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Thread: Yusef Lateef and Unusual Horns in Jazz

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Yusef Lateef and Unusual Horns in Jazz

    I just made myself a compilation with some of Lateef's efforts on oboe, bamboo flute, transverse flute, ocarina and what sounds like a vuvuzela. He's one of the few jazz musicians I know who has experimented with this stuff.

    Jazz bassoon is almost unheard of. Michael Rabinowitz and Paul Hanson are the only two I've ever found. (And no, Lindsay Cooper, Michel Berckmans and Dirk Descheemaeker do not play jazz.)

    There are several clarinetists. Don Elliott played mellophone, a straightened-out French horn. John Clark and Tom Varner play actual French horns (which, uh, must be very hard to "swing" because they don't.) Charles Pillow plays cor anglais (which is a sort-of larger oboe). Bob Cooper, Roscoe Mitchell and Karl Jenkins played occasional oboe.

    And of course Rufus Harley played bagpipes. But be serious -- at that point it isn't jazz. It's bagpipe music!

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    Member StarThrower's Avatar
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    I like his oboe stuff. It sounds very exotic even when playing some blues. I collected quite a few of his albums back in the 90s.

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    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Jazz bassoon is almost unheard of. Michael Rabinowitz and Paul Hanson are the only two I've ever found.
    Lateef has recorded on bassoon; I very recently picked up a Ken McIntyre album Hindsight, with both bassoon and oboe, and there's an extraordinary recording of "Round Midnight" on bassoon by Illinois Jacquet of all people (playing an instrument that sounds like it has really rickety keywork).

    R-1063804-1442083782-4533.jpeg.jpg
    Last edited by Mister Triscuits; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:54 PM.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Triscuits View Post
    Lateef has recorded on bassoon; I very recently picked up a Ken McIntyre album Hindsight, with both bassoon and oboe, and there's an extraordinary recording of "Round Midnight" on bassoon by Illinois Jacquet of all people (playing an instrument that sounds like it has really rickety keywork).
    Cool. I knew if anybody knew anything it'd be you Biffy.

    The Jacquet track appears to be his only attempt at bassoon(?) and the McIntyre album features one track on oboe ("Naima") and two on bassoon ("Lush Life" and "Body and Soul.") Not even enough for a combined CD-R!

    Which track on "Jazz 'round the World" features bassoon? I hear a couple oboe tracks but no bassoon.
    [Edit: Oh, got it. "India" has bassoon doubling a, what is that, clarinet?]

    [2nd edit: Hey, Jacquet also recorded "Bassoon Blues" on "The Message" (1963)! Forgot I had that.]

    [3rd edit: Lateef's "Love and Humor" from "The Sounds of Yusef" (1957) also features blown bottles and letting the air out of balloons. Humor indeed.]

    [4th edit: Okay, it's not Yusef who plays the bottles and balloons:
    Last edited by rcarlberg; 4 Weeks Ago at 12:39 AM.

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    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    @ 6:25

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    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Lateef's "Love and Humor" from "The Sounds of Yusef" (1957) also features blown bottles and letting the air out of balloons.
    I like that they specify Seven-Up bottle. Because you just can't get that tone with Pepsi.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Jazz bassoon is almost unheard of. Michael Rabinowitz and Paul Hanson are the only two I've ever found. (And no, Lindsay Cooper, Michel Berckmans and Dirk Descheemaeker do not play jazz.)
    Dirk Descheemaeker doesn't play bassoon either. I have several albums with him and he plays clarinets, bass clarinet and soprano saxophone.

    I think my dad has a record with someone playing a sarussophone.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    The sarussophone is a single- or double-reed instrument meant to replace a bassoon in a marching band. They're pretty rare.


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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Kind of off-topic -- but not too far -- is Baroque wind music. Lots of horn music was written in the 16th & 17th Centuries, but the technology to manufacture keyed wind instruments wasn't developed until the early 18th Century. Therefore, all that earlier music was designed to be played on what are essentially "hunting horns," horns played using only the natural octaves and overtones of an unadorned bugel-like horn (see @3:07 above).

