Jackie Kelso was an American saxophonist known for his versatile playing style and his work as a session musician in the 1950s and 1960s. Born on February 27, 1922, in Los Angeles, California, Kelso began playing the saxophone at a young age and quickly developed a reputation as a skilled and innovative musician.
In the 1950s, Kelso became a highly sought-after session musician. He played on countless recordings for artists in a variety of genres, including rock and roll, R&B, and jazz. He is perhaps best known for his work with the Beach Boys, playing on several of their most famous recordings, including “Surfin’ USA” and “California Girls.”
Kelso’s playing style was characterized by its energy and versatility. He was equally comfortable playing ballads and up-tempo numbers, and his skill as a soloist made him a highly respected collaborator and sideman.
Throughout his career, Kelso recorded numerous albums as a bandleader, including “Jackie Kelso Plays Cool Sax” (1959) and “The Eddie Cochran Connection” (1977). He also worked with a number of other music legends, including Little Richard, Jan and Dean, and Ritchie Valens.
Kelso’s contributions to music were recognized with numerous awards and honors, including induction into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He passed away on April 28, 2012, in Van Nuys, California.
Today, Kelso is remembered as one of the greatest saxophonists in music history, and his legacy as a performer and session musician continues to inspire new generations of musicians. His energy and versatility on the saxophone helped to shape the sound of early rock and roll music, and his contributions to the art form will be remembered for generations to come.
Last updated 3/26/2023.