Joey “G-Clef” Cavaseno (alto saxophone, clarinet, arranger, composer, producer)
Joey “G-Clef” Cavaseno started his professional Jazz career as a prodigy, as he was discovered initially by Lionel Hampton from within the ranks of the McDonald’s Tri- State Jazz Ensemble at the age of 17. Hampton featured Cavaseno on clarinet mainly performing the Benny Goodman / Lionel Hampton duet material, and he took a young Joey with him, along with drummer Kenny Washington, on various concerts and TV Shows in the New York area. From there he began performing regularly with legendary trumpeter Doc Cheatham, with whom he recorded the live album “Echoes of Harlem” (Stash Records) at 18 years old. Cheatham impressively proclaimed at the time, “The kid is tearing up New York!” Joey began making rounds, and being hired by a Who's Who in Jazz History, by names including Clark Terry (Duke Ellington), Carrie Smith, Major Holley, George Kelly, Frank Lacy, Art Baron and the Duke's Men, Aaron Bell (Duke Ellington), Henry Butler, Weldon Irvine, Jimmy “Preacher” Robins, Bill Doggett, Melvin Sparks, Bross Townsend, and many others. He also performed regularly as part of Bobby Forester's organ trio/quartet for years, including a residency at the famous Showman's Cafe in Harlem, with legendary Joe Dukes as the drummer.
His main longterm stints were with Illinois Jacquet Big Band, Panama Francis and the Savoy Sultans, and Arvell Shaw and the Louis Armstrong Legacy Band, where he put in about 12 years with each band. With the legendary jazz master Jacquet, Cavaseno performed in the lead alto saxophone chair, and did some assistant arranging work as well. He was also featured on the grammy-nominated album “Jacquet's Got It” (Altantic Records), and worked with him intermittently between 1986 and 1998. On that particular album, Cavaseno was a featured soloist alongside luminaries such as Marshall Royal, Milt Hinton, Duffy Jackson, Jon Faddis, and others. With Panama Francis, he replaced Bobby Watson as lead alto saxophone, and also became the band's musical director, as well as penning some arrangements. With Arvell Shaw, he played both soprano saxophone and clarinet, as well as appearing on the group's only official recording, “Arvell Shaw and the Armstrong Legacy”, released in 1992 (Victoria Records).