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The Saxophone Colossus (that's Sonny Rollins at left) played on The Rolling Stones' "Waiting on a Friend." (Photo Illustration: Lars Gotrich/Photos: Rick Diamond/Getty Images, Miguel Palacios/Cover.)

So You Want To Be A Rock Star: Jazz Artists On Five Classic Pop-Rock Sides

by David Brent Johnson
Jul 27, 2011 (WFIU-FM)

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Back in 10 and 20 B.E. (Before Elvis), jazz artists were the rock stars of their time — think Benny Goodman and his star sidemen Harry James and Gene Krupa at Carnegie Hall, tenor titan Illinois Jacquet laying down the law for Jazz at the Philharmonic, or a skinny big-band singer named Frank Sinatra stepping out on his own, bringing the house down and teenage girls' temperatures up at the Paramount in New York City in 1943.

Times and mass-culture tastes changed, and for the past few decades, jazz artists have only occasionally enjoyed anything like the high-profile success that modern music stardom affords. Pop and rock performers, however, inspired by their own fandom and desire for top-notch musicianship, have often sought out jazz artists to play on their records; for example, bassist Richard Davis and drummer Connie Kay helped steer Van Morrison's Astral Weeks to masterpiece status, Wayne Shorter and Phil Woods each got the call for Steely Dan sessions, and West Coast saxophonist Curtis Amy was on board for both The Doors' "Touch Me" and Carole King's "It's Too Late." Here are five more notable guest shots by jazz artists on pop-rock records.

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