Saxophonist Fred Lipsius

Saxophonist Fred Lipsius

Saxophonist Fred Lipsius

Born November 19, 1943
Woodstock alum with Blood, Sweat and Tears
Many happy returns


Fred Lipsius

Fred was born in the Bronx, NYC and began playing the clarinet when he was 9.

From a 2014 interview:

I’m the only musician in my family. I’m the middle child of three kids. One of my mother’s brothers played piano, but not professionally, and one of my Dad’s brothers played too, but he just read piano sheet music. So I sort of felt like the ‘ugly duckling’ (the ‘different’ one, who chose to be a ‘musician’) out of everyone in my family. I was always deeply moved by music as far as I can remember. It’s always been a very pure thing for me. When I was about seven I saw Louis Armstrong and his band on TV. I didn’t really know what jazz was at that time but I told my mom that I want to do that.

In public school, all of the 4th graders took a music test to see which of us had talent in that area. I passed the test and was put into a special music class in my 5th and 6th grades. I played clarinet and was basically the worst clarinetist of about 20 kids. I only practiced 20 minutes a day (this included putting the clarinet together with cork grease and taking it apart and swabbing it)! Back then, I was more interested in playing basketball. But in the 6th grade, for some reason, I improved and became first or second in my class. I bought a few Benny Goodman records and was able to copy just a few of his licks by ear, although I really didn’t have much of an ear back then. My ear did develop into my teens, from listening to and transcribing solos of my favorite jazz players (mostly saxophone and piano). My favorite alto players were Bird, Sonny Stitt and CannonbalI. I also listened to Rollins and Coltrane on tenor. I still have a copy of all the solos and licks I transcribed. They’re now in a big loose leaf book, neatly re-copied. I show this book to my private students at Berklee to encourage them to do some work like I did.

Saxophonist Fred Lipsius


From his site and his label’s sites:

[He began to play] “…alto and tenor saxophones in Junior High School, and piano at Music and Art High School in Manhattan. He continued his studies at Berklee School of Music (1961-62), and then went on the road. Fred Lipsius was the original saxophonist, arranger and conductor with Blood, Sweat & Tears (1967-71). He also doubled on keyboards. While with the band, he won nine Gold Records plus a Grammy Award for his arrangement of “Spinning Wheel” and a Grammy for ‘Album of the Year’ as a BS&T band member. Fred also arranged and co-arranged, respectively, the hit singles “Hi-De-Ho” and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy.” He brought the “jazz” element to the band and the public with his arrangements and solos on sax and piano. In both the Downbeat and Playboy jazz polls he placed in the top ten of the alto sax category. Rock and Roll history books credit him as the first saxophonist to mix jazz and rock styles in his solos.

Fred has composed, arranged and produced radio and TV commercials, including 2 CBS TV logos & themes introducing the season’s upcoming shows. In the spring of 1982, he toured with Simon and Garfunkel in Japan and Europe, and was a featured soloist. Fred has authored seven books/CDs on jazz improvisation and jazz reading, published throughout the world. Other published works of his include small combo and big band jazz/fusion arrangements.

He has performed with jazz greats Cannonball Adderley, Thelonious Monk, Zoot Sims, Eddie Gomez, Al Foster, George Mraz, Larry Willis, Randy Brecker, Rodney Jones, plus a number of prominent Berklee College of Music faculty such as Herb Pomeroy, Alan Dawson, Ray Santisi, and Donald Brown. He has written music for and performed on over 30 CDs as both a leader and sideman.

In 2020, Fred retired from Berklee College of Music in Boston after teaching full-time for 35 years.

Saxophonist Fred Lipsius

Spinning Wheel

If you’ve ever visited the Museum at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, then “Spinning Wheel”  will sound familiar. Here is an 2004 interview with him.

Fred’s recent projects include new music, original computer art, and his book, “The Tree With Many Colors”, which contains insights about the giving and receiving of love… the purpose of life.

In 2020, Fred retired from Berklee College of Music in Boston after teaching full-time for 35 years.

Click for more including about his digital art >>> his site

Saxophonist Fred Lipsius

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

Joe Hill executed
November 19 Peace Love Art Activism
Joe Hill quote

November 19, 1915: Utah executed Joe Hill. After a questionable arrest and controversial trial, a Utah jury convicted Joe Hill of murder and a firing squad executed him [legend has it that he yelled “Fire!”.]  Joe Hill wrote his will in verse:

My will is easy to decide,

For there is nothing to divide,

My kin don’t need to fuss and moan-

“Moss does not cling to a rolling stone.”

