Saxophone Forum


by weinscott
(11 posts)
11 years ago

favorite alto players

who and why?

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  1. by bueschersax
    (1 post)

    10 years ago

    Re: favorite alto players

    Phil Woods Sonny Stitt Johnny Hodges and JIM ODGREN! former player with Gary Burton All of these folks know how to play a melody, musically and melodically and with passion.

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    1. by golferguy675
      (600 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: favorite alto players

      Yeah, Sonny Stitt's great. I've been listening to a lot of kenny garret lately. He might be the most bad ass alto player out there right now. I also just recently heard Dick Oats play with the village vanguard band in Louisville. That guy is awesome. He looked like his face was about to explode in his last solo.

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      1. by Spike
        (248 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: favorite alto players

        that guy's off the charts! don't discount antonio hart, that guy's a beast.

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    2. by davidchoo
      (1 post)

      10 years ago

      Re: favorite alto players

      Obviously... OBVIOUSLY... Paul Desmond. Don't question it.

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      1. by kneejerk52
        (397 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: favorite alto players

        yu gotit desmond, phil woods i met phil woods back in the 70's in stroudsburg with a friend, the late Caesar Diaz, the amp doctor i didn't know who he was, what a moron he and caesar jammed at his house about an hour or so, using MY horn, it's never sounded like that again by the way phil was a very humble and nice guy, his advice to me, learn how to play melodies

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    3. by Spike
      (248 posts)

      11 years ago

      Re: favorite alto players

      Eric Dolphy for his ideas, kenny garett for his ability.

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    4. by Kitch22
      (98 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: favorite alto players

      Miguel Zenon is a great, un heard of alto play. One of my favorites at the time. Phil Woods remains the overall best in my mind for his type of music. And Dave Koz, too. He's gotta be about the best at what type of music he plays, even better than sanborn in my opinion. For older players, I like Parker (obviously, he's just great) and also Sonny Stitt.

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    5. by thesaxman1965
      (2 posts)

      11 years ago

      Re: favorite alto players

      I STICK WITH SANBORN-HIS TONE IS AMAZIING AND HE PLAYS ALL STYLES WELL, TRULY ENJOYABLE TO LISTEN TO---WARENN HILL 2ND FAVORITE--I LOVE HIS EDGY, AGGRESIVE SOUND---HIS REMAKES OF OLD SONGS ARE ISPIRIING IMPROVS, BOTH ARE TRULY GIFTED, AND WELL LOVED ARTISTS---STEVE

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      1. by divesta
        (11 posts)

        11 years ago

        Re: favorite alto players

        Some alto players to check out are: Jim Snidero, Vincent Harring, Steve Wilson, Greg Osby, Steve Coleman. They all play in different styles, but check them out, see what you think. And obviously, Cannonball Adderley. His melodies, time, sound. His earlier stuff really shows how he used bebop langauge in his own way.

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        1. by divesta
          (11 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: favorite alto players

          Oh yeah, don't forget Chris Potter's alto playing. I know some people who think alto is really his voice.

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          1. by Spike
            (248 posts)

            11 years ago

            Re: favorite alto players

            yeah, i like his soprano stuff best myself.

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        2. by birdwho
          (15 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: favorite alto players

          sandborn, that shits not even jazz, it sounds like the backdrop to softcore porn movies. phil woods is great along with cannonball and park, jim snidero right now is definantly one of the cleanest cut players too he gets right down to business, cannonball has the best sound an instrument has ever produced

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          1. by golferguy675
            (600 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: favorite alto players

            Yeah, I agree about Sandborn to a certain extent. He's almost getting to be like Kenny G. The difference is Sandborn really actually know theory and doesn't just play 123456 like Kenny G. Speaking of Chris Potter's voice really being the alto, I LOVE Sonny Stitt's alto playing. It's way better than his tenor work. Listen to ASY by Sonny Stitt, I just got done transcribing it yestarday, it's brilliant. If you can't find it under ASY, look for Blues Greasy, it's called that too. It's on the JAZZ- CLUB: ALTO SAX CD. It's got alto tracks by Charlie Parker, Art Pepper, Cannonball Adderly, Johnny Hodges, Benny Carter, Phil Woods, Paul Desmond, Sonny Stitt, Lee Konitz, Eric Dolphy, Bud Shank, Gigi Kryce, Mackie Mclean, Charlie Mariano, and Herb Geller. Great stuff; it's probably one of my favorite CDs, even though it's just a compilation.

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        3. by Kitch22
          (98 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: favorite alto players

          Dave Koz. Listen to him and you'll know.

