Thursday, July 24, 2014

An Alto Lineage

In my last post on "must-hear" alto saxophone recordings, I highlighted Jimmy Dorsey, Tram, and Willie Smith (we could also include Buster Smith), mostly because of the influence they had on the outstanding voice on the instrument, Charlie Parker. 

Although it would be difficult to argue that any specific recording of Rudy Vallee's saxophone playing helped shaped the tradition of the alto sax, it is nonetheless the case that Vallee had apparently influenced Bird to take up the saxophone. Vallee in turn had been primarily influenced by Rudy Wiedoeft and even borrowed his first name; Bird was of course also aware of Wiedoeft. 

In 1958, Bird's leading successor, Jackie McLean, would record Vallee's "Deep Night" with Sonny Clark for the album Cool Struttin'

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