[Dixielandjazz] Phil Woods "Influences - Local Teachers - unsung heroes"

Stephen Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 31 20:50:41 PST 2004

Bless you Phil Woods, Bless all of those who teach the music. Maybe not
OKOM, but it sure as hell relates to good music everywhere and is a neat
read unless you are a Philistine. Ah, the power of the internet. The
below is from another list.

Steve Barbone

In a message dated 3/31/2004 5:39:52 PM Eastern Standard Time,
JazzKim at aol.com writes:
I assume that many of you will have seen this by now.
This letter is to Marv Stamm from Phil Woods.

Sent: 3/30/2004 5:58:10 AM

Subject: My teacher

Dear Marv old buddy;

I love your E-letter! You may be interested in this. Downbeat is running
a piece on influences on saxophone players (it may have other
instrumentalists-I am not sure). When they called me for interview a few
weeks ago I told them that my first teacher, Mr. Harvey Larose, was of
profound influence on everything I have accomplished. Under separate
cover I am sending you an essay I wrote for Sax Journal about this
outstanding teacher and friend.

Ted Panken called yesterday and told me that the editor would not run my
interview because nobody ever heard of Mr. Larose. They want me to do
another one using a famous sax man, like Rudy Wiedoff or Ozzie Nelson. I
told them to stick their tacky mag where the sun don't shine. How dare
they!! The unsung heroes of our music are the local teachers who help us
discover ourselves through their toil. I would like the IAJE to know
about this cavalier approach to jazz education and let Deadbeat know how
they feel. Could you pass this on to the members at large and tell them
of this woeful neglect by a magazine that profits from the work of
teachers like Mr. Harvey Larose? He turned me on to Benny Carter, Johnny
Hodges and Charlie Parker, plus taught me the American songbook and gave
me advanced improvisation lessons when I was 13 years old! I am really
upset about this! Please help spread the news to other jazz educators
of  this travesty. Thank you.

Phil Woods
> =====================================

Mr. Woods -

I'd appreciate it if you would send a second email to the people to whom
you sent your letter stating that I had nothing to do with DB's initial
decision. As my name was the only one mentioned, they might get the
wrong idea.

As you and I both know, I was only functioning as the messenger; your
beef was with DB and not me. Whether you know it or not, or even care,
it's no easy thing to function as a freelance jazz journalist, and I
value my reputation for integrity. If you have doubts about it, ask
people like Brian Lynch, Bill Charlap and Jon Gordon.

As I mentioned to you at the end of our conversation yesterday, I had
hoped I might persuade you to speak about Benny Carter, who was the
first saxophonist you transcribed, and with whom you performed over many
decades, including the landmark album FURTHER DEFINITIONS and the
two-alto date for Music Masters much later on the timeline. I don't see
how that could desire could be construed as unreasonable. Mr. Carter was
certainly a far cry from Rudy Wiedoft, and you were the most likely of
the 26 people I've spoken with for this issue to mention him. If he is
absent from this issue (by the why, it's not just saxophonists; there
will be 70 testimonies by musicians from all ends of the spectrum), it
will be a major gap.

That being said, more power to you for sticking to your guns. I admire
your loyalty to Mr. Larose, and argued with DB to use your testimony,
which was quite eloquent.

Best regards,

Ted Panken

Hi, Kim--

Here is what Chris Albertson posted at Jazz Corner. FYI, Chris posted
the original letter from Phil first, then this a few hours later. I
think we're seeing how quickly the power of the internet can influence
things today!


I posted the above on Organissimo and one of that board's members
e-mailed it to the Editor-in-Chief of Down Beat. He received the
following reply:

Thanks for forwarding the note. I wish I could get pissed off at this,
but Mr. Woods is spot on. In fact, the letter made me chuckle. If he
weren't so good with the saxophone, he would have been one hell of a

In short, we surrender!

That said, I winced at his description of DB. It pains me to think
someone like Phil Woods would ever call us, "a tacky little mag." We put
out a great magazine. We love the jazz education community. We work
hard to promote that community.

He's right, of course, Harvey Larose, and every teacher who ever helped
a kid get excited about this music, should have their own Mount
Rushmore. We were just thinking in a different direction for this issue.

But Mr. Woods knocked us upside the head, and we've regained our senses.
Absolutely, his comments on Larose will be a welcome, and fitting,
addition to our July 70th anniversary issue. (Sorry, a shameless plug.)

Best regards,

Frank Alkyer
Editor, Downbeat

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