[Dixielandjazz] To: MEG GRAF

Bill Biffle bbiffle at swcp.com
Mon Nov 24 15:01:17 PST 2003

Tom Saunders said, "Listen and don't be afraid to try things."  To my mind,
that's the best advice of all!

Bill Biffle

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Saunders" <tcornet at webtv.net>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2003 12:54 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] To: MEG GRAF

> Meg....
> When I answered Bill Biffle's request for
> "cornet education" I mentioned two names. I was passing along a hint
> that Hackett and Davison gave me years ago.
> This seemed to open the door for the
> mention of trumpet players that I've never
> even heard of. It became a contest between listmates to see which one
> could list the most number of trumpet players.
> Well done! When I said, "the topic had been well covered", it was a
> figure of speech.
> What I learned from Wild Bill would be a bit difficult to put into
> words. This was not a classroom situation. This was learning from
> listening to what he was doing. I first heard him on records when I was
> 9 years old. It was the fire with which he played that got my attention.
> I didn't want his notes, only his great feel. Bill was NOT impressed
> with players who tried to copy him note for note. I'll be happy to play
> a tune that he was known for, but I never have and never will play it
> note for note like he did.
> Bill andI played together many many times. He could pick a second part
> out of the air. I was learning to do this when he would play the lead.
> As he got older the lead chores changed from night to night.
> So, I had a chance to play lead and second on most of the tunes. This
> opens up your ears, as there was no music to follow. It also wakes up
> the clarinet and trombone players when you have two cornets playing 1st
> & 2nd.
> Learning to play jazz is trial and error. I was very lucky to have the
> chance to play along side Bill, Hackett, and others and be able to try
> things. Bobby would get so involved in chord structures that one would
> wonder how he was going to save himself. Once he turned to me and said,
> "I wasn't sure I was going to get out of that myself". He always did.
> I don't know if any of this will help you become a better player, as I
> don't know how good you are now. Listen and don't be afraid to try
> things. You'll know what works and what doesn't.
> Have fun,
> Tom Saunders
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