[Dixielandjazz] Shaw & Goodman

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Fri Dec 31 13:57:59 PST 2004

I think perhaps some folks on the DJML quite misunderstand what Shaw was
talking about when he said Goodman played Clarinet and he (Shaw) played
music. No point getting hung up on the semantics of the word "play". No
point in assuming that Shaw's comments were a cheap shot at Goodman's
expense, when they were not. Shaw was merely pointing out how he and Goodman
viewed the clarinet. Perhaps the quote, a short one out of a broader
context, was an error on my part. The entire two chapters on Shaw should be
read for a fuller understanding of the man, his music and his psyche. As
should Shaw's autobiography be read.

Simply stated, some folks view the axe primarily as a communication device.
E.G. Shaw or Pee Wee Russell. Their musical work speaks with all the emotion
of a expert communicator.

Other folks do not view the axe as a communication device, but rather as an
instrument to be conquered or mastered. Their primary goal is to play it
perfectly. E.G. Goodman, or Eddie Daniels. They play beautifully, but do
not, to my ears at least, seem to have that emotion of a great communicator.

When listening to Shaw, and then Goodman the differences are apparent. Same
if one listens to Daniels and then DeFranco. DeFranco communicates with, and
Daniels masters, the instrument.

Pee Wee Russell? A great communicator. Just ask Kenny Davern who is also one
of the great communicators on the axe as well as one who has pretty well
mastered it.

There are listeners who respond to one or the other approach for various
reasons. You pay your money and you take your choice. Or you appreciate both
for what they do.

Further examination of Sudhalter's Book will give the reader more insight on
these approaches to musicianship. Especially Davern's take on Pee Wee
Russell in the chapter on Pee Wee, and more reading of the two chapters on
Artie Shaw. (I cite the book so much only because I think many list mates
have it)

Bottom line? I plead with list mates not to draw large inferences from short
quotes (Shaw) that were obtained by an interviewer (Sudhalter), but rather
to seek out the entire context.

Steve Barbone

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