[Dixielandjazz] Benny Goodman & The double lip embochure

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Thu Oct 1 09:02:50 PDT 2009

Brian Wood wrote:

A clarinet technique shared by both Benny Goodman and Israel Gorman was
known as double lip. It involves covering both the upper and lower  
teeth with
the lips in  the same way as oboe and bassoon players. Historically,  
it has
  been argued that playing double lip was the way the first  
would  have played, since many played with the reed on the top lip,  
not - as
now - with  the reed on the bottom. It seems that double lip style was  
until the  1960s, but  later declined. Historically, many of the finest
clarinettists  used double lip, including British classical players like
Reginald Kell. Benny  Goodman, after a successful early career, was re- 
into using a double  lip embouchure by Kell. Double lip is also known as
French embouchure, being  much more common in France.

Hi Brian and list mates:

I had a long talk with Marty Grosz on a gig recently about Goodman's  
conversion to
the double lip method by Kell. Marty, who played frequently, both  
before and after
with Goodman, was of the opinion that Benny lost his jazz fire when he  
methods. On the other hand, Grosz opined that Goodman did improve his  
technique with Kell's help. Especially increasing his ability to play  
across the "break"
(the switch from low to high register or vice versa). as well getting  
a more classical
tone. Goodman was quite concerned with playing across the break and  
you can hear
it on his earlier records where he solos in both registers, but a  
mostly separately
without crossing the break except for the easier runs.

Goodman took lessons with Kell roughly from 1952 to 1959 and switched
embouchures sometime during that period.

Steve barbone

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