AllenLowe

ok; is this a history changer? In need of more research

29 posts in this topic

Perhaps not, but here's a quote from Lester (not sure this is the one I was looking for) from an interview he did with Francois Postif, a portion of which is reproduced in Frank Buchmann-Moller's "You Just Fight For Your Life" on page 218.

>>>

"I developed my saxophone to play a sound like an alto, make a sound like a tenor, make a sound like a bass and everything, and I'm not through with it all yet. That's why they get all trapped up. They say: "Goddam, I never heard Prez play like this!" That's the way I want them. That's modern, dig? Fuck what you played back in '49. It's what you play today, you dig? So that's why they get lost and walked out. Do you play the same thing every day?

>>>

As far as Whitby's sound being attributable to a clarinet embouchure, note that there's no mention of Whitby having played clarinet. The only references I've seen so far mention him playing tenor and alto.

quote name='JSngry' timestamp='1316096721' post='1137667']

One thing, please - Pres never sounded "like an alto". His "light" tone was actually the result of a darkening of his sounds' upper partials, as well as sending a "wider" air-column (best way I can describe it) through the horn (but still supporting it fully, that tone of Pres' ain't gonna get swallowed up by anything).. If anything, his tone was less like an alto, although if the only real point of reference was Hawk (or the beloved Bud Freeman), then they wouldn't yet have the baseline to figure that out. But even in his early days, Pres's tone was always "darker" than Hawk & Co., because of the de-emphasis of the upper partials of his sound, which is a fundamentally different thing than upper register of the horn. Hell, you could say that it was Hawkins & Co. who were more "alto-like" in that regard!

Whitby, it sounds like to me, has as bright a tone as the norm of the time, but not as "full". This is probably the result of using a setup that still emphasizes the upper partials in the tone, but using a less dense airstream. As I've said before, it sounds to me as if his embouchure and concept of airstream is rooted in clarinet playing, but maybe not.

Tone is one of those things that stir a wide variety of emotional responses (just as many people think of Coltrane's tone as "dark as they do of it as "bright"), but the physics of how any given tone is achieved are pretty much objective.

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I guess, but the only real "Lester-ism" I hear is in the first part of the second A-Section. Otherwise it sounds pretty much like a clarinet player playing a tenor solo.

From 1:42 - 1:45 of that video, right?

To me, Gene Sedric also was capable of that linear, rather than vertical type of playing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU2MXdh2C_k

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"It's clear that they were at least aware of each other. What's less clear is the extent to which they overlapped at all in the Bronson or Oliver bands; they may have been more like ships passing in the night, so it's somewhat speculative to ascribe any influence of one on the other as tempting as that might be."

they would not have to overlap in order for there to be an influence - musicians heard each other all the time, in varying contexts - that was my point. My speculation, however, is based more on the sound of Whitby's performance than anything else. It's different, in some of the same ways in which Lester is different. .

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Well, I'm a little late to weigh in here, and Mr. Whitby has been pretty thoroughly discussed by now. I agree that his playing is striking, but not phenomenal. He's kind of repetitious, for one thing; he plays a repeated minor three-major three-five triplet lick far too often, for example. I suspect that Whitby's playing is his variant of a style that was in the air in the midwest and southwest at that time.

I also checked out the Laurie Wright Oliver book, and as Jazztrain indicates, he was in and out of Oliver's band between 1931 and 1934. In 1931 and 32, he and Lester Young replaced each other several times. John Chilton's Who's Who of Jazz indicates that he later played with the great Nat Towles band out of Omaha, and briefly with Horace Henderson.

A "history changer" - probably not. But another example of the interesting, little-known individual talents that enliven the history of jazz

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