[Dixielandjazz] Re: Hampton & Illinois Jacquet

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet@earthlink.net
Mon, 09 Sep 2002 22:30:42 -0400

drjz (Fred Spencer) wrote:

> The New York Times, Lionel Hampton  "New-Orleans-Style Send-Off" column
> by Alan Feuer is a poor attempt at jazz journalism. To compare Cyrus
> Chestnut (b. 1963) to Clark Terry (b. 1920) and Hank Jones (b. 1918) as
> an "old-time great" is nonsense. And to tell how Hamp serenaded the
> elder Bush's CIA is a waste of  the little space allotted to jazz in
> today' press.
> Feuer did at least mention Illinois Jacquet, but he was a lot more than
> a "saxophonist who used to play in Mr. Hampton's band". He was THE tenor
> sax player who, aged 19, played the 1942 solo in "Flying Home" that
> changed the whole tenor style that followed in the Jazz At The
> Philarmonic concerts, and elsewhere. Illinois's solo happens to be one
> of the few scored for a full big band section. Bunny Berigan's solo in
> Tommy Dorsey's "Marie" is another, and there are probably more.
> I know Illinois Jacquet well as his daughter, Pamela, graduated from the
> medical school where I taught. He says that when Hamp called for his
> solo, Marshall Royal, playing lead alto, said "Go for it" to the
> youngster, and Illinois did just that. Illinois, whose name is properly
> pronounced  Zha-KAY" ("New Grove" is correct) still leads his big band
> with zest, more in a swing and ballad mode than the honks he made
> famous.

Agreed. The article has some flaws, especially the one about Chestnut. Bush
and the CIA? I liked that. It does illustrate the very broad appeal that
Hampton had and draws in a famous man as a casual fan, which relates to the
non jazz fan reader.  And any press is better than no press as far as I see
it. Especially where it may reach the non-fan and cause him/her to
investigate "jazz", even if only a little bit.

Probably few on the DJML know much about Jacquet. His solo on Flying Home
was famous, and caused Norman Grantz to feature him with Jazz At The
Philharmonic. The 1944 JATP record was one of the early "live in concert"
jazz recordings and probably the first one which sold in large quantities.
Every jazz musician I knew in New York in the 50s and 60s, OKOM or
otherwise, had the set of JATP records.

Jacquet's Tenor solos on the JATP tours were full of honking and squealing
as Fred mentions. They were the precursor to the Rock and Roll Saxophone
style. Indeed, some R & R publications credit Jacquet and JATP as the first
Rock & Roll record. The honks he perfected are still used by Rock &
Rollers. Avant garde players have taken them a step further into overtones,
however they seem to these ears less appealing then were Jacquet's.

Jacquet now leads his own band, is a complete musician, has left the honks
and squeals behind, and plays a swinging style much like that of Hampton's
big band. If you ask him, he'll say that he didn't much like the honking
anyway, but the public sure did and he was very popular with regular folks
and casual jazz fans. So he kept doing it. (Ah fame, it makes a prisoner of
you) The jazz elite were not impressed, preferred Pres and Bean and later
players such as Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon and on altos, Bird, Desmond and
the other "cooler" players. (Jacquet started on Alto)

Jacquet? A Texas Tenor Titan in every sense of the word.

Steve Barbone