The Usual Suspects

Gio Washington-Wright's L.A. Studio Musicians Tribute Site


Pete is one of the baddest dudes to ever walk the planet! - with a HUGE sound and hard swingin'. I first heard Pete, as a youth, in the early 80's while watching the "Tonight Show". I thought, "Who are those two monster tenor players?" (Ernie Watts being the other one). If you haven't checked him out, you owe it to yourself to do so! An L.A. native (his father Don was a studio bassoonist), he's been at the top of the L.A. woodwind scene forever.



From the 1970s through the 1990s, the sound of Pete’s tenor could be heard on television and motion picture sound tracks and recordings. The son of a famous bassoon player, Don Christlieb, Pete began his musical journey on the violin at age 7. At 12, he was introduced to the sounds of jazz through the recordings of Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker, Zoot Sims and Al Cohn, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Johnny Griffin, John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley. The violin was replaced by the tenor sax, but not without opposition. At 17, Pete enrolled in the Greyhound school of music through his association with the bands of Si Zentner, Woody Herman, Louis Bellson and even a short but delightful stint with Count Basie. Pete is also well known for his 20 year stint with Johnny Carson's Tonight Show Band.

Today he can be heard with his wife, Linda Small, in their recently formed 10 piece group, The Tall and Small Band, and their quintet Tall & Small. Pete can also be heard with his own quartet, and with the Bill Holman Orchestra, both live and on CD. Electing to follow in his father’s footsteps as a studio musician, Pete has played in the wind section on the Star Trek shows, and has had featured solos on CDs like Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable.” Most recently Pete can be heard on the TV show Family Guy and with the Ron Jones Orchestra.


* = favorite
** = BURNIN'!
*** = legendary performance


***Pete's solo on "Fascinating Rhythm"
from Gregg Field's "The Art Of Swing"

(my personal favorite)
Pete Christlieb - Fascinating Rhythm.mp3


**Pete trading with Ernie Watts on "Sax Alley" (rhythm changes)
 in the "Tonight Show" band.

Pete Christlieb - Erniie Watts - Sax Alley.mp3


**Blues Up And Down - The Tenor Trio
Pete Christlieb - Blues Up And Down.mp3

**Caravan - Masanori Sasaji / "Afro Blue"
Pete Christlieb - Caravan.mp3

***Deacon Blues - Steely Dan / "Aja"
Pete Christlieb - Deacon Blues.mp3
Pete Christlieb - Deacon Blues.pdf

**Fried Bananas - The Tenor Trio
Pete Christlieb - Fried Bananas.mp3

**Groovin' High - The Tenor Trio
Pete Christlieb - Groovin High .mp3

In A Sentimental Mood - The Sammy Nestico Big Band
Pete Christlieb - In A Sentimental Mood.mp3

***Laura - The Wayne Bergeron Big Band (Grammy-nominated solo)
Pete Christlieb - Laura.mp3

**Little Pony - The Tenor Trio
Pete Christlieb - Little Pony.mp3

**Moment's Notice - Masanori Sasaji / "Afro Blue"
Pete Christlieb - Moments Notice.mp3

**Moten Swing - The Tenor Trio
Pete Christlieb - Moten Swing.mp3

Rose Room - The Sammy Nestico Big Band
Pete Christlieb - Rose Room.mp3

**Sax Alley - The Tonight Show Band / "Vol. 1"
Pete Christlieb - Sax Alley.mp3

Smack Dab In The Middle
Pete Christlieb - Smack Dab In The Middle.mp3

**St. Thomas - The Tenor Trio
Pete Christlieb - St Thomas.mp3

Sunny Side Of The Street - The Sammy Nestico Big Band
Pete Christlieb - Sunny Side Of The Street.mp3

**Tangerine - The Sammy Nestico Big Band
Pete Christlieb - Tangerine.mp3

**The Eternal Triangle - The Tenor Trio
Pete Christlieb - The Eternal Triangle.mp3

**The Heat's On
Pete Christlieb - The Heat's On.mp3

Two Sides Of The Coin - The Sammy Nestico Big band
Pete Christlieb - Two Sides Of The Coin.mp3

**Warm Breeze - Frank Capp / "Play It Again, Sam"
Pete Christlieb - Warm Breeze.mp3

Who's Sorry Now?
Pete Christlieb - Who's Sorry Now.mp3


Pete KILLIN' "But Beautiful"

Pete and Don Menza


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