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        4. by nlyons@oberlin.edu
          (18 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: favorite alto players

          Gary Bartz: one of the most musical, lyrical, and soulful (and unfortunately unsung) voices today and in the history of the music. My favorite alto. Check out "Blues Chronicles: Tales of Life"-- the Song of Lovingkindness. gives me shivers every time. Johnny Hodges: TONE ! and phrasing.. the closest the saxophone has come to exuding pure sex. Lee Konitz: a linear and melodic genius who swings so hard.

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        5. by greyteque
          (1 post)

          10 years ago

          Re: favorite alto players

          Art Pepper, Frank Morgan, Paul Desmond, Lee Konitz

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        6. by johnny_hodges
          (15 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: favorite alto players

          Charlie Parker - beBop king Cannonball Adderley - cool style Sonny Stitt - all around good Kenny Garrett - crazy good ME (lol) - becuz I AM David Sanborn (NOT) Phil Woods - takes beBop to the next level Gerry Mulligan (the BEST alto player ever...) - good Cool Jazz player Harry Carney - nice dynamics John Coltrane - he hits all of notes in the chord within 2 seconds Wess Anderson - because I met him Kenny G - nice lung capacity and groovy haircut Steve Watson - excelent tone Andy Johnson - knows how to use chords Todd Stoll - good altisimo Kathleen Murray - good at using low notes in improving Joy Rose - the "Prinicpal" of jazz Justin Baldizar- a very expressive alto player Andrew Markle- plays with affection Marissa D'Anieri - excellent. Just purely stunning.

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        7. by johnny_hodges
          (15 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: favorite alto players

          Charlie Parker - beBop king Cannonball Adderley - cool style Sonny Stitt - all around good Kenny Garrett - crazy good ME (lol) - becuz I AM David Sanborn (NOT) Phil Woods - takes beBop to the next level Gerry Mulligan (the BEST alto player ever...) - good Cool Jazz player Harry Carney - nice dynamics John Coltrane - he hits all of notes in the chord within 2 seconds Wess Anderson - because I met him Kenny G - nice lung capacity and groovy haircut Steve Watson - excelent tone Andy Johnson - knows how to use chords Todd Stoll - good altisimo Kathleen Murray - good at using low notes in improving Joy Rose - the "Prinicpal" of jazz Justin Baldizar- a very expressive alto player Andrew Markle- plays with affection Marissa D'Anieri - excellent. Just purely stunning.

          Reply To Post


          1. by Spike
            (248 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: favorite alto players

            gerry played alto sometimes??? i've never heard that, any recomendations? and you forgot david binney*teacher pose!*

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            1. by Geno
              (5 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: favorite alto players

              VINCENT HERRING - no glitz, no glam, no b.s.

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            2. by Selmer Fan88
              (15 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: favorite alto players

              Your damn right ... maybe as he had been a student...

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          2. by johnny_hodges
            (15 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: favorite alto players

            WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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          3. by Selmer Fan88
            (15 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: favorite alto players

            Paul Desmond: I love his tone (try to get the same) Charly Parker: I think all you guys know the why. And another altoplayer(can't remember his name but he first name is Frank) He played in the Count Basie-big band ... very nice spreading sound

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          4. by Dave36251
            (8 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: favorite alto players

            BUNKY GREEN!! If you don't own his album "Healing the Pain" go out right this second and buy it! Charlie Parker, Johnny Hodges, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Lee Konitz, Benny Carter, Benny Waters, Bunky Green, Steve Coleman, Wes Anderson, Kenny Garrett, Jackie Mac, Paquitio!, Paul Desmond, Non Jazz: Sanborn and Maceo!! (for those of you who don't think Sanborn can play just take a look at who some of his fans are: Mike and Randy Brecker, Branford Marsalis, Gil Evans, Christian McBride, Bunky Green, Marcus Miller, etc... Just because he's not a jazz musician doesn't mean he can't play. When asked who are some players that he studies and transcribes the first person Brecker mentioned was Sanborn. He said that in his element there's no one that could touch him)

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            1. by Dave36251
              (8 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: favorite alto players

              Shoot, I forgot Stitt AND Cannonball!!!! (how could I do that!!!) Other interesting ones also coming to mind are John Zorn, Dave Binney, Greg Osby, Andrew D'Angelo, Frank Morgan, Chris Potter, and I'm sure a ton more that I'm forgetting!

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              1. by Dave36251
                (8 posts)

                10 years ago

                Re: favorite alto players

                Damn, there are more and more that I forgot! Like Gary Bartz, Art Pepper, Oliver Nelson, Miguel Zenon.

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            2. by Black Orpheus
              (23 posts)

              11 years ago

              Re: favorite alto players

              Why hasn't anyone said Charlie Parker yet!? Check out the Charlie Parker with strings sessions if you don't know about them, they're amazing. I the "why?" for Parker is self-explanatory.

