By ERIN CONLEY
Former lead sax for the late Frank Sinatra will headline a jazz quartet performing at a free concert at 7 tonight on the patio of the Museum of Art.
The Bob Pierson quartet will center around Pierson, a virtuoso saxophone and flute player who toured internationally with Sinatra for seven years.
Sinatra passed away last week.
“He (Sinatra) made my life better by being able to play those arrangements,” Pierson said. He said he has loved Sinatra’s music since a young age and still loves to play Sinatra’s tunes.
Lloyd Miller, a BYU professor of music who will join Pierson on the piano, said Pierson sings Sinatra’s songs and sounds a lot like him. Pierson said he could be persuaded to perform some of those songs at tonight’s concert.
“It’s not very often you get a virtuoso sax and flute player who has played with Frank Sinatra so many years in this vicinity,” Miller said.
Pierson said the group will perform standard jazz from the bee-bop and swing eras.
“We just want to get it swinging and get the people feeling it,” Pierson said. He said their middle-of-the-road jazz style will be enjoyable for wide audiences.
Pierson currently plays at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas. He was formerly in the house bands at Caeser’s Palace and Bally’s Grand in Las Vegas. Miller said Pierson was a member of several important jazz ensembles including the bands of Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton and Quincy Jones.
“Bob’s amazing technique is augmented by a strong drive and elegant taste,” Miller said.
Among the well-known musicians he has played with are Yusef Latif, Paul Chambers, Elvin Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Doug Watkins and Donald Byrd.
Pierson will be joined for the concert by local musicians, Lloyd Miller on the piano, Jay Lawrence on the drums and Lars Yorgason on the bass. Miller said that many people consider those three the best on their respective instruments in the state.
All three men joining Pierson have taught at BYU and the quartet has gotten together before to play for the Utah Arts Festival, the University of Utah Jazz Festival and other venues around the state, Miller said.
The concert is a part of the concert series put on by the Museum of Art.