Monday, April 15, 2013

JMac's Vibrato

Speaking of the operatic impulse in jazz, listen to Jackie McLean's dramatic use of vibrato in this recording from 1973. Perhaps more than any other alto saxophonist, McLean was able to “widen” or “enlarge” the “size” of the instrument’s natural tone (these terms are all metaphorical, of course). The use of heavy vibrato is but one instance of this ability.

"Monk's Dance," Ode to Super (with Gary Bartz)

While McLean's approach to playing is undoubtedly singular, a general increase in the use of vibrato and other, more extreme timbral effects accompanied the reemergence of Dionysian energies in jazz after the end of a classicizing, Apollonian interim in the 1940s and 50s. 

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