June 15, 2024


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Unforgettable moments with the gentleman of the clarinet – Buddy Defranco: Video, Photos

His tone was a pattern of smoothness. And he himself: the elegance in person. The American clarinetist Buddy Defranco, one of the very big representatives of his instrument in jazz, would have been 100 years old.

On BR classics you can experience unusual moments with him at the International Jazzwoche Burghausen in the “jazztime”.

Buddy Defranco, Bulls Head, Barnes, London, 1995 | Bildquelle: picture alliance / National Jazz Archive/Heritage I | Brian Foskett

Image source: Picture Alliance / National Jazz Archive / Heritage I | Brian Foskett

Some jazz moments always remain in the memory. Visitors to the International Jazzwoche Burghausen were able to experience one of them in 1989. At that time there was a session with an exceptionally prominent staff in the jazz cellar in the Mautnerschloss. Pianist Kirk Lightsey, saxophonist Eddie Harris, clarinetist Tony Scott – and his clarinet colleague Buddy Defranco. A photo of at that time shows these clarinetists, both of whom were still grew up in the swing era, in a wonderfully contrasting harmony side by side.

Tony Scott und Buddy DeFranco | Bildquelle: Ilona Piecha / Aus dem Buch „It has lines in its face” über die Geschichte der Internationalen Jazzwoche Burghausen.

Image source: Ilona Piecha / From the book “IT Has Lines in Its Face” about the history of the International Jazzwoche Burghausen.Tony Scott, which was moved to Europe, had now closed with a black, combined hair from the former SCHMEN THE AUTIONS AND BLIEM A wild jazz anarchist with a white barley beard and long-hanging residual hair-and so he also stood the stage of the Mautnerschloss in the casual, wide knitting sweater. And next to him: a man in the highly elegant dark jacket, plus white shirt, dark tie and well -groomed dark hair, buddy defranco. Two that came from the same world but had ended up in very different worlds – and which then also played with completely different tones in this session.

Historical encounter in the Burghauser Wackerhalle

The two clarinetists also stood together on the big stage of the Burghauser Festival, in the Wackerhalle. There Scott did not wear the sweater from the jazz cellar, but a dark suit and a black, wide -brimmed hat. This concert, together with the top-class big band of the German musician Erwin Lehn (1919-2010), the Bavarian Radio cut along at the time. That is why there are still pictures of this, as festival boss Joe Viera said on stage at the time, first joint concert Buddy Defrancos and Tony Scotts. Defranco was then the American star guest in Erwin Lehn’s concert on festival Saturday – and Scott was then added as a surprise guest for some pieces.

Two very different facets of the clarinet game were to be experienced. At that time Scott at that time his art lashed more and more into the energetic, Defranco captivated with an aesthetic beauty and consequence that was none.
In a stage announcement, Scott also praised his colleagues very respectfully: he called Defranco the “Gentleman of Jazz”, even the largest gentleman among all jazz musicians. And he said “God has deposited three million dollars on earth for the clarinetists – and Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw have divided this money among themselves.” But, Scott continues, he and Buddy Defranco wanted to do something so that the clarinet in jazz gets up again. Not least because of these two musicians, the instrument had long since had this update.

Shipment – Friday, February 17th, 11:05 p.m.: Jazz when traveling. For the 100th birthday of the clarinetist Buddy Defranco. Master of Elegance: Excerpts from Defranco’s concert at the International Jazzwoche Burghausen in 1989 with the Erwin-Lehn-Big-Band and a surprise guest. Moderation and selection: Roland Spiegel

Portrait of Buddy De Franco, New York, N.Y., ca. Sept. 1947. HINWEIS: Das Aufnahmedatum ist nicht immer bekannt. (Heritage Art/Heritage Images) | Bildquelle: picture alliance / Heritage Images | William Paul Gottlieb

Image source: Picture Alliance / Heritage Images | William Paul Gottliebtony Scott had already had his 100th birthday in June 1921 – and the hundredths of Buddy de Franco are now celebrating the jazz zwelt. Defranco was born in Camden in 1923 in the Federal Statt New Jersey. It was actually called Boniface Ferdinand Leonard Defranco. He started the clarinet game at the age of nine and won an amateur swing competition, the “Tommy Dorsey Swing Contest”, which took place under the leadership of the trombonist and big band boss Dorsey. He started his career before he was of legal age – at the age of 16, 1939, in the trumpeter and singer Johnny Scat Davis. Then there were soon engagements at the bands of drummer Gene Krupa, saxophonist Charlie Barnet, at Tommy Dorsey, with saxophonist Boyd Raeburn and last but not least in the septet of the swing star Count Basie. The commitment to Drum superstar Gene Krupa also started when Defranco was still under 20, in 1941. From the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s, Defranco was constantly at the head of reader surveys. He made excellent recordings with the pianists Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, headed a quintet in the New York Birdland Club and later took over the management of the still continued Glenn-Miller orchestra. He remained an important soloist for decades. In the 1980s he also won the coveted reader survey of the magazine “Down Beat” (1984). At that time, Defranco was also a soloist at a particularly large number of festivals in the USA and Europe. His appearance in Burghausen fell into a time of his special success.

The new edge of the former queen of jazz instruments

When Defranco (like Tony Scott) became an established musician, the popularity of the big bands led by great clarinetists such as Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw was already derived – Artie Shaw, for example, dissolved his in 1950. The clarinet was the queen of jazz instruments in swing style. But when young musicians started to create a completely new type of jazz in the 1940s, the so -called Bebop, other instruments crowded to the foreground, not least the old saxophone by such an overwhelming soloist as Charlie Parker. Buddy Defranco and Tony Scott immediately recorded the new influences in their game. Scott even belonged to the circle of musicians who, in the early 1940s, in “Minton’s Playhouse” in the New York district of Harlem in Jam sessions to the exciting new style. The “Bebop” was so different with hectic interval jumps and an angular new expressiveness than the tasty tones of the swing. The clarinet as a musical mouthpiece created for swing and created in this music a marginal existence. And yet there were two musicians who dominated this new music language early on – Tony Scott and Buddy Defranco.

The only apparently unsuitable instrument

Defranco told himself that he was the first to play this new style on the clarinet. The time of the emerging modern jazz was the beginning of a dry spell for the clarinet, the “Los Angeles Times” quotes the clarinetist in her obituary. It is very difficult to play Bebop on this instrument. The clarinet is not “uncompatible” with the Bebop, as can often be read in reference works.

The lightness of the particularly difficult tones

However, he himself forgot this difficulty in his long career. Defranco played razor -sharp, elegant lines that had something weightless and also make the leaking intensity of modern jazz appear naturally. Defranco mastered the deliberately demolished phrases and the unexpected jumps that BEBOP’s solos of Bebop have been characterized by Charlie Parker on the supposedly unsuitable instrument. Defranco also had a remarkable warmth of the sound in his later phases. All of this – especially in contrast to the sound of his colleague Tony Scott – can be explained in detail in the recordings of March 18, 1989 in Burghausen. Buddy Defranco died on Christmas Eve 2014 at the age of 91.

Buddy DeFranco obituary | Jazz | The Guardian

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