[JPL] Walter Becker blindfold

Eric Jackson eric-jackson at comcast.net
Wed Aug 9 14:44:57 EDT 2006

On Wednesday 09 August 2006 13:53, EdBride at aol.com wrote:

> jaejazz at yahoo.com writes:
> <<..I would also expect someone like him to dis the soprano but true  jazz
> folk? I guess Trane, Garrett, Marsalis, Liebman, Shorter, Wilson, Potter,
> Cannon, Roscoe Mitchell, Joshua Redman, etc.....were all just wasting their
>  time and playing noise on this crappy stick figure of metal. I think 
> not..>>
> Few of these players used the soprano primarily, it came into their
> repertoire only when the musical composition was appropriate. Even Kenton
> used a soprano once or twice, on some great Gene Roland numbers. It can
> fit, but aside from Dave Liebman, the names you cite are reedmen who
> primarily use "real" saxophones.
> Ed

The soprano has an older history in jazz than any other saxophone. Remember 
Bechet was playing Soprano in 1919. The tenor nor alto were rarely heard in 
jazz bands that early. Even Johnny Hodges played soprano early because of his 
love of Bechet. Hodges is said to have been playing soprano in Boston by 
1920. Don't forget Bechet's influence on Duke Ellington.

I'm not sure what the point is that you are trying to make. I don't think that 
because someone plays the tenor more than they play the soprano that their 
soprano playing has less validity, if that's the point you are making. Okay, 
it wasn't their primary instrument. Why is that important?

I also don't think it's my job as a radio announcer to tell musicians what is 
an acceptable instrument. I am a presenter of the music not a gate keeper who 
tells musicians what instrument they can play. It's my job to listen and 
present the music, not tell musicians what is an acceptable instrument.  We 
could come up with a list of instruments that at one time or another weren't 
considered approriate jazz instruments by some.

Think about the guys from the AACM and their "little instruments." In fact 
many of them weren't what most people would call musical instruments yet they 
made music with them. I always thought that you play what you play to get the 
sound you want. If I can't hear it, that's my loss and if I'm a radio 
announcer and I don't play that music, I make it my listener's loss by 
deciding that this instrument is appropriate for jazz and this one isn't. 

Eric Jackson
8 pm - mid Mon - Thurs
WGBH Boston
89.7 FM

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