Many thanks to Loren Schoenberg for posting the following star-studded advertisement for Conn saxophones from the November 1936 issue of DownBeat magazine and further gratitude to my friend Michael Steinman for sharing it with me.
This writer tries not to nerd out on nostalgia too often, but look at that shot of Larry Binyon!Compared with smiling Benny Carter, modest Adrian Rollini or downright beaming Eddie Miller, Binyon looks more like a man at work than a cat at a gig, and nothing like an artist probing the depths of their soul.
That look could be an autobiography: his career was a nonstop job, playing for the likes of Benny Goodman, Red Nichols, Ben Pollack and Fats Waller as well as many studio groups and pickup bands. He was a multi-instrumentalist, sideman with the stars and studio warhorse who kept some impressive company back in the day, enough to earn him a place alongside the legends-in-the-making shown here. Conn wasn’t just trying to pad their copy with endorsements; Binyon was simply that well-respected (even if he never seems to have improvised a full chorus on record).
You can read more about Larry Binyon’s career here. While you’re at it, and on the subject of studio players, check out the above-pictured Hank Ross with one of the many recording bands lucky enough to have him on board:
Just another day at work for these guys…