Saxophone Solos and Comedy Skit Highlight Chop It Sessions

When James K. “Hap” Snow formed Hap Snow’s Whirlwinds at Williams College in 1958, the saxophone was a critical component of the rock ‘n roll band’s early sound, which also typically included a drummer, a pair of guitarists, and a pianist.

Stefano Torossi and Harry Lewis, circa 1959

Stefano Torossi and Harry Lewis, circa 1958-1959

Harry Lewis, a stand-out on the Chop It Sessions EP, was the original saxophonist. The music veteran was succeeded by Len Arnold, better known as Leonard Hochman in the jazz world, in the post-Williams College period. In fact, Hochman was more a part-time Whirlwind who played at select shows and on two tracks cut at Ace Recordings Studios in Boston in 1960.

Hap Snow's Whirlwinds - Chop It 1958 RADAX demo

Hap Snow’s Whirlwinds – Chop It 1958 RADAX demo

Hap Snow’s Whirlwinds cut the Chop It Sessions in a home studio in Weston, Massachusetts around the end of 1958-beginning of 1959. Players include Snow, who wrote the unreleased instrumental, on lead guitar, Art Bearon on piano, Lewis on saxophone, and Stefano Torossi on drums.

Hap Snow's Whirlwinds - Chop It 1958 Trans Radio demo

Hap Snow’s Whirlwinds – Chop It 1958 Trans Radio demo

Stefano Torossi is believed to be featured in the skit on the finished demo. His voice can be heard at the beginning of the skit and at the end, while Hap Snow’s voice is heard in the alternate version of “Chop It” that features yells rather than hand claps. Understandably, neither Snow nor Torossi are 100% clear of such details more than 55 years later.

A video for Hap Snow’s Whirlwinds extended version of “Chop It” is on YouTube :

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