[Dixielandjazz] Turk's harsh sound

Jim Kashishian jim at kashprod.com
Wed Apr 15 01:06:06 PDT 2015

All the recent discussion about Turk Murphy albums prompted me to listen
again to one of my old albums.  While I have great respect for all of the
Murphy bands and Turk's own particular way of playing, listening again makes
me wonder why so many trad jazz trombonists have tried to imitate his sound.
Turk played a marvelous, hard driving horn, with breaks that should be the
envy of any trombonists.  However, I can't begin to understand why anyone
would try to get that same sound from their horn.  It is a complete
misunderstanding as to what the horn is about, and I would go as far as
saying it is an incorrect way to play the horn.  The fact that Turk pulled
it off with such tremendous success is a flag that only he could wave.  
In my opinion, to try to play a trombone like that would be like a trumpeter
letting his cheeks blow all out of shape just because it worked for Dizzy.
Or, how about the sop sax players that have copied Bechet's vibrato?  It is
a wild, unpleasant sound for anyone other than the guy that created it
first!  I play the horn a little bit off to the side of my mouth.  I would
never instruct a student to copy my embrochure.  It works for me, but it is
I have always followed the rule of listening to lots of people, borrowing
what flows along with my own sound & ideas, and trying to stay away from the
improper ways of playing.
I will most likely have stirred up a hornet's nest with my comments, but I
doubt if anyone will travel all the way to Madrid to actually throw tomatoes
at me!

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