My body? Ah, If I could choose,

I would to ashes it reduce,

And let the merry breezes blow

My dust to where some flowers grow.

Perhaps some fading flower then

Would come to life and bloom again.

This is my last and final will,

Good luck to all of you, Joe Hill.

His cremated remains were sent to the IWW headquarters in Chicago He had requested that friends spread his ashes in every state except Utah. He “didn’t want to be caught dead there.”

From Wikipedia:

  • Hill was memorialized in a tribute poem written about him c. 1930 by Alfred Hayes titled “I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night”, sometimes referred to simply as “Joe Hill”. Hayes’s lyrics were turned into a song in 1936 by Earl Robinson, who wrote in 1986, “‘Joe Hill’ was written in Camp Unity in the summer of 1936 in New York State, for a campfire program celebrating him and his songs…”Hayes gave a copy of his poem to fellow camp staffer Robinson, who wrote the tune in 40 minutes.
  • Paul Robeson and Pete Seeger often performed this song and are associated with it, along with Irish folk group The Dubliners, Joan Baez’s Woodstock performance of “Joe Hill” in 1969 (documented on the 1970 documentary and corresponding soundtrack album) is one of the best known recordings. She also recorded the song numerous times, including a live version on her 2005 album Bowery Songs. 

(next Labor History, see January 6, 1916; NM see  News Music)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

The Cold War

The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show

November 19, 1959: The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show began. It comically reflected the cultural Cold War between the USSR and the USA. (see Dec 1)

Richard Helms

November 19, 1963: Kennedy had settled the Cuban crisis, in part, by pledging that the US would not invade Cuba; however that pledge was conditioned on the presumption that Castro would stop trying to encourage other revolutions like his own throughout Latin America. But Castro was furious that Khrushchev had not consulted him before making his bargain with Kennedy to end the crisis — and furious as well that U.S. covert action against him had not ceased. In September 1963, Castro appeared at a Brazilian Embassy reception in Havana and warned, “American leaders should know that if they are aiding terrorist plans to eliminate Cuban leaders, then they themselves will not be safe.” Late on Tuesday, November. 19, 1963 — the evening before President Kennedy’s final full day at the White House — the C.I.A.’s covert action chief, Richard Helms, brought J.F.K. what he termed “hard evidence” that Castro was still trying to foment revolution throughout Latin America.

Helms (who later served as C.I.A. director from 1966 to 1973) and an aide, Hershel Peake, told Kennedy about their agency’s discovery: a three-ton arms cache left by Cuban terrorists on a beach in Venezuela, along with blueprints for a plan to seize control of that country by stopping Venezuelan elections scheduled for 12 days hence.

Standing in the Cabinet Room near windows overlooking the darkened Rose Garden, Helms brandished what he called a “vicious-looking” rifle and told the president how its identifying Cuban seal had been sanded off. (see Cuban Missile Crisis)

Summit conference

November 19, 1985: for the first time in eight years, the leaders of the Soviet Union and the United States held a summit conference. Meeting in Geneva, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev produced no agreements, however, the meeting boded well for the future, as the two men engaged in long, personal talks and seemed to develop a sincere and close relationship. (see February 28, 1987)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism


U of Alabama

November 19, 1963: police investigated a dynamite-bomb explosion in a street four blocks from the University of Alabama dormitory where Vivian Malone lived. (see Dec 22)


November 19, 2015: Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama ordered Chicago to release the police dashcam video by Nov. 24. (B & S, see Nov 23; McDonald, see Dec 1)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

November 19 Music et al


November 19, 1966: on a return trip from Nairobi, Kenya, Paul McCartney got the idea for the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart Band album. From Many Years From Now by Barry Miles, Paul is quoted: We were fed up with being the Beatles. We really hated that fucking four little mop-top boys approach. We were not boys, we were men. It was all gone, all that boy shit, all that screaming, we didn’t want any more, plus, we’d now got turned on to pot and thought of ourselves as artists rather than just performers. There was now more to it; not only had John and I been writing, George had been writing, we’d been in films, John had written books, so it was natural that we should become artists.

