[Dixielandjazz] Who Influenced Lester Young?

Marek Boym marekboym at gmail.com
Mon May 10 03:15:10 PDT 2010

Even people with most original voices were/have been influenced by
somebody when they started.
Bud Freeman was certainly influenced by jazz hea heard in Chicago,
apparently mainly by Creole clarinet players (at the time, there were
hardly any jazz saxophonists of note, and his style was a far cry of
that of the dean of jazz saxophonists, Coleman Hawkins).
I was not trying to detract from Young's originality - his saxophone
style is so disticntive as to be almost always recognized at any
"blindfold tests" during our jazz evenings (although Vice Prez has
been mistaken for Prez himself).

On 10 May 2010 02:49, Stephen G Barbone <barbonestreet at earthlink.net> wrote:
> On May 9, 2010, at 5:19 PM, Marek Boym wrote:
>> Hi,
>> This is a well known story.
>> Nevertheless, I am always happy to re-read a black jazz giant praising
>> my all-time favourite tenor player.
>> But close listening seems to indicate another source as well: the
>> Creole clarinet players.  This is more conspicuous in Young's clarinet
>> playing, but is reflected in his tenor sax playing as well.
>> Cheers
>> On 9 May 2010 17:08, Stephen G Barbone <barbonestreet at earthlink.net>
>> wrote:
>>> From an interview with Nat Hentoff of Downbeat 3/7/56. Pres talks about
>>> his
>>> influencers and then gives some advice to aspiring players.
>>> "I've been playing music ever since I was 10. I started on the drums, but
>>> it
>>> was too much trouble to carry the traps. So I switched to alto. Frankie
>>> Trumbauer and Jimmy Dorsey were battling for honors in those days, and I
>>> finally found out that I liked Trumbauer. Trumbauer was my idol. When I
>>> had
>>> just started to play, I used to buy all his records. I imagine I can
>>> still
>>> play all those solos off the record. He played the C melody saxophone. I
>>> tried to get the sound of a C melody on a tenor. That's why I don't sound
>>> like other people. Trumbauer always told a little story. And I liked the
>>> way
>>> he slurred the notes. He'd play the melody first and then after that,
>>> he'd
>>> play around the melody. I did like Bud Freeman very much. Nobody played
>>> like
>>> him. That's what knocked me out. I remember when he was with Benny
>>> Goodman."
>>> . . . . .
>>> Advice To Young Musicians: "A musician should know the lyrics of the
>>> songs
>>> he plays, too. That completes it. Then you can go for yourself and you
>>> know
>>> what you're doing. A lot of musicians that play nowadays don't know the
>>> lyrics of the songs. That way they're just playing the changes. That's
>>> why I
>>> like records by singers when I'm listening at home. I pick up the words
>>> right from there."
>>> Conclusions: "I think they'll all be finally coming back to swinging and
>>> to
>>> dancing to music again. A lot of the things now are just novelties. For
>>> me,
>>> the music has to swing first."
> Yes, it is an old story, the actual interview was over 50 years ago. I
> figured folks might want to hear it originating from Pres's mouth rather
> than reading what someone else tells them. <grin>
> Not sure I agree that Pres's Clarinet or Saxophone is influenced much by the
> early Creole reedmen. Seems to my ears he had his own voice, on both Tenor
> and Clarinet. He was to me, much more of an original player, who after his
> early influences (Trumbauer) went his own way. To hear him in 1938 on
> clarinet go to:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPc1gjkJD4Y
> or later in 1958 about a year before his passing. He's a bit rusty here.
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qQMu1JPUWY&feature=player_embedded
> His clarinet has the same breathiness as his Tenor. IMO, his way of
> communicating.
> One of my favorite Pres records is below. These Foolish Things, where my
> early mentor, Hank D'Amico can be heard on clarinet. D'Amico live a couple
> of blocks from me in NYC and really sparked my interest in jazz. (I also
> dated one of his daughters).
> Billy Butterfield is also on this cut + Johnny Guarnieri, Cozy Cole et al..
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w5PekfV4dY
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone
> www.myspace.com/barbonestreetjazzband

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