Jimmy Mosher: saxophonist, educator

Jimmy Mosher: born Feb. 21, 1938 in New York City; died: May 5, 1987 in Boston

    Born in New York, Jimmy Mosher was raised in a musical family residing in Lynn, MA. His father, a saxophonist who had retired from touring, settled there in 1952, opening a music retail and instructional store. By the age of six, Jimmy had begun playing saxophone himself. While attending Lynn Classical High School, Jimmy and trumpet player Paul Fontaine organized groups to play at local dances and functions. Initially influenced by swing players, Mosher learned of Charlie Parker’s music during high school and even heard him live at the Hi-Hat.

    After high school Mosher abandoned plans for an engineering career and went to Berklee. During this time he played in the area with Herb Pomeroy and many other groups. A meeting with Serge Chaloff made a lifetime impression, and Mosher later credited him as an early mentor. This association led indirectly to Mosher’s occupying Chaloff’s former chair with Woody Herman’s band in 1959, playing baritone sax with that group for several years. He had shorter stints with Mongo Santamaria and Maynard Ferguson.

    In 1964 Mosher returned to Boston and taught at Berklee, leaving to join Buddy Rich’s band in 1967. For the next seven years Mosher was lead alto and occasional music director of the Rich band in which he was frequently featured. During this period he also performed with Chick Corea and Jaki Byard.

    In 1979 Mosher settled in Boston permanently, working again at Berklee and eventually becoming chairman of the woodwind department. In this final period of his life he recorded under his own name for the first time, producing albums with his quartet (A Chick From Chelsea in 1981) and quintet (Satyric Horn in 1984).

    –John Clark

Jimmy Mosher

Jimmy Mosher (photo by Nick Puopolo)