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Bebop Spoken There

Brian Harvey: "The exciting day arrived and we [as under age school boys] snuck into the [pub's] rehearsal room, sat awkwardly to attention on hard chairs in a row facing the band and heard our first - very loud - live jazz. What an occasion that was - we even drank beer because we understood that's what jazz people did and that's what the band were drinking." - (Just Jazz June 2020)

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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Buddy De Franco (Feb. 17, 1923 - Dec. 24, 2014)














One of the world's great jazz clarinettists, Buddy De Franco, died on Christmas Eve.
I still get a kick out of hearing those lyrical 8 bars he played on Tommy Dorsey's 1944 recording of Opus One. Then there were the sides he made with Basie's Octet alongside Wardell Gray and Clark Terry. By this time he'd moved away from the swing era into bebop territory, his new direction coming to fruition in the memorable Hot versus Cool sessions where modernists and Dixielanders gave their versions of the same number.
He recorded with Oscar Peterson and Art Tatum for Norman Granz and it was said at the time that he was probably the only instrumentalist with a technique comparable to Tatum's.
I first heard him live fronting a version of the Glenn Miller band at Newcastle City Hall. This wasn't very satisfactory as he had little scope to stretch out although, like all Miller bands, the playing was tight and precise.
The next occasion however was outstanding! A Jazz North East concert at Caedmon Hall, Gateshead, in 1995, presented De Franco alongside ace American vibes player Terry Gibbs and a British rhythm section. He played brilliantly fully living up to the idolisation his recordings had nurtured in me.
For many years he was the automatic winner of the clarinet section of the Down Beat Readers Poll - he won 20 in all - and in later years was rarely out of the top three. Even last year, at the age of 90, he mustered 32 votes in the annual critics poll!
In the all-time ratings he ranks alongside Shaw and Goodman - possibly higher.
Buddy De Franco died December 24, 2014 aged 91.
Sadly missed.
Lance.

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