[Dixielandjazz] Clarinet Licks - Learning to play jazz.

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 6 15:51:47 PST 2004

Bud Taylor asked what I would recommend for a new to Jazz clarinetist.
Here is 2 cents worth, IMO.

Yes, listen to more than just a few clarinetists if you are just getting
started. Then chose the ones you like best and listen to them again.
Then listen very carefully to Bud's Smugtown Stompers and how they
interpret the music. Find a blending voice.

But also, go out and hear/see the CURRENT guys live. Don't get mired in
the past. Go out and see/hear all forms of music as played by all forms
of reed players. Classical too, not just Jazz, Pop or Country/Western.

Then, keep recording what you play and refine your own voice. Keep
listening to yourself, correcting what you do not like and refining what
you do like. Most importantly, play like yourself. Develop YOUR voice,
after all, the best jazz is YOUR communication, of YOUR ideas, not your
repetition of what somebody else said, chapter and verse.

I will never forget the story Jackie McLean told me about walking down
the streets of NYC with Charlie Parker when Bird stopped outside a
Country/Western Club. "Listen to that" said Bird. "Do you hear what he
is doing?" Bird listened to everything and learned something from all
musical sources.

I will also never forget myself listening to short licks of Bird quoting
Alphonse Picou, or Bechet quoting classical passages, or Louis quoting
classical passages.

Their music was a total experience. Listen to it all. Then find YOUR
music and play it with a damn the critics, full speed ahead mentality,
blending it into the sounds of Smugtown.

Steve Barbone

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