Flutes for Jazz?

suz writes “I have just embarked on the long slow boat to the land of a new flute. I’ve tried several this week; next week it’ll be several more I imagine. A used flute dealer and I had this rather thorough conversation about my playing ability, style and interests, and then he produced three lovely old French-made instruments for me to try. They were good flutes, but the wrong type of sound, I thought (I guess he and I were on different wavelengths). Frank Zappa mentioned that flutists and harpers have a bad look on their faces because of all this cloud and angel music they have to play. I am not playing cloud and angel music, though those French flutes would have been good for that.So my inquiry: I want EVERYONE’s opinion about brands, features, tone, and any other aspect of the instruments themselves as pertains to jazz. Thanks in advance!”

Ok, well, where to start. It really doesn’t matter what type of flute you get. It could be Yamaha, Geminhardt, Powell, etc, etc. What is important is the tonal qualities your seeking. Are you seeking a bright tone? Or a darker tone? Then you’d choose a flute that has those qualities in addition to good sturdy keywork, excellent intonation, etc, etc. It really doesn’t matter too much WHAT you play on as