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              1. by golferguy675
                (600 posts)

                11 years ago

                Re: favorite alto players

                Old Johnny Hodges was great for his tone flexibility. Also Charlie Parker and John Coltrane for basically revolutionizing the bee bop style.

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                1. by golferguy675
                  (600 posts)

                  11 years ago

                  Re: favorite alto players

                  I forgot Cannonball Adderly. He kicks butt. enough said.

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                  1. by Hudsona
                    (2 posts)

                    11 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    Check out John Zorn...

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                  2. by sax_maniac
                    (984 posts)

                    11 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    JZ!!! - Spy vs. Spy is a real roll in the hay, isn't it? It's great to hear the nuggets of Ornette Coleman inside the otherwise rambling improvisations. Two drummers, two saxes. Complete mayhem. Wouldn't say he's my favorite, but he's definitely looking for a different plane, which I admire more than mimicry. John has even invented improvisational games for small groups to explore together. He may be for saxophone what Don Ellis was for trumpet.

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                  3. by JaZzer
                    (25 posts)

                    11 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    I'll say Jim Snidero (if you go to an Aebersold camp during the summer in kentucky, you can meet him and other well known alto and jazz artists), Charlie Parker, is just in his own category for revolutionizing jazz, Sanborn is great to listen to for ideas, and Cannonball has great ideas on bebop and wasthat best after Parker. Phil Woods isn't bad either, good sound and he doesn't make any mistakes, it's so perfect it's eerie.

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                  4. by Hexaclon
                    (90 posts)

                    11 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    Top three favorites: Charlie Parker, James Moddy and Sonny Stitt!!! P,L and M

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                  5. by spottspidermunki
                    (55 posts)

                    11 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    i'm sorry, and i don't mean to offend anybody, but why does anybody like david sanborn? he sounds like he's playin w/ this paper thin reed, on the very tip of a bad metal mouthpiece. his tone to me sounds very ratty, tinny, and very, very thin. his lines r not well constructed, and the chorus and reverb and such is not cool. and lets not forget the 80's backup track, all of which r done on a keyboard. i'm just honestly intrested in why people seem to like him. i'm in the dark, so any opinions r appreciated. im just curious.

                    Reply To Post AIM


                  6. by sax_maniac
                    (984 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    I liked David Sanborn when someone lent me the Straight to the Heart/Change of Heart tapes (hee hee)back in high school and it was my first exposure to contemporary sax. Then I bought his next one when it was first released and thought to myself "Didn't I just listen to this a year ago?" At that point I gave up on hoping for any inspiration from Dave in the future. But there were some nuggets in his past. His first album was pretty cool, but that has to do with the accompaniment and the fact it was in the 1970's when things were still genuinely funky. Really, accompaniment has everything to do with making a soloist impressive, unless you're talking about a true "a capella" performance. All I can say is that he's got a signature sound with his Mark VI and Dukoff and it really caught on for a while there. He can play some pretty good licks, too. Just sounds like he's bored to me anymore. Kinda like how as much as I'm a Pink Floyd fan, I'm hoping the Division Bell was their last album. No one wanted to know that Elvis died on the toilet but we all found out, didn't we? I also hold on to a personal conspiracy theory that the music industry holds back promoting real talent until the "familiar package" doesn't sell anymore. I'm not saying that Dave's not talented, mind you. He most certainly is. It's just that there are thousands of guys out there (and a few girls, too) that could play along side Sanborn without blushing - but they'll have to wait in line for now. I think/hope XM (non-commercial!) radio is going to help shake some fruit off the trees in the music industry. So people who like his sound can feel free to enjoy it. And hey, who knows... if you can imitate it well, you might be able to get a gig doing radio commercials. Actually, I feel his style is more suitable to his experience as a studio musician than a headliner. His sound is like cinnamon. Just enough is a nice touch. Too much, and you spoil the whole dish. I'd like to hear him play with a nice rich mouthpiece rather than the hollowed out bullet he straps his reed to.

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                  7. by saxflores
                    (18 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    I saw Sanborn live once, he is very cool with his playing and even tho hes contemp. we can learn a lot from him.

                    Reply To Post AIM


                  8. by phathorn
                    (165 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    Cannonball- people keep referring to cannonball's influence on bop, I see more his influence (w/ Miles, Monk, Coletrane, etc) on the post bop "cool" era , and even moreso with his brother and their influence on what would become R&B. Mercy Mercy Mercy is about as far from bop as you can get, kids!

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                  9. by Doc Hynes
                    (2 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    I can't believe that Nobody has mentioned Sonny Criss Doc

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                  10. by cyber75sax
                    (33 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    Richie Cole, Lou Donaldson, Charles McPherson, Bud Shank, Lee Konitz, Art Pepper, Jackie McLean, Oliver Nelson, I could go on all day.