    Here's the thing. Today's ensembles, playing "Renaissance dance music" or "Baroque woodwind music," all use modern brass instruments. I've never found a recording of period brass music on overtone horns. Even ensembles that advertise period instruments, using very old keyboards and stringed instruments, all use horns from the 18th or 19th Century.

    It's too hard to play overtone horns, I guess.

    I'd be thrilled if anyone can point me to exceptions.


    Last edited by rcarlberg; 4 Weeks Ago at 01:11 PM.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    I WANT TO MARRY THE BARI PLAYER AND BEAR HER CHILDREN


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    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Oh I need to explore this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    The sarussophone is a single- or double-reed instrument meant to replace a bassoon in a marching band. They're pretty rare.
    Frank Zappa used one in his Grand Wazoo and Petit Wazoo big bands, played by Earle Dommler - who also played baritone oboe, as well as regular oboe, saxes, and clarinets.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Frank Zappa used one in his Grand Wazoo and Petit Wazoo big bands, played by Earle Dommler - who also played baritone oboe, as well as regular oboe, saxes, and clarinets.
    Some non-regular saxes as well, as that album featured the infamous (supposedly unplayable) C-Melody Saxophone.
    Confirmed Bachelors: the dramedy hit of 1883...

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    ... the infamous (supposedly unplayable) C-Melody Saxophone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    A few modern-day saxophonists occasionally perform on C melody instruments, though rarely if ever as a primary instrument. Examples include Anthony Braxton,[12] Kyle Vincent, Scott Robinson, Rick Arbuckle, Rosy McHargue, Dan Levinson, Hayes Greenfield and Joe Lovano.[13] Carla Bley, though mainly a keyboardist, has played the C Melody sax occasionally on recordings led by her daughter Karen Mantler.[14]

    Despite the fact that they have not been manufactured in over 75 years, C melody saxophones are readily available today, due to their limited use and the sheer number that were produced in the early 20th century. They can often be found at stores that carry used instruments, tag sales, rummage sales and pawn shops across the United States.

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    Member Zeuhlmate's Avatar
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    Mangelsdorf was kind of unusual


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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeuhlmate View Post
    Mangelsdorf was kind of unusual
    Lots of overtone blowing. Standard equipment. Their LP is a fun listen (once or twice).

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Bob Cooper, Roscoe Mitchell and Karl Jenkins played occasional oboe.
    I'm surprised I'm the first person in the thread to mention Paul McCandless.

    BTW, reading Roscoe Mitchell's name reminds me that Joseph Jarman played bassoon occasionally, although I don't know if he tried to improvise on it.

  20. #20
    Some Stan Kenton and Sun Ra records also use various instruments mentioned above.

  21. #21
    Wait - no-one has mentioned Karen Borca - wife of the late great Jimmy Lyons and a stunning bassoon virtuoso

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pb2015 View Post
    I'm surprised I'm the first person in the thread to mention Paul McCandless.
    I have most of the Oregon records and 3-4 solos by Paul. I wouldn't call what he does jazz.

    But he's a good name to mention anyway, thanks!

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    I have most of the Oregon records and 3-4 solos by Paul. I wouldn't call what he does jazz.

    But he's a good name to mention anyway, thanks!
    He also plays on both Ali Neander albums I have, which one might consider jazz-rock.

  24. #24
    Subterranean Tapir Hobo Chang Ba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jake View Post
    Wait - no-one has mentioned Karen Borca - wife of the late great Jimmy Lyons and a stunning bassoon virtuoso
    Wow. That's great. Did this lineup produce anything in way of albums? I'd definitely be in for that.
    No humor please, we're skittish.

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  25. #25
    Braxton- subcontrabass sax:

    I'm not lazy. I just work so fast I'm always done.

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