Saturday Night Live Band

Saturday Night Live Band

The Saturday Night Live Band (most often referred to as "The Live Band") is the house band of the NBC television program "Saturday Night Live" ("SNL").

Noteworthy members

It has consistently featured some of the finest studio musicians available in New York, including Paul Shaffer, Lou Marini (1975-1983), David Sanborn (1975), Michael Brecker, Ray Chew (1980-1983), Alan Rubin (1975-1983), Georg Wadenius (1979-1985), Steve Ferrone (1985), and Tom "Bones" Malone, who served as leader of the band from 1981 to 1985. Guitarist Lukasz Gottwald, the guitarist since 1996, left the band in 2007. Gottwald became a producer and writer for artists such as Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson.

Role on "Saturday Night Live"

The band consists of mostly jazz, R&B, and some rock musicians and features a strong horn section. They normally play the opening theme music (after the cold opening), musical pieces in between commercial breaks, and the closing theme music. Occasionally, the band will provide the music to a sketch when necessary.

Band leaders and musical directors

Howard Shore served as the original band leader and musical director from 1975 until 1980, when he was succeeded by jazz musician Kenny Vance for the 1980-1981 season. During the 1975-1980 period, the band was sometimes referred to as "Howard Shore and his All-Nurse Band". On two occasions, the all-male band appeared on camera in women's nursing uniforms as they accompanied songs performed by guest hosts (Lily Tomlin singing "Saint James Infirmary" with the band also performing back-up vocals; and Jill Clayburgh singing "Sea Cruise"). Original band member Tom Malone took over leadership duties during executive producer Dick Ebersol's tenure from 1981 to 1985. Keyboardist Cheryl Hardwick co-directed the band with Hall & Oates guitarist G.E. Smith from 1985 until 1995. Upon Smith's departure, longtime band saxophonist Lenny Pickett (who has been a member of the band since 1985) became co-director, then became the sole musical director upon Hardwick's retirement in 2000. Longtime "SNL" band-member and keyboardist Leon Pendarvis (who has been a member of the band since 1980) was promoted to second musical director.

Sanborn returned to "SNL" as a musical guest in 1980, while Shaffer hosted the show in 1987. Shore, Shaffer and Smith are also among those band members who appeared in sketches during their tenures.

External links

* [http://www.nbc.com/Saturday_Night_Live/exclusives/backstage/control_booth/house_band.shtml Official NBC Website]
* [http://www.davemackey.com/snlband/ Saturday Night Live Band] - fan-based website (re-activated as of 5/27/2008).


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