                    Reply To Post


                  11. by Spike
                    (248 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    I just started listening to David Binney, and he's really incredible. He plays with potter, if that gies you an idea of what he's like. He, potter, sam rivers, and hamiel bluett should form a quartet.

                    Reply To Post


                  12. by Hexaclon
                    (90 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    I've been hearing Miguel Zenon, It's some awesome stuff. Check him at www.Miguelzenon.com

                    Reply To Post AIM


                  13. by cannonball
                    (1 post)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    yeah cannonball for me was a more hard-bop innovator.

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                  14. by bglascoe
                    (1 post)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    For all who dont know, check out Gary Bartz, Steve Wilson, Greg Osby

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                  15. by 5fingercurveball
                    (11 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    First and foremost, Ornette Coleman, the Father of Free Jazz, should be on everyone's list. On my short list of true musical innovators (Parker, Ellington, Davis, Armstrong). Of course charlie parker for being himself. Cannonball Adderley for being the greatest alto soloist ever. Paul Desmond for his sound, ear for melody, and endless musical invention. Charlie Mariano for what he did on Mingus' Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. And Eric Dolphy for his versatility, virtuosity, and unique voice. It's funny that even though I'm an alto player, my alto list is much shorter than my tenor list!

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                  16. by batbone
                    (9 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    Please listen to any recording that Bunky Green is playing on. Then add him to all of your wonderfull list of favorite alto players.

                    Reply To Post


                  17. by golferguy675
                    (600 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    Yep, I've got all his CDs. I studied with him at Florida State. He is by far the most brilliant teacher on the face of the planet.

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                  18. by Jack Cici
                    (87 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    charlie parkers the best.johnny hodeges and john coltrane are also phenominal

                    Reply To Post


                  19. by Kitch22
                    (98 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    Richie Cole's my new fav. His tone is awesome, just how an alto should sound in my perspective, and I also really like his style.

                    Reply To Post


                  20. by mintyfreshjam
                    (48 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    Bird, who needs no explination. Kenny Garrett. He's done some great stuff and has a really nice tone. Eric Marienthal. He's the alto player with Gordon Goodwin's band and Wayne Bergeron's cd. I really like his sound. Cannonball. He never played the same lick twice in his solos. He's got a hot sound and ideas just flow from him. Phil Woods. Great ideas. Sonny Stitt. Phenomenal player. The list goes on and on.

                    Reply To Post


                  21. by golferguy675
                    (600 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    "VCannonball. He never played the same lick twice in his solos." W-w-w-w-w-w-what?!?!?!? Have you ever listened to Cannonball Adderly in your life??? Wow, I'm just not even going to go into it. Buy a CD, and listen to all of the solos, and see if you still think that.

                    Reply To Post


                  22. by Dave36251
                    (8 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    AMEN! Great to see some other Bunky Green fan's on here. Some good news about Bunky. He just finished recording a new album in NY a couple of weeks ago w/ Jason Moran and from what I hear across the grapevine it's supposed to be very good. And he also has a ballad's album already recorded w/ some florida cats that'll come out sometime after this one. Can't wait to hear these!

                    Reply To Post


                  23. by Minatar12
                    (3 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    Eric Dolphy first and foremost...his sound, energy, virtuosity, and most of all harmonic sense is just astounding to me...he's amazing. Not to mention a phenomenal bass clarinetest, flutist, clarinetist, bassoonist and oboeist. Just a great "ist" player, really. Jackie McLean second...some albums I love his sound, some albums not as much, but his phrasing and rhythmic ability has influenced me greatly. Cannonball Adderley, my original influence...I love him as much as ever, though he has been put down to 3rd place. His emphasis on the blues is something all saxophonists should remember, his tone, his rhythm, and virtuosity. And most of all, his soul...he always sounds like he is having fun, and that is key. Others like Art Pepper, Sonny Stitt and Parker are amazing too, but the 1st 3 are my main influences.

                    Reply To Post AIM


                  24. by JulianAdderley
                    (1 post)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    Cannonball- mackadoscious sound Bird- can't argue Potter-incredible energy, time Kenny G (garrett)-seeking

                    Reply To Post


                  25. by eman19
                    (131 posts)

                    10 years ago

                    Re: favorite alto players

                    I know this is going to be a rundown of the same guys but I have to say in order, my top three. Bird (I'm still working on parker's mood and dexterity, doubt if I'll get it anytime soon) Cannonball (he is the only one that I've ever heard make fiddler on the roof. My God he wailed on couple of those songs, my sax professor broke it out. it was nuts) Johnny Hodges, just cause I dig the stuff he did with Duke so much. he really is one of the main cats that got me interested in playing=o).

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