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Abe Most

Watch Abe Most with Bob Crosby! or Watch Abe Most with Les Brown!


Abe Most was a staple of The Sacramento Jazz Camp between its inception in 1985 through 2002. As the camp's clarinet and sax instructor (along with Jim Buchman) he influenced many players and touched many lives.

In the classroom Abe was a challenging yet vibrant teaching force. His ability to get the musical message across was always there. He was eager to share an inspirational word or offer a musical condolence. His students always seem to demonstrate a little something special that you could only attribute to his knack for bringing the best out in people.

On the bandstand Abe Most was a consummate performer, a genuine entertainer and an absolutely amazing musician. With a complete command of harmony and technique, Abe could navigate any song in any key, at any tempo. And even though every musician that played with him was well aware of his ability, Abe made even novice musicians feel comfortable and at ease. He balanced his music between his spectacular flurries of flawless skill and his carefree sense of humor. Abe was serious about music but he never took himself too seriously.

When the classes were done for the day, the nightly concert finished, and the last notes of the jam sessions had faded, Abe Most is remembered best as a great friend and colleague. Always the life of the camp, he would avail us with stories of music, the road, and earlier days when Jazz was in its heyday.

We loved hearing about all the greats he shared the stage with. Tommy Dorsey, Les Brown, Peggy Lee, Mel Torme´, and Tony Bennett were just a few of the legends he played with, and yet the conversation always seemed to turn to those moments in his life where he arrived at an exceptional intersection of music and art. He played under the baton of John Williams for those little Spielberg films, Jerry Goldsmith on the Fox lot and Bernard Hermman in some of Hitchcock’s greatest works. He was on the sessions for the lost Beach Boys “Smile” album and countless others of which only the record files at local 47 could attest.

As our evenings drew to a close, the spirit of the faculty gatherings would lighten and in an environment where funny is the norm (and some truly hilarious people teach here) Abe was king. The faculty looked so forward to the one about the duck and the nails. He told it every year and camp just wasn’t complete with out it. How did that one go?
We learned from him, played with him, and laughed with him. We are better musicians and people for having known Abe, and we miss him more than mere words can express.