sargsyan: piano, tracks 4, 6, 8, 10, 11
Joe Saylor: drums, track 3
Michael Stephenson: soprano saxophone, track 10

Recorded at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA throughout 2006 and January of 2007
Thomas Kikta, Producer
Francisco Rodriguez, Engineer
Jesse Naus, Assistant Engineer 
Edited and Mixed, Thomas Kikta and Francisco Rodriquez 
Mastered by Francisco Rodriguez and Thomas Kikta at Digital Dynamics Audio Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

Graphic design: Jim Manly, Digital Dynamics Audio Inc.
Photo Credits: Marlon Kittrell
Sax logo drawing: Stephen Pollock  
Sliver star designed by Stephen Pollock, crafted by Larry Tallent
Liner notes: Stephen Pollock

Stephen Pollock plays exclusively on Cannonball Saxophones. His mouthpiece is a Morgan L-5. He uses the Rovner Eddie Daniels II Ligature and endorses Rico “Grand Concert Select” reeds.

Check out Stephen's first solo recording "So Near, So Far" on Alanna Records #ACD6000.
To learn more about Stephen Pollock please go to

The Alexander String Quartet appears courtesy of Foghorn Classics
James Houlik appears courtesy of Aerophon Recordings
Sean Jones appears courtesy of Mack Avenue Records
Boots Randolph appears courtesy of the Secret Society of Admiration!

Contact Information:
Pollock Music
1470 McFarland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15216
Phone/Fax: (412) 563-4180
Mobile: (412) 512-0201

Track list:
1. Autumn Leaves
            Joseph Kosma, arr. Mike Tomaro
2. A Mountain Dream
            Stephen Pollock, arr. Thomas Kikta
3. Laura
            Johnny Mercer/David Raskin, arr. Craig Davis
4. Tanti Anni Prima
            Astor Piazzolla, arr. José Oliver Riojas
5. Nature Boy
            Eden Ahbez, arr. Mike Tomaro
6. Lover's Lament
            Thomas Massella
7. Londonderry Air
            Traditional, arr. Glenn Haynes
8. Solenne In Quest'ora
            Giuseppe Verdi, arr. Stephen Pollock
9. Wildacres Morning
            Stephen Pollock, arr. Glenn Haynes
10. Bess You Is My Woman
            George Gershwin, arr. Stephen Pollock
11. Band of Brothers
            Michael Kamen, arr. José Oliver Riojas
12. Holding All My Love For You
            Michael Kamen, arr. Amanda Ford, Thomas Kikta and Stephen Pollock

Thanks: To Mom, Dad, Kim and the rest of my family for their love and constant support. To Thomas Kikta, Francisco Rodriguez, Jesse Naus and everyone at Alanna Records and DDAI for all your hard work on this project. To James Houlik, Stephen Preston, Michael Stephenson, Boots Randolph, Vahan Sargsyan, The Alexander String Quartet, Sean Jones, Craig Davis, Jeff Grubbs, Amanda Ford, and Joe Saylor for their incredible musicianship; it's been a privilege to play with you all. To Freda Silberman, Ed Kocher and Duquesne University; without your support this recording would not have been possible. To Thomas Massella, Glenn Haynes, José Riojas, and Mike Tomaro for your beautiful compositions and arrangements. To my colleagues in the New Century Saxophone Quartet for their support and inspiration. To Robert Besen for his wisdom and advice. To Tevis and Sheryl Laukat at Cannonball Musical Instruments for making the finest saxophones I have ever played. To Rico Reeds for their support when I’m off and on the road.  And to Caitlin Obert-Thorn for modeling for the cover.

It was about a year and a half ago that I was sitting in the kitchen of one of my best friends from High School when his wife noticed that most of the tunes on my first solo CD "So Near So Far" were, as she put it, "all songs of the heart." Humm… I thought, there's the title of my next CD. Yes, this is another CD of love songs. Basically it's a continuation of the same project with tunes that I didn't get to do on the first CD but still wanted to record. It's also been a chance to play and record music with some more of my closest friends. 

For this CD I again had the opportunity to work with my colleagues from the Alexander String Quartet. Joining them for the string session was the wonderful bassist from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Jeff Grubbs. We recorded five new arrangements with two being from the amazing jazz arranger/composer and colleague of mine at Duquesne University, Mike Tomaro. The first of his arrangements was of Autumn Leaves. The idea to do this tune came from my good friend, the legendary saxophonist Boots Randolph. He had heard the duet of "Over the Rainbow" I played with Branford Marsalis on my first CD and thought we could do something similar with "Autumn Leaves" except we would use strings for accompaniment. The solo in the tune is classic Boots and I can't tell you what a pleasure it was to have him be a part of this project. Thanks Boots!

A new piece of mine on this CD is the tune A Mountain Dream. The arrangement of this simple tune was done by my producer, good friend and President of Alanna Records, Thomas Kikta. He joins me on acoustic guitar while my long time dear friend and one of the world's leading baroque artists, Stephen Preston, joins us on flute. Like many of my tunes this one also resembles folk music from the British Isles and Stephen captures beautifully the Irish wooden flute quality that I had envisioned. This piece was inspired by and written for an Angel.

