23 sept. 2008

There's a track called "Tenor Conclave" where Hank Mobley, Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, and Trane all appear in a classic cutting contest. It's perfect for seeing Trane as though he were simply another post-bop tenor man among others. Mobley is excellent, with a very classic statement in the Lester Young melodic tradition. I don't actually know which solo is Sims and which one is Cohn, but they both also contribute very credible Coleman Hawkins inflected solos. You can't actually decide which of these three is the best. Coltrane comes in after the first three and just kills. Yet if you go back to the beginning of the recording again, Mobley's statement remains fresh as ever. I can't get enough of soloist two either. At most, Coltrane is primus inter pares.

Or take "Tenor Madness," where he faces up against Rollins. There is no sense in which either player comes out ahead; only personal preference or mood can determine a *winner.* For me Stan Getz is a transcendent player. Only the existence of Hawkins, Lester Young, Coltrane, and Rollins makes Getz seem not an absolute genius. I also love second line players like Flip Phillips and Illinois Jacquet; Harold Land is just amazing. No other instrument has quite the depth of the tenor sax in sheer number of real heavyweights. Don't forget Ben Webster.

5 comentarios:

Tom dijo...

"Stan Getz is a transcendent player. Only the existence of Hawkins, Lester Young, Coltrane, and Rollins makes Getz seem not an absolute genius." I couldn't agree more. I love Stan Getz. Maybe he isn't taken as seriously because the Bossa Nova recordings are considered popular or light or something. I don't know. I do differ in opinion on real heavyweights as I'm a trumpet player. Louis, Miles, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy at least. And Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Kenny Dorham. And Tom Harrell now is just an incredible improviser.

Tom King

Jonathan dijo...

I still think tenor has greater depth. The heavyweight trumpets are Louis, Roy Eldridge, Miles, Dizzy, Clifford Brown. Hubbard is great on the level of a Wayne Shorter. But notice I didn't even have to mention Chu Berry, Wayne Shorter, Dexter Gordon, or Warne Marsh on tenor.

I'm more into the non bossa nova Getz myself. Some early records have him basically playing a standard bebop style. When he plays his own style it's a thing of beauty.

Tom dijo...

I guess you have to define "depth." Is it melancholic expression or range of expression, or broader timbral thing or something like that? Or an "approach" like the Armstrong vs. the Miles approach (there's probably a lot to this that may be affecting what you think of as depth and why trumpets don't have it to the degree of tenors)? Miles did learn a lot from tenors, he admitted.

Also, true you didn't mention those other tenors, but I didn't mention Bix Beiderbecke, Clark Terry, Don Cherry, Woody Shaw, Chet Baker, Nat Adderly, Art Farmer, Fats Navarro, Booker Little, Blue Mitchell, Kenny Wheeler, Warren Vache, Ray Nance, Charlie Shavers, Red Rodney, and Wynton if you want to hazard that argument (I would), and other great sections players like Bernie Glow, Conrad Gozzo, Snooky Young.

Also, I wouldn't equate Wayne Shorter to Freddie Hubbard even though they are contemporaries. Wayne to me is more cerebral and a great composer in a way Freddie is not. Freddie was a virtuoso technically and had an unmistakable style (I speak of him in the past tense sadly). I remember seeing John Schneiderman at a concert in LA and he said "Shorter is our generation's Monk" meaning for his compositions.

I love all Getz, before and after the bossa nova. He played a lot of straight ahead jazz after as well as before the 60s.

What about Joe Henderson for tenors? I love Page One where he plays with Kenny Dorham, or Inner Urge. Classics.

Tom King

Jonathan dijo...

It's an endless argument. For every Wynton there's a Branford. I was thinking depth in a terms of a depth chart: how far you can go down the list and still find killer players? The piano players will want to have their say too. And the alto saxes with Bird, Hodges, Ornette, Benny Carter, Art Pepper, Lee Konitz. Nobody would deny that trumpet is a major instrument with dozens of fine players, though I would not put Wynton anywhere in the top tier. He bores me out of my mind.

Johnny Griffith and Dewey Redmond?

John dijo...

Roland Kirk. Also a top tier composer; up there with Ellington & Mingus, in my book, for beauty of conception and breadth of style; and, in some of the later compositions for large group, as original as anybody. Side one of "Prepare Thyself to Deal With a Miracle" is compositionally spectacular; and unlike *anything* else.