In a different, fairer reality, the mention of tenor saxman Jimmy Wright's name would evoke the word "cool" in the mere utterance. He'd be right there in the minds of serious rock & roll enthusiasts with Scotty Moore, Cliff Gallup, Rudy Pompili, and Franny Beecher, as maker of a sound at the heart and foundation of rock & roll. Author/scholar Peter Grendysa has called Wright the equal of Red Prysock, Sam "The Man" Taylor, and Big Jay McNeely, among 1950s saxophone virtuosos. Yet Wright has always remained in the shadows, his name barely known or seen, unless you happen to be a special aficianado of the Gee or Rama labels. Recognized or not, Jimmy Wright was one of the most influential musical figures in the history and development of early rock & roll, as well as a huge chunk of New York City-based R&B of the mid-'50s. As the resident bandleader and, with Bert Keyes, the de facto music director for George Goldner's Rama Records and Gee Records labels from 1953 until the end of the '50s, Wright had more to say about what most of the music on those labels -- among the most successful and influential of their day, especially in New York City -- sounded like than many of the artists themselves. The Jimmy Wright Band, also known as the Jimmy Wright Orchestra, variously included '40s jazz and jump blues veterans Skeeter Best, Jimmy Shirley, and Jerome Darr on guitar, Abie Baker and Al Hall on bass, Freddie Johnson or Jimmy Phipps on piano, and Gene Brooks on drums. Wright helped create a new sound that turned radio, the recording industry, and music on its head. And with Wright's honking saxophone sharing space for the lead, he was nearly as visible a musical presence as anyone on any of Elvis Presley's records from Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana on down, his instrument defining the texture and power of rock & roll on records like "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" and a dozen other Rama and Gee sides.