09. August 2007 · 4 comments · Categories: Ramble

I think I’m in a bit of trouble for not recognizing an apparently very well known jazz flutist.

Sigh. I know I’m quite lame when it comes to jazz. I own very little jazz. Another blogger was disappointed in me for not fully “getting” jazz.

Sorry, folks. I’m just a lowly oboe player. Sigh.

I don’t believe the problem is that I’m a classically trained musician; a good number of my colleagues are quite familiar with jazz musicians. It’s not that we are all snobs. It’s that I just don’t get jazz. Just like some don’t get what I do. (But hey, I do own some Coltrane and, well, I hope that counts for something …?)

What can I say? I’m not perfect. Not even close. I gave up that quest long ago, sad but true.

But for those of you who continue to struggle with oboe and reeds, or want to know what this wacky life is like, I do hope you stick around! And I hope Mr. Poodle (just kidding!) will stick around too. Despite my many failings. 😉

(Oh … and if I sound a wee bit sensitive, or perhaps even a bit melancholy, well, yeah. There’s that. Some things I don’t blog about. If you wanna know, you could ask, but I’m sure tomorrow will be better.)


  1. Well please do not take my comments to heart. I have nothing but respect for the work and talent that it takes to become the instrumentalist you are. I have known enough of all kind of players to know that many “just don’t get” the other. If I find it unbelievable it is only because of my luck of exposure to the world of music. I do wonder about teachers who do not themselves, and with their students, make a concious effort to explore the alternatives, if only to search out possibly better techniques. For all one knows, a knowledge of Yusef Lateef might inform a better playing of Stravinsky’s Sacre n’est-ce pas?

    Besides, as an instrumentalist who has put down his instrument, it could have been the dissolution of so many musical interests that caused this to happen. If I had stayed of single mind, as I was in my late teens and early twenties, when I was a mofo player and smoked cigarrettes because my instrumental hero did, I might still be playing! So it takes what it takes, and who am I to question your route.

    Geez, I wish I still had the hair of a Poodle!

    Mr. Poodle aka Peter (the Other)

  2. In all honesty I really do have to take comments to heart; is it the oboe player in me, I wonder?!

    That’s not to say, though, that my feelings are hurt.

    I’m embarrassed sometimes that jazz just doesn’t work for me, but it doesn’t. Sometimes it is fascinating. Sometimes it is even energizing. But it never touches my heart. And for me the heart is so much of what music is for me.

    We are all so different, you know? I’m sure what I do leaves others cold. And that’s okay.

    You can always question my ways. Sometimes I’ll change and grow. Other times I’ll be an old stick in the mud. So you gotta give it a go and see what happens! 🙂

    The issue with Rite of Spring is an interesting one. It’s all about NOT missing the attack. What I’ve noticed in jazz is that that doesn’t always matter; a slightly muffed attack doesn’t appear to cause dismay. (Am I wrong about that?)

    But yes, I could learn from anyone … heck, I learn from my students all the time!

    And hair? Hair is over rated. Heh. (Trying to convince my whole family of this, as my mom starts chemo quite soon.)

  3. “The issue with Rite of Spring is an interesting one. It’s all about NOT missing the attack. What I’ve noticed in jazz is that that doesn’t always matter; a slightly muffed attack doesn’t appear to cause dismay. (Am I wrong about that?)”

    I am not of any knowledge, only opinion, but I find the first two sentences of your thought a lovely specificity that would belong to the artist. So often “thinkers” will ponder the meaning of a work of art, whole books of thought. But then some one finally gets the idea to ask the artist and she says “I was just trying to get the attack right”.

    As to jazz, I don’t know what it is about either, but maybe because the player is also part of the composition, the judgment is made about a larger aspect of the music. So I would gather from your comment, that the main problem you might have with jazz is that instrumental technique is sacrificed for some unknown (to you) other aesthetic?

  4. I should have written “MY issue with R of S is not missing the attack” actually … because, for me, I fear missing it and have done so several times. It might not be an issue for others. It’s also a repeated section of 5 notes, and the repetition makes it difficult because it’s so easy for a listener to hear if I’ve flubbed it.

    As to jazz … no, the missed attacks don’t actually bother me in jazz. I can’t say exactly why. Maybe it’s because jazz isn’t as much about accuracy as about creating. We classical folks aren’t creators, but interpreters. (Or, as one conductor put it, we are “creatives” rather than “creators”.)

    Not sure if this is making sense, though, and it’s past my bedtime! 🙂