[Dixielandjazz] Greenspan

Morton Weintraub mortw at ix.netcom.com
Sun Nov 30 10:50:37 PST 2003

Thanks for a very informative and interesting post.
Mort Weintraub 

-----Original Message-----
From: dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com
[mailto:dixielandjazz-bounces at ml.islandnet.com] On Behalf Of Bill Biffle
Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2003 10:44 AM
To: DJML Post
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Greenspan

Found this at Jewishpeople.net.

Outside of school, Greenspan was growing increasingly serious about
music. He was beginning to entertain dreams of playing professionally.
To supplement the instruction he received at George Washington High, he
began taking lessons from Bill Sheiner, one of the leading music
teachers in New York City. 

    Sheiner was a multi-instrumentalist, fluent in the clarinet,
saxophone, flute, and oboe. Lessons were held in a studio behind the
Bronx Musical Mart at 174th Street and Southern Boulevard. Besides
providing music instruction, Sheiner also did session work with a
variety of popular orchestras. 

    Most students who worked with Sheiner were "doublers," meaning that
they were trying to learn two similar instruments. Greenspan's were
clarinet and saxophone. In teaching him, Sheiner employed a couple of
books that are still standard texts: The Universal Complete Saxophone
Method and Klosé Complete Clarinet Method. 

    "Bill did not have the ability to teach creativity. Very few do,"
says Ron Naroff, a music teacher who took lessons from Sheiner during
the 1940s. "But guys who worked with him-provided they had stolid study
habits-were guaranteed to become good players. They'd be able to play
with anyone." 

    In fact, a variety of notable musicians used Sheiner's vigorous
instruction to lay the foundations of their careers, including Lenny
Hambro, Red Press, and Stan Getz. Through Sheiner's lessons, Greenspan
and Getz actually got to know one another and grew friendly. Both had
similar backgrounds-Getz's family was also lower middle class and
Jewish. His family lived on Hoe Avenue in the Bronx, where Getz attended
James Monroe High School; his father was a printer who often had trouble
finding work during the Great Depression. 

    Greenspan and Getz took to hanging around together, trading licks on
the saxophone. They also engaged in fevered discussions about their
idol, Benny Goodman. Greenspan was one year older than Getz, but in
terms of musical talent, Getz was light years ahead. He was first to
take the plunge into the music business, dropping out of school at age
fifteen to join Jack Teagarden's orchestra. Getz eventually became one
of the most important figures in jazz history, revered for a trademark
breathy saxophone style at once lushly romantic and restlessly
experimental. His 1963 single "Girl from Ipanema" was a crossover
sensation and one of the biggest pop hits of all time. 

Despite a love of music and dreams of going pro himself, Greenspan
stayed in school. He graduated from George Washington High in 1943, a
member of the Arista honor society and recipient of a special citation
from the school's music department. His photo in the yearbook shows him
looking suitably serious, hair combed back in a mild pompadour, a
popular look of the time. 

    Beneath his picture is a quote that reads: "Smart as a whip and
talented, too. He'll play the sax and clarinet for you." 

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