Several months ago, Francisco Rodriguez of Alanna Records and the engineer of this recording called me and asked if I would play the tune Laura on a recording that Alanna was doing for Pittsburgh jazz pianist Craig Davis. I knew of Craig and what a phenomenal pianist he is and was honored (and a little nervous) to be asked to play with him. As anyone can tell, I'm not a jazz musician and would never claim to be one but Craig just wanted me to play this beautiful melody throughout the tune, and so I did and the session went surprisingly well. Craig of course plays beautifully as does Joe Saylor on drums and the incredible Jeff Grubbs on bass who I would eventually use on the session to record the string pieces for this CD. Since this piece also fit the theme of my project, Alanna Records decided to include it on this release as well.

As on the first CD, I wanted to play some more of the passionate music of Astor Piazzolla. While looking for a new piece I found a recording of a lovely tune of his called, Tanti Anni Prima. I contacted a good friend of the New Century Saxophone Quartet's, José Riojas, to see if he would consider arranging the piece for me. The quartet met José while on tour in San Antonio, Texas and as we got to know him we found out what a wonderful musician and arranger he is. José arranged (completely by ear) this beautiful work by Piazzolla for tenor sax and piano. I'm once again joined by pianist, Vahan Sargsyan, who also played on my first solo CD, So Near, So Far.

The second Mike Tomaro arrangement on the disc was of the haunting and beautiful ballad Nature Boy. I have loved this tune every since I first heard Nat King Cole sing it. Later on I heard a very nice version with flute and trumpet in the movie Angel Eyes. The idea of a duet for the tune with string accompaniment might be nice, I thought, and I wanted to have the chance to play with a phenomenal young trumpet player that lives in Pittsburgh, who also teaches at Duquesne, Sean Jones. Sean, who is lead trumpet in the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, plays a beautiful weaving line throughout almost the entire tune. Thanks Mike for these fantastic arrangements and of course, thank you Sean! Very cool.

I have known Pittsburgh composer and close friend Thomas Massella for many years. Our friendship goes back to when he, Thomas Kikta and I were at the North Carolina School of the Arts together. To date Tom has written four works for me or ensembles that I play in. He is a wonderful composer and I asked him to write a love song especially for this CD. Lover's Lament for tenor saxophone and piano is a wonderfully lyric piece and its melody stays with me long after I play it. Saxophonists should check out Tom's other pieces; they won't be disappointed. Go to

I mentioned in the liner notes of my first CD that I had a string version of Danny Boy (Londonderry Air) and that I might do it on the next CD. Well, here it is. Glenn Haynes has once again put his magical touch to this beautiful tune. I would again like to dedicate this version of the piece to my Mom and Dad, my greatest inspirations
When I hear the words "tenor saxophone," the first person that comes to my mind is James Houlik. He is, without question, the world's leading concert tenor saxophonist. He was my teacher, my mentor, now my colleague and friend for life. He is the closest thing I have to an older brother. While looking for a piece to play with him and Vahan Sargsyan on this CD I came across the duet Solenne In Quest'ora by Guesspi Verdi from his opera The Force of Destiny. It's a duet in which two friends declare their life long friendship to each other no matter what. I can't think of a better piece for Jim and I to play,… and Jim,… I can't thank you enough.

Glenn Haynes also arranged another original of mine called Wildacres Morning. This arrangement not only uses strings but includes classical guitar which is played by Thomas Kikta. This piece was inspired by that awesome place in the North Carolina Mountains, Wildacres Retreat. I spend one to two weeks there every summer teaching and learning how to play the saxophone with my colleagues from the New Century Saxophone Quartet and James Houlik.

The other saxophone duet on this recording is Bess you is my Woman from George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. The pianist once again is Vahan Sargsyan and we are joined by my dear friend and long time colleague from the New Century Saxophone Quartet, Michael Stephenson on soprano saxophone. No one sings on the soprano like Michael. I have stood next to him in quartet for almost twenty years now and he still blows me away. Thanks Michael. I LOVE YOU MAN!!!!!!

I have always liked the film scores of Michael Kamen and especially his music from the TV miniseries Band of Brothers. My younger brother is an officer in the US Army and has more than once been put in harm's way defending our nation. I have so much respect for him, and I know he liked the miniseries, so I wanted to record a version of the main theme of Band of Brothersand dedicate it to him. This arrangement was done by José Riojas. It is for strings and piano and once again I am joined by pianist Vahan Sargsyan, bassist Jeff Grubbs and the Alexander String Quartet.

Another Michael Kamen tune I really like was from the film Open Range. We recorded Holding All My Love For You with Alanna Records recording artist Amanda Ford on keyboards and vocals and Tom Kikta on acoustic guitar. I have always loved Amanda's voice and I feel like she really captures the emotion in this beautiful song. Thank you both for being part of this recording.

Thanks so much for listening…hope you enjoy!
Stephen Pollock


home | biography | schedule | cds | links | photos | contact

sax© 2012 Stephen Pollock. All rights reserved. Credits.