Noone Procope and Benny Waters
Re: Noone and Procope and Benny Waters
Posted by: "lastofthebarons" lastofthebarons@... lastofthebarons
Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:15 am (PDT)
Strictly speaking, Dave Green wasn't citing Benny Waters -- we were listening to him and being bowled over. We weren't even talking -- he just turned to me and voiced "wow!"
I heard Benny on many occasions, but on this date with Fapy Lafertin he made the most beautiful sound I ever heard him make on clarinet. The late Jake Hanna was standing at the bar and almost fell over when he heard Benny open on tenor.
Depending on the venue, and presumably other factors, Benny didn't always sound the same. It's amazing when a man in his eighties plays better because the room is small and he can't let loose! Sometimes he was more Hawkins, sometimes Chu Berry.
There was a time he played soprano, but he settled down to open on tenor, and do a second solo on alto, sometimes moving on to clarinet.
As I understand the matter, he was never a clarinetist in his earlier years, unless maybe in section work, and took up tenor seriously under Hawkins influence, and after his R&B career with Roy MIlton he took up clarinet to work with Jimmy Archey, and sounded wonderful on the airshot recording, but not like he did in later years.
He confined himself to alto from the age of I suppose 87 when he lost his sight following an operation for cataract.
I'll mention some recordings to Dave when I can check.
I know about Procope and Tio only from Ken Mathieson. I wouldn't have regarded him as an ersatz, or even as somebody who changed his way of playing clarinet. Quite likely like Benny Waters he might have taken some preliminary lessons on clarinet -- or not -- but started taking clarinet seriously out of an enthusiasm for what he had heard on record, and I do remember hearing a short solo from the 1930s on which he produces the same sound which made hair stand on end on areas of my scalp from which it departed long ago.
So far as I knew, Omer Simeon also never had another way of playing clarinet. He grew up within a New Orleans diaspora population in Chicago.
There is a quartet session by Joe Temperley with Brian Lemon on which Joe's baritone sounds very like Simeon's.
Retromen can sound as if they do not have one style and sound, Dave B is right, but there is the interesting thing of Benny W and some other seniors I remember that they weren't always exactly the same. I remember that when Benny sounded more like Chu Berry he was being constrained to stay with tenor -- in an ad hoc band with Earle Warren on alto -- but Chu was a former altoist too. I suppose it's a case of always having to sound the same if you have no identity but are trying to sound like something. If it comes direct there's no assuming a voice.
Kenny Davern switched clarinets over the years, and became most distinctive during the years he took to the stratosphere and did a lot of high-register stuff (after a number during which he spent a long time up there, he would refer to a white powder on every surface in the room, and say "it's my teeth."
I'm not sure whether Jack Brymer improvised, but on radio once he talked about having discussed things with Buster Bailey. He also talked about his lifelong enthusiasm for Benny Goodman when he toured with a band of sometime Goodman sessionmates -- and even if he might have had the solos written for him, that was a unique, beautiful and jazz sound too.
- Hi Robert
Benny Waters was something of an anachronism, seemingly playing in a style
unaltered from his formative years. I can believe that his clarinet playing
was mellower because he was a very part-time clarinettist and that obviously
produces a far more technically restrained result. Like Pres, Buddy Tate,
Earle Warren, Benny Carter, Zoot Sims and Jimmy Giuffre. Or even Cap'n John
OK. I'll accept Procope's credentials as N.O. clarinettist but he never was
a great improviser on alto. Somewhere Charles Fox complains of him
continually re-producing his one solo with Ellington.
Love Joe Temperley -- truly original sound -- but I'll have to search for
Simeon on baritone. Examples ?
Davern was a very intelligent player and man but it's debatable whether he
ever totally synthesised his very various influences.
Jack Brymer was simply the finest clarinettist I ever heard. That seamless
fluidity, beautiful unhistrionic but warm clear tone, everything required
for classical repertoire. I also heard him on radio and remember him playing
Goodman. I never knew he attempted jazz. Records ?
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- 'He was an important session musician. He played Bass Clarinet on the
sound-tracks of the Hammer horror movies featuring actors Peter Cushing and
He took over leadership of the London Saxophone Quartet after the death of
its founder Michael Krein, playing Soprano Saxophone (which he considered
the most 'Classical' of the Saxophone family).
During his military service in the RAF, he was a Fitness Instructor and
Unarmed Combat Instructor. His extreme fitness may have contributed
significantly to his exceptional tone-quality.
He was virtually alone in being the complete master of both the 'Classical'
and the Jazz styles. He could play Benny Goodman's style almost
indistinguishably from Benny Goodman himself. He was a personal friend of
Benny Goodman. In earlier years, he played Saxophone and Clarinet in Dance
A significant feature of his style of playing was his use of vibrato, and he
is considered to be one of the first clarinet players to use this
Just dug that out of Wikipedia on Jack Brymer. Several things there to add
to his jazz credentials.
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