Saxophone Forum

by CharlesSax
(7 posts)
6 years ago

I Remeber Clifford - first heard in San Francisco

I've been out of the jazz scene from quite some time. But I'm looking to play the sax again! I grew up in San Francisco in the 1950's and 1960's and then moved to L.A. in 1973 when it seemed I needed to get a real job. But before then, I did what I could to make it as a jazz saxophone player. Growing up in the late 50's, jazz was all the rage! There were lots of great players in San Francisco at the time and there were several jazz clubs around, like Jimbo’s Bop City on Post St or who from SF remembers the Jazz Cellar on Green street. If you know that club, then I probably bumped into you there. It was a great place where nothing mattered but the music. All of the problems and prejudices of the world were checked at the door.

I first heard Miles play at Parkers Soulville on McAllister in the early 1960's. I was just a kid, but had no problem getting in. He was doing some far out stuff and I remember thinking how out of touch his music seemed to me. But just as I was about to leave the club, he started in on Benny's tribute tune, "I Remember Clifford". I was too young to know Clifford Brown, but when Miles started in on this tune, the whole place stopped and I knew something was happening. It was as if the preacher had walked into the room. Miles had a way of commanding respect and this tune seemed to really connect with the musicians hanging out.  It wasn't until much later that I realized what this tune represented. But even as a dumb kid who loved jazz but knew nothing of it, I could hear that this was an important moment. Miles really laid it all out. I can also remember sneaking into the Black Hawk in the Tenderloin district to hear Stitt as a kid. That cat could blow the horn like no other!!!

Anyway, I'm breaking the horn out after 35+ years of non-use. I have a Selmer Mark VI. Is this still the horn of choice? I know its what everyone played back when I was active. How about mouthpieces, I have my Otto Link from the 60's, but I"ve read great things about some modern makers such as Jody Jazz. Are these mouthpieces worth the hype??




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  1. by tlrsax54
    (2 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: I Remeber Clifford - first heard in San Francisco

    Welcome back to the scene!!  I enjoyed reading your story, it's great hearing about moments like that.

    Selmer Mark VI is still the top dog...that should be just fine.  Otto Links are still popular on tenor and will take you a long way.  Jody Jazz makes great mouthpieces too, as do many companies, but it's most important to stick with what you are comfortable with and develop your own sound on it.  If you're just getting back into things, the last thing to worry about would be mouthpieces, the first thing would probably be lessons!  35 years is a long time, it can be easy to want to jump right in to everything and forget about the fundamentals.

    Good luck!   

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  2. by Saxquest
    (409 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: I Remeber Clifford - first heard in San Francisco

    Hi Chuck-
         Welcome to! Thanks for sharing that story. From what I've heard, SanFrancisco was a great scene for jazz in the late 50's early 60's.  I'd love to hear more about the clubs in San Francisco back then. The Miles Davis 1961 live at the Blackhawk recordings are tremendous. The Wynton Kelly-Paul Chambers-Jimmy Cobb rhythm section is magical and Hank Mobley really lays it down with that big lush bluesy sound!!

         I'm glad to hear that you're digging the horn out and getting into playing again. I definitely agree that your original set up is great! Jody Jazz makes great mouthpieces but there's no reason to mess around with all of that until you're back up and running. Unfortunately, reeds are still as frustrating as they were back in the 60's. Keep us posted as to how it goes and feel free to post up any questions you have as you progress. Good Luck and ENJOY!!!

         Mark Overton       

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