UMO Jazz Orchestra releases a new album with Lenny Pickett

UMO Jazz Orchestra releases a new album with Lenny Pickett


Iconic bandleader and saxophonist Lenny Pickett and UMO Jazz Orchestra release their collaboration album The Prescription in June.

It’s remarkable that The Prescription marks only the second album as a leader for Lenny Pickett, the renowned tenor saxophonist and E-flat clarinetist who was a seminal horn-section member of the pop/funk band Tower of Power from 1972-1981, and has been a member of the Saturday Night Live band since 1985 and its musical director since 1995. Pickett is also known as a longtime session musician and arranger who has worked with a wide range of artists from David Bowie and Elton John to David Byrne and Katy Perry. Pickett’s singular instrumental voice is unmistakable.

A 10-song collection of Pickett rowdy-to-waltzing originals, a robust rendition of the TOP hit, “What Is Hip”, and the arranger and former artistic director of UMO Jazz Orchestra Rich Shemaria’s whimsical tune “A Sad State of Affairs”, The Prescription is a superb collaboration with the Finnish 19-piece big band.
“This is a unique project that has artsy elements as well slow blues, uptempo swing, funk and eclectic music in the mix – it’s hard to categorize what this album is,” Pickett says.

At the heart of the album is Pickett’s six-octave saxophone playing with his unique sense of phrasing and articulation. A member of the UMO Jazz Orchestra, alto saxophonist Jouni Järvelä, calls him “an unusual sax and wind player superman with extraordinary skills and ideas – one who could do anything on the horn and in the score. Lenny is utterly jubilant or irresistibly volcanic.”

“The way the musicians in UMO Jazz Orchestra enveloped my music was a lovely embrace of the concepts I had in my compositions. That was the payoff. They lent their expertise to my imagination. They had a fondness for all the different styles and genres of music and didn’t want to pigeonhole jazz. That made this all worth the effort”, Pickett defines.

Also in The Prescription liners, Pickett thanks his collaborators and notes, “I never imagined that I would make a big band jazz album, and I am fortunate to have been able to work with such a gathering of experts in the craft. This recording is the result of a series of random circumstances.”

The album will be out June 10 in the US by the adventurous Random Act Records label. The European release and upcoming concerts will be published later.

Listen to the album at

”Polyphonic extravaganzas that manage to touch base with R&B, funk, swing, Latin influence, and the avant-garde; horn lines twist around one another, shifting and building in intensity.” New York Times

”Soul-band choreography and funky chops on pieces that often sound like collaborations between Bach, King Curtis, Steve Reich and the World Saxophone Quartet.” Downbeat