Cuber On Camera


The late baritone great Ronnie Cuber was a popular guest in European studios, clubs and on the continent’s many festivals. Here are some pictures from the Skeppsholmen festival in Stockholm in 1990 from the collection of Jan-Erik Karlsson.

Jan-Erik Karlsson is a Swedish jazz fan and major collector. He also took a lot of pictures in clubs and during festivals like the Skeppsholmen festival in Stockholm. We got to talking when he put one photograph of Ronnie Cuber up on FB and kindly sent me a couple more from his private collection. Jan-Erik says that the year of Cuber’s performance in Skeppsholmen was probably 1990.

(Cuber and Jan-Erik Karlsson)

Thanks, Jan-Erik!

Ronnie Cuber

See many more pictures of jazz legends on one of Jan-Erik’s Instagram pages here.

Ronnie Cuber Memorial Service


Legendary baritone saxophonist Ronnie Cuber passed away last year on October 7 at age 80. A memorial service is held at Saint Peter’s Church in Manhattan, New York City on October 16.

Spearheading the Latin movement with Eddie Palmieri? Playing on Paul Simon’s Graceland? With Aretha Franklin, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa? Epitomizing jazz funk with George Benson and Lonnie Smith? Setting the standard of slick groove stuff with The Gadd Gang? Whodunnit? Ronnie Cuber did all of this, and then some.

First and foremost, Cuber was one of the greatest jazz players on the baritone saxophone. Hard bopper with a huge gritty sound, Brooklynite that worked his way up from Marshall Brown’s Newport Youth Band to a career that found him working with Slide Hampton, Maynard Ferguson, Barry Harris, Lee Konitz, Randy Brecker, Horace Silver, Joey DeFrancesco, Rein de Graaff, Gary Smulyan and many others. Not to mention, Cuber played mean tenor, soprano, clarinet and flute and composed lasting songs as Arroz Con Pollo.

His last appearance on a record release, Center Stage, a cooperation with the WDR Big Band, Eddie Gomez and Steve Gadd, was nominated at the Grammy Awards for Best Large Jazz Ensemble in 2022.

The service, featuring many musicians that Cuber played with, is organized by Roberta Arnold, Jazz Foundation Of America and Saint Peter’s Church. Live streaming here. Find tickets below.

Ronnie Cuber

Find tickets here.

Ronnie Cuber Memorial

Lonnie Smith - Move Your Hand

Lonnie Smith Move Your Hand (Blue Note 1969)

A Blue Note bestseller, Move Your Hand obviously struck a chord among Hammond lovers as well as broader jazz fans. For a live engagement that centers on slow and mid-tempo grooves, this was quite an achievement. Perhaps Lonnie Smith’s greatest talent is to bring us into a trance and have us begging for more.

Lonnie Smith - Move Your Hand


Lonnie Smith (organ), Rudy Jones (tenor saxophone), Ronnie Cuber (baritone saxophone), Larry McGee (guitar), Sylvester Goshay (drums)


on August 9, 1969 at Club Harlem in Atlantic City, New Jersey


BST 84326 in 1969

Track listing

Side A:
Charlie Brown
Layin’ In The Cut
Side B:
Move Your Hand
Sunshine Superman

Move Your Hand’s repertoire stands out as well. Smith original Move Your Hand doesn’t leave much to the imagination. On a soul jazz level its blunt erotic message fits in with the mores of James Brown’s Sex Machine or The Beatles’ Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? Lonnie Smith’s raspy voice leaves us with a big grin. (If Move Your Hand reveals a healthy case of machismo, on like-minded jam Peace Of Mind – from Live At Club Mozambique – May 21, 1970 – sarcasm has the upper hand on sardonism. Smith’s preliminary talk certainly gave that rough and funky date an unusual flavor: “I don’t take no stuff from no woman.”)

Presumably, flower child Donovan’s Sunshine Superman’s bravado, albeit LSD-driven, perfectly added to Smith’s feelings at that time. (coincidentally, Smith recorded at Club Harlem just a week prior to Donovan’s appearance at Woodstock) Lonnie Smith has that wizardly edge on a Hammond B3 that sounds like a dream. He phrases relaxed and astute, taking his time to build a meaningful story full of interesting asides and unexpected, probing little climaxes in the upper register. ‘The pocket’ seems to come natural to Smith. The organist stays in it effortlessly, which is absolutely essential for the album’s attraction.

Move Your Hand’s appeal is also in large part due to Ronny Cuber’s full-bodied, magnetic baritone saxophone. Finally, Lonnie Smith and his group transform Leiber & Stoller’s and The Coasters’ Charlie Brown into a discourse on the art of breakbuilding. Drummer Sylvester Goshay fills spaces with exciting rolls. It is a very satisfying listening experience, simultanously relaxed and intense, and everyone’s solo’s are very ‘together.’ This could be said for the record in general.

Of the sidemen on this date, only Ronnie Cuber maintained in the spotlight on a regular basis. He has been well respected as one of the great modern players of the baritone saxophone and sideman to such diverse musicians as George Benson, Eddie Palmieri and Frank Zappa. Pittsburgh native Larry McGee has been under the radar ever since. Guitarist McGee played on Lonnie Smith’s Drives. Of fellow Steel City native Goshay and tenor player Rudy Jones virtually nothing beyond the scope of Move Your Hand is known.

However, on the basis of said recording one might say these men’s groovy credentials are undisputed.