Saxophonist Randall to lead Pierce Street Jazz

Saxophonist Carl Randall
Saxophonist Carl Randall

November 15, 2010
By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( Saxophonist Carl Randall, like most musicians, got his start in the field at an early age—in seventh grade, to be exact. But unlike many young musicians, Randall focused his efforts and ultimately made it to the top, playing alongside famous musical acts and helping preserve the musical genre closest to his heart--jazz.

Randall will bring his well-honed talents to the next Pierce Street Jazz concert at La Sierra University, leading the Carl Randall Quartet. The concert will be held Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in the La Sierra University Alumni Center, 11500 Pierce St., Riverside. Admission is free. For additional information please call 951-785-2148.

Randall’s group of top-tier musical talents includes Mahesh Balasooriya on piano, Don Littleton on drums and Henry “the Skipper” Franklin on bass.

Randall, a native of Los Angeles, began playing alto and tenor saxophone in the seventh grade. In high school he performed in concert, jazz and marching bands and appeared in the 1965 Tournament of Roses parade. He studied music at Los Angeles City College and furthered his musical interests in the U.S. Navy’s music school. His career took off in 1971 through his association with the Gerald Wilson Orchestra. He ultimately worked with such greats as Johnny “Hammond” Smith, Willie Bobo, Richard Reid, Tony Dumas, Bobby Rodriguez, Ralph Penland and many others. He has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival with Gerald Wilson, toured with Bill Withers, performed with Barbara Morrison, Al Williams, Oscar Brashear, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and other top names. More recently he has been affiliated with the Pasadena Jazz Institute.

Pianist Balasooriya, a 20-something talent, has racked up an impressive list of competition wins and performances at a young age. A classical and jazz pianist schooled at the University of Southern California, Balasooriya has appeared on the Disney Channel performing with the Hamilton Symphony, won first place and top awards in the Monterey Jazz Festival, Fullerton Jazz Festival, the Charles Dolo Coker competition, the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts talent search, the John Coltrane competition, the 2002 Music Center Spotlight awards and other key events.

He has performed and worked with numerous well-known artists including Christian Mc Bride, Roy Hargrove, Eric Reed and Patti Austin, and has opened for such famous names as Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Oscar De La Hoya, Phil Ramone, President Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Recording projects include those for Paramount studios, Universal and Sony studios.

Littleton, an accomplished drummer, brings years of experience to the stage as player of multiple percussion instruments. His talents run the gamut of percussion sound--trap drums, conga drums, bongo drums and hand-held instruments. His musical story plays out through junior high and high school and is rooted in his experiences at Southern University in Baton Rouge, La. where he was a member of the Multi-Jazz Orchestra. There he studied under Alvin Batiste and became a member of the Luckman Jazz Orchestra directed by James Newton. He became a veteran of the jazz club circuit and recorded on numerous album projects. He performed in many high-profile venues including television’s “BET on Jazz,” at the Long Beach Jazz Festival, Jazz at Drew Jazz Festival with Stanley Turrentine, the Monterey Blues Festival and in jazz concerts in Armenia, Mexico and Korea. His movie and stage credits include appearances in movies “Dangerous Women” and “The Little Richard Story” and in the theatrical production “Purlie” at the Pasadena Playhouse starring Loretta Devine. Littleton collaborated and performed with Roberta Flack, Hank Crawford, Cannonball Adderley, Pharoah Sanders and many other esteemed jazz and blues musicians.

Franklin honed his bass-playing skills with the greats of the business. To name a few, he has played with Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder, Count Basie, Freddie Hubbard and Milt Jackson and was part of the legendary Hugh Musekela’s band during the late 1960s. A native of Los Angeles, his storied background includes recordings on gold albums and performances on more than 100 records, many of which he produced. He creates albums under his label, SP Records.


PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University
Riverside, California
951.785.2460 (voice)


  • Last update on  November 15, 2010