Saxophone Forum


by jazzplayer15
(27 posts)
9 years ago

Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

I've posted something like this before, but I still don't understand why the heck Clarinets don't play Jazz. When Jazz first started, there was always a Clarinet. Why isn't a Clarinet considered a Jazz instrument anymore??

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  1. by clarinet1st
    (11 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

    Clarinets play a lot of jazz and they are well represented in mainstream jazz circles. Check out Don Byron, Eddie Daniels, Paquito D'Rivera, Steve Wilson and, of course, Pete Fountain. And if you don't mind looking back to the late 1970s and early 1980s, the clarinet is featured on pop/rock labels, as well: Richie Cannata (Billy Joel) and John A. Helliwell (Supertramp). As other contributers have observed; jazz has never been restricted to a predictable equation of instrumentation. Anything and everything is legitimate. Maybe that is why jazz was born in the USA.

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  2. by kelsey
    (823 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

    Clarinets don't play jazz, people play jazz.........LOL

    Barry Kelsey

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  3. by knorter
    (205 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

    The clarinet has always been a part of jazz. Granted there are not as many widely known soloists today on clarinet as there were in the '40's and '50's but they are still out there. Ken Peplowski has got to be one of the best out there today. Do you mean as a solo artist or do you mean why aren't there clarinets in jazz band at school? The bass clarinet has taken on a huge role in more contemporary soloists like Chris Potter.

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  4. by jamterry
    (573 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

    Any instrument is a jazz instrument. I see people using the term classical saxophone. For the most part a classical instrument is part of an orchestra. Saxophone is not part of an orchestra, but rather a concert band. I did see Fred Hemke solo with an orchestra. You can play anything you want on a clarinet. I want you to listen to Eric Dolphy's "Out There" album. You will hear clarinet, flute, and cello, playing jazz. This album was recorded in 1960. Eric Dolphy was coming out of the be bop era into the progressive era with people like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ron Carter, and Charles Mingus. I hope that you enjoy it :) Terry

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    1. by gemster
      (51 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

      We have saxophones in our orchestra....hehe :D An alto, two tenors and one or two baris. They are awesome and really give an extra kick to the stuff we do. Especially with the film music - we havent got tubas or french horn so the extra bass is really cool. Jazz clarinet. Hell yeah, my teacher is a JAZZ MAN. The man is a legend. xxx

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    2. by saxjunkie89
      (393 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

      do you guys consider the baritone, or euphonium, as a jazz instrument?

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  5. by kneejerk52
    (397 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

    pick up the cd "Giants at Play" Phil Woods and John Coates. he plays clarinet on a cut, you won't be dissapointed with the rest of the album, john coates is one of the most brilliant piano players in the world.

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    1. by knorter
      (205 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

      It's not about what instrument you play. It's about what you play with that instrument. If someone studies jazz improvisation on baritone then it's a jazz instrument. The flip side of that argument is that just because you play an instrument associated with jazz, like the saxophone, doesn't mean you can play jazz. It all comes down to the player not the instrument. Kristy

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  6. by rumsurfer
    (7 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

    I have seen some great woodwind players play very inspiring clarinet in a modern or post-50s) context. But my impression is that the clarinet sound isn't part of the contemporary jazz sound anymore because most clarinet sounds I do hear are in a trad jazz or other pre-50s context. The sound of the clarinet (in jazz) is deeply associated with the early half of the century.

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    1. by knorter
      (205 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

      That's a more interesting argument about different instruments used in jazz. I would tend to agree. You should check out Ken Peplowski. The bass clarinet, however, is very much associated with contemporary jazz. It's timbre is similar to the tenor and used by a lot of current players like Chris Potter. Kristy

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      1. by Radjammin
        (255 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