Then suddenly on the plane I got this idea. I thought, Let’s not be ourselves. Let’s develop alter egos so we’re not having to project an image which we know. It would be much more free. What would really be interesting would be to actually take on the personas of this different band. We could say, ‘How would somebody else sing this? He might approach it a bit more sarcastically, perhaps.’ So I had this idea of giving the Beatles alter egos simply to get a different approach; then when John came up to the microphone or I did, it wouldn’t be John or Paul singing, it would be the members of this band. It would be a freeing element. I thought we can run this philosophy through the whole album: with this alter-ego band, it won’t be us making all that sound, it won’t be the Beatles, it’ll be this other band, so we’ll be able to lose our identities in this. (see Nov 24)

You Keep Me Hanging On

November 19 – December 2, 1966: “You Keep Me Hanging On” by the Supremes #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Free as a Bird”

November 19, 1995: “Free as a Bird,” the first new Beatles single in 25 years, premiered on the televised Beatles Anthology. The song, a 1977 demo by John Lennon completed in 1995 by the three surviving Beatles, reached #6 on the singles chart in early 1996. (see Dec 5)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism


November 19 – 23, 1967: Hill 875. the Battle of Đắk Tô was a series of engagements in Kon Tum Province, in the Central Highlands. The hallmark of the battles centered around Hill 875, which the American forces began to attack on November 19.

The PAVN (People’s Army of Vietnam also known as the Vietnamese People’s Army (VPA)) was well-concealed and waited until the majority of the troops were near the top of the hill before opeing fire. The PAVN was also concealed behind the American troops.

In one of the worst friendly fire incidents of the Vietnam War a Marine Corps fighter-bomber dropped two 500-pound bombs into the American’s perimeter. One of the bombs exploded, a tree burst above the center of the position, where the combined command groups, the wounded, and the medics were all located. It killed 42 men outright and wounded 45 more,

The battle continued with air and artillery support for four more days and the Marines took Hill 875 on November 23—Thanksgiving Day.

107 Americans died, 282 wounded, and ten missing.

U.S. munitions expenditures: 151,000 artillery rounds, 2,096 tactical air sorties, 257 B-52 strikes. 2,101 Army helicopter sorties were flown, and 40 helicopters were lost

The night before (November 22) the PAVN had gone down the other side of Hill 875 and into Cambodia and Laos.

First Lieutenenant Matthew Harrison later recalled, “To take tops of mountains in a triple-canopy jungle along the Cambodian-Laotian border accomplished nothing of any importance. The batttle for Hill 875 was a microcosm of what we were doing and what went wrong in Vietnam. There was no reason to take that hill. And I doubt that there’s been an American on Hill 875 since November 23. We accomplished nothing.” (see Nov 20)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

Cultural Milestone

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

November 19, 1975 : Warner Brothers’ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest  opened. Directed by Milos Forman and based on Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel. Jack Nicholson starred. Actor Michael Dougles was a co-producer. The film went on to become the first film in four decades to win in all five of the major Academy Award categories: Best Actor (Nicholson), Best Actress (Louise Fletcher, who played Nurse Ratched), Best Director, Best Screenplay (Adapted) and Best Picture. (see May 31, 1996)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

Symbionese Liberation Army

November 19, 1976:  Patty Hearst released on bail pending the appeal of her conviction. (see Hearst for expanded story)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

Iran-Contra Affair

November 19, 1986,: at a press conference, President Ronald Reagan misstated facts in the Iran-Contra affair, which had just been exposed two weeks earlier on November 3, 1986. It was plainly evident that Reagan did not know or understand the details of the complicated affair, and certainly not the legal implications, which involved a number of violations of law. President Reagan and his CIA Director William Casey were fierce anti-communists, determined to fight what they saw as communist threats anywhere in the world. They were both committed to this effort, even if it meant violating the law and established policies, as the Iran-Contra affair revealed. (see Nov 21)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism


Homophobic Judge Jack Hampton

November 19, 1988,: in Dallas, Texas, Judge Jack Hampton sentenced Richard Lee Bednarski to thirty years imprisonment for murdering Tommy Lee Trimble and John Lloyd Griffin, two gay men.

On the night of the crime, Bednarski and several friends drove to a local gay neighborhood to “gay-bash” or harass gays. Trimble and Griffin approached the group and offered Bednarski a ride, which he accepted. In the car, Bednarski ordered Trimble and Griffin to disrobe. When they refused, Bednarski shoved a pistol into Trimble’s mouth and fired. As Griffin tried to escape, Bednarski shot him. Trimble died immediately and Griffin died five days later.

