Herbie Kae

Saxophonist Herbie Kae and his all-star band will return to the Palmdale Playhouse at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 9, for a tribute to some of the greatest saxophone legends of all time.

“We’re doing a tribute to all these great, great musicians” he said. “It’s just really going to be nice. Hopefully, we can pack the Playhouse again like we did last year.”

The audience will hear music from artists such as Stan Getz, Cannonball Adderly and Gato Barbieri.

“Of course, I’m not trying to step into anybody’s shoes, just trying to keep their music alive,” Kae said.

He plays the alto, soprano and tenor saxophones. He will play the alto and tenor saxophones at the Playhouse show, although he is not picking favorites.

“I love all three of them.” he said. “They’re all different, I just love playing all of them.”

The Chicago native got his start with music as a sixth grader. He started with the clarinet, after he saw a friend playing the instrument on the school playground.

“He had all the girls around him,” Kae said. “I was 11 years old. I said, ‘Yeah, I like the idea of a lot girls around me, so I got to get me one of those.’”

He switched to the saxophone in junior high school.

“I liked the sound of the saxophone and it looked really cool, so I said that’s for me,” Kae said.

The self-taught musician understood he could do more with the saxophone. He taught himself how to read music and play by ear. He took six saxophone lessons his first year of high school.

“I had this special event coming up where I had to do a solo performance with only a piano accompaniment,” he said. “I needed to really, really, really get some instruction on playing this particular piece. It was a very difficult classical piece called ‘Carnival of Venice.’”

Those are the only lessons Kae ever took.

He has worked with several notable musicians throughout his career, including Billy Joel, Ben Champion, Carlos “Potato” Valdez, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jaco Pastorius, Conti and Gap Mangione.

“I’ve been very fortunate to work with some amazing musicians over my lifetime,” Kae said.

In fact, the six musicians who will appear with him at the Playhouse are phenomenal musicians who have worked and toured with big name artists, he said.

“All of the musicians are top, top, top-notch cats out of L.A.,” Kae said.

He has recorded music for other artists and has his own album, “Drive Time.” There are five original songs and three cover tunes.

“I recorded it in two years,” Kae said. “It’s the only album I have.”

Audience members can also purchase a copy of “Drive Time” after the show. Kae will be in the lobby and will sign copies or take pictures with fans.

The album usually sells for $15, but he will sell them for $10 at the show.

Tickets cost $15 each and are available at www.PalmdalePlayhouse.com

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