        Baritone in Jazz? Because the Trombone sounds better. You could ask why no tuba, same answer. The Current setup for Jazz Band I assume came out of trial and error. Starting the beginning as Dixie Bands Clairnet, T-Bone, Tuba, Trumpet, Banjo, Drums. I would tell Baritone players that wanta play jazz, learn Trombone. There will be instanaces where they will be able to solo on Baritone, but most opertunites will be for Trombone. The same for Clarinet player. One of my professers in college was a Clarinet player that became a reed doubler on Flute and Sax. He now primarly plays sax. He sounds awesome on Clarinet and Flute, but I am sure the gigs he gets is primarily because of his sax playing. He also sings well. The doubling probaby comes in handy when getting show tune gigs. If you wanta play professinoally its all about being versitile. Back to your original question, why no permanent seat in Jazz for Clarinet? Probably because people would prefer to hear Sax. People are very predictable. Also musician focus, not many clarinet players wanta swing. It's about what the player wants to do, and outlets to play. No Clarinet seat in Jazz band in school probaby reduces the interest pool.

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        1. by kneejerk52
          (397 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

          not many clarinet players want to swing??? you must be very young, swing was started and made popular by my favorite , benny goodman, pete fountain wasn't bad either. straight jazz different story, i agree sax sounds better, but swing come on.

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        2. by Radjammin
          (255 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

          Today, not yesterday, not the day before that, but today most clarinet players in College that I have been exposed to perfer legit and maybe ragtime to swing and modern jazz. When I say swing I am speaking of 40+ styles. I can only give you the impressions of the why more clarinet players don't play jazz today. There were alot of greats of yesteryears but today most great reed players in jazz primary on Sax. I am sure many of thouse greats sound good on clarinet but it's all about pleasing your audience. I am not a prof sax player but I am sure that's how you get paid. My impressions is that Sax and Tromone project better and thus drowned out the sound of the hot jazz baritones and clarinets, people like what they hear and you do the math who got jobs and who got a new horn.

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        3. by kneejerk52
          (397 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

          i believe also part of the reason is, years ago if you wanted to start on woodwind, most teachere insisted you start on clarinet. i guess now that doesn't happen quite as much which make less chance of having a great clarinet player develope let alone play jazz. the odd are double against it most the do play are legit like you say.

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        4. by kennyj
          (24 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

          Buddy Defranco has been playing throughout all the various changes in music styles. He still swings with passion. He was playing the new harmonies as they were being discovered. Clarinet was, and is a constant part of my arsenal as a musician, independent of musical style, jazz, classical or otherwise. ii-V-I kenny j
          kennyj

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        5. by moonpioneer
          (17 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

          THEY DO i am proud to be a jazz clarinetist by nature and saxist by default.. listen to harlem airshaft and artie shaw

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        6. by brunopietoso
          (1 post)

          2 years ago

          Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

          Hey guys,

          You forgot about Jimmy Giuffre! This guy has played sax and clarinet, and eventually he ended up playing more clarinet than saxophone. Also, he has an album released on ECM Records called "1961". This is probably the record that made me want to play clarinet. It sounds really fresh, modern, and made me realize that the clarinet can pretty much take on any jazz movement one would like to tackle, as long as the player behind the instrument is willing to take on the challenge. So all this talk about which instrument is more "jazzy" than others to me is pretty much a snoozer. If you listen to some guys out there, they play tablas, sitar (Collin Walcott and the Codona Trilogy on ECM records) all within a jazz context. I've even heard of a guy playing jazz "tambourine" - check him out, his name is Scott Feiner.  

          But of course some instruments are more "suited" for jazz playing because they just seem to work "better" I guess. They became standard to a jazz repertoire, but it doesn't mean that they are a strictly jazz instrument. And the opposite happens as well. Some orchestral players tackle some jazz standards on "classical" instruments, like the bassoon ( listen to Daniel Smith or Michael Rabinowitz), Ray Brown's "Jazz Cello".

          Anyway, excuse me if I got carried away! :) 

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        7. by turtlejimmy
          (14 posts)

          1 year ago

          Re: Why don't Clarinets play Jazz?

          Even the bassoon can play jazz ...... I saw a bassoonist with a pickup on his horn, sit in with a jazz band in Mexico a few holidays ago.  It was fantastic.  Fit like a glove.  I talked with the guy afterwards (he spoke English) and he told me he'd been playing for about 6 years.  Classical? I asked him.  No, he just played jazz on it.  Pretty cool.


          Turtle

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