This Philadelphia-bred jazz saxophonist never received the fame of contemporaries Grover Washington Jr., David Sanborn, and some others. He's the son of Michael Pedicin Sr., a hot '50s Philly act who had a small hit, "Shake a Hand" (1957), on 20th Century Fox Records. The senior Pedicin did private functions and held a steady gig well into the '80s at Quincy's Lounge in the Adam's Mark Hotel.
The Pedicin household comprised Michael's parents and a sister, Barbara. He started playing at eight and joined a band at 15. An ability to read music and play all three saxes -- alto, tenor, and soprano -- made him a sought-after session musician at Sigma Sound Studios. His session skills led to a debut solo album, Michael Pedicin Jr., on Philadelphia International (1980) that did well in NY and zilch elsewhere. A NY jazz station played the single "You" and piqued CBS Records' interest. But the mega-company took their offer off the table when Pedicin demanded a three-LP deal.
Atlantic City's casinos and lounges enticed the saxophonist and he moved his young family there in 1981. Suzette Charles (later the first runner-up in a Miss America Pageant to Vanessa Williams) sang with Pedicin's group until he discovered she was too young (17) to work the lounges. Gigs were plentiful at first, but Atlantic City wasn't Las Vegas, and many lounges axed their live entertainment, forcing the saxophonist on the road with Dave Brubeck for two years to pay the bills. He resurrected the Michael Pedicin Quartet after the stint and found work in Atlantic City's revitalized lounges. He also started a talent agency, promoted major jazz acts, did a second album -- City Song -- for Optimism Records (1984), and served as the musical director -- at different times -- for three casinos.
He formed Bayshore Music, a management company whose clients included Suzette Charles, Karen Devito, and Melanie Rice. A third solo album, Angles, on Optimism (1988) featured Peter Erskine and pianist Micki Rossi. Pedicin's two Optimism albums' miserly promotional budgets never got them off the mark. A fourth album, You Don't Know What Love Is (1990), featured a scrumptious reading of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Freddie Gorman's "Forever," popularized by the Marvelettes and Marvin Gaye. Pedicin dropped it on his FEA label and it has been reissued by Peter Pan and Triloka Records. The original cover depicts Pedicin's two children -- Lara and Gregory -- in a loving embrace.
His resumé includes road excursions with Lou Rawls and Maynard Ferguson, teaching at Temple University, and starting 12th Street Music with Sigma Sound engineer Joe Tarisa. He commutes to Philly for sessions and remains active in the biz. A fifth album on FEA Because of Love (1996) didn't dance either, but the word quit isn't in Pedicin's vocabulary, he's keeping his saxes in the fire. ~ Andrew Hamilton, Rovi