[JPL] SAX Heritage/Walter Becker blindfold

Jae Sinnett jaejazz at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 9 17:36:23 EDT 2006


Fewer dealt with the soprano as I think Ricky alluded to.....because of being technically challenging....mainly in the intonation department. All reed instruments are difficult to play in tune but you would have to put the soprano saxophone up near the top in that category. This is why I admire  saxophonists like Steve Wilson and Branford Marsalis so much on that instrument....because they play in tune. 
   
  Back to Becker.....He may have a sense of humor but I seriously don't think he was joking about the soprano or the drum solos in that blindfold test. I've heard Wayne playing tenor on their music but I don't recall ever hearing soprano. Has anyone else? I also remember reading a while ago - somewhere.....and I think it was Harvey Mason.....saying that he would never work with them again because they are a pain in the ass in the studio. Actually I've heard several musicians talk about this. The thing that makes "Aja" (song) so unique to "Dan's" music is that 95 percent of the drumming in their music is throught out and written as parts of the composition - consequently leaving little or no room to explore - even writing out the drum "fills" - but "Aja" was the exception - for the most part. It was Steve Gadd's drumming and their "writing" that brought attention to this band from within the jazz community. 
   
  When someone relates them to jazz....as I do and have done in the past......they should be careful in how that association is connected.  While their music has always be influenced by jazz harmonic structures.....composed sections to be specific......the improvisation levels were always limited to one soloist with very little inter-active qualities - as that of jazz - from the "group" perspective. Granted this is a pop/rock organization we're talking about here and in that regard they are amazing and certainly innovative as was Maurice White of EWF - Stevie Wonder and Billy Joel - but I think the talk was bigger then their demonstrative bite.
   
  Jae Sinnett 

jazzrockworld <rick at jazzrockworld.com> wrote:
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Yep, there it is...

In the words of a famous Soprano player Dave Liebman "Lighten up, Please"

Becker and Fagen (besides being quality musicians) are also good comedians
and should be laughed with, not at. I loved Roland Kirk and Benny Maupin
playing the Stritch, but it's certainly not on my List of Favorite
Instruments. Does that invalidate the Stritch? I don't think Becker
invalidated the Soprano either. 


Thank you Ricky!!!

Rick Calic
www.jazzrockworld.com 





-----Original Message-----
From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com
[mailto:jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com] On Behalf Of OntheBeach at aol.com
Sent: Wednesday, August 09, 2006 12:21 PM
To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
Subject: Re: [JPL] SAX Heritage/Walter Becker blindfold

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folks:
eric jackson makes an excellent point. both soprano sax [and clarinet] had
mighty influences on the development of saxophone playing and major
saxophonists.

there exists for just one example, an unmistakable linkage between the 
soprano of sidnet bechet to the clarinet of alvin batiste with the (tenor
and) soprano of john coltrane.

it should not be overlooked that mr. becker (along with mssr. fagen) has
demonstrated a preference for tenor players [and always employed outstanding
ones on their recordings]; is a master of irony, sarcasm and self
effacement. 
this is one very smart (and frequently smart-assed) musician/artist. he
did after all title his first solo LP "12 Tracks of Whack"

never forget that becker and fagen can frequently be found with tobgue
squarely planted in cheek. ..

without question this extends to drummers: Steely Dan always used the best
of the best

i found walter's blindfold very entertaining. let us not forget Steely Dan
probably did more to create recognition for jazz and jazz musicians than
any "pop" group ever. Becker & Fagan's respect for jazz is obvious. 

okay--my bias should be revealed here: Weather Report and Steely Dan were
my two favorite groups during my radio days in the 70s...and remain all
these years later right up there with the all-time greats.

...don't take me alive...i still haven't lost that number

ricky schultz 


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Anton Schwartz (tenor sax)
Peter Bernstein (guitar)
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Tim Bulkley (drums)

''Sharp arrangements and crisp straight ahead playing that seems to hit
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''Vibrant jazz... dreamy interplay... relaxed and warm... a welcome addition.''
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''This is the kind of young jazz the majors keep saying they are looking for
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-- Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap

Radio Contact: GROOV Marketing
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