After the sentencing hearing, in which Judge Hampton rejected the prosecution’s recommendation that Bednarski be sentenced to life imprisonment, a reporter published an interview in which Judge Hampton said he was lenient because, “I put prostitutes and gays at about the same level . . . I’d be hard put to give somebody life for killing a prostitute.” Judge Hampton went on to blame Trimble and Griffin for their own deaths, reasoning that they would not have died “if they hadn’t been cruising the streets picking up teenage boys.” Judge Hampton continued, “I don’t care much for queers running around on weekend picking up teenage boys. I’ve got a teenage boy.”

Following publication of the interview, the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct investigated and concluded that Judge Hampton was an impartial judge. After many complaints, the commission agreed to censure Hampton but refused to require his removal. Judge Hampton was re-elected by the residents of Dallas in 1990 and 1994, and retired in 1996.

Bednarski was released from prison in 2007. (see February 4, 1989)

Montana’s gay marriage ban

November 19, 2014: U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris judge struck down Montana’s gay marriage ban, one day after an appeals court rejected a request by South Carolina to postpone same-sex nuptials as more states allow gays and lesbians to wed.

“The court hereby declares that Montana’s laws that ban same-sex marriage … violate plaintiffs’ rights to equal protection of the laws as guaranteed by the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” wrote Morris, who ordered the state to proceed with same-sex marriage and to recognize those gay weddings performed out-of-state. [Reuters article] (see Nov 20)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism


November 19, 1998: in a marathon session, Independent Counsel Ken Starr outlined his case against President Clinton before the House Judiciary Committee, saying Clinton repeatedly “chose deception.” Democrats grill Starr about his investigative methods. (see Clinton for expanded chronology)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

Technological Milestone

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

November 19, 2007: Inc. introduced the Kindle, an electronic book-reading device. [2016 Popular Science article] (see June 12, 2009)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

Religion and Public Education

November 19, 2013:  in a 4-3 decision issued, the Supreme Court of Ohio upheld the termination of John Freshwater.

The case began in 2008, when a local family accused Freshwater, a Mount Vernon, Ohio, middle school science teacher, of engaging in inappropriate religious activity and sued Freshwater and the district. Based on the results of an independent investigation, the Mount Vernon City School Board voted to begin proceedings to terminate his employment. After thorough administrative hearings that proceeded over two years and involved more than eighty witnesses, the presiding referee issued his recommendation that the board terminate Freshwater’s employment with the district, and the board voted to do so in January 2011.

In its decision, the court wrote:  After detailed review of the voluminous record in this case, we hold that the court of appeals did not err in affirming the termination. The trial court properly found that the record supports, by clear and convincing evidence, Freshwater’s termination for insubordination in failing to comply with orders to remove religious materials from his classroom. Accordingly, based on our resolution of this threshold issue, we need not reach the constitutional issue of whether Freshwater impermissibly imposed his religious beliefs in his classroom. We affirm the judgment of the court of appeals because there was ample evidence of insubordination to justify the termination decision.(see March 3, 2014)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

Terry Jones

November 19, 2013: lawyers for Terry Jones entered a written plea of not guilty on Jones’ behalf. Assistant State Attorney Brad Copley said he’s continuing to work with Jones’ lawyers on a plea agreement, but they haven’t reached total accord in that effort. (see April 8, 2014)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

Immigration History

November 19, 2018: Judge Jon S. Tigar of the United States District Court in San Francisco ordered the Trump administration to resume accepting asylum claims from migrants no matter where or how they entered the United States, dealing at least a temporary setback to the president’s attempt to clamp down on a huge wave of Central Americans crossing the border.

Tigar issued a temporary restraining order that blocked the government from carrying out the recently proclaimed rule that denied protections to people who entered the country illegally. The order, which suspended the rule until the case was decided by the court, applies nationally.

“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar wrote in his order. [NYT report] (see Nov 25)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism

Trump Impeachment Inquiry/Public

Jennifer Williams and Lt Col Alexander S Vindman testify

November 19, 2019: Jennifer Williams, a national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence, testified that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine told Vice President Pence in September that continuing to withhold military aid would indicate that United States support for Ukraine was wavering, giving Russia a boost in the ongoing conflict between the two countries.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, a decorated Iraq war veteran and the top Ukraine official at the National Security Council, testified that he was so disturbed by the call that he reported it to the council’s top lawyer.

What I heard was inappropriate, and I reported my concerns to Mr. Eisenberg,” Colonel Vindman said, referring to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer at the National Security Council. “It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent.” [NYT article] (see Trump Public for expanded chronology)

November 19 Peace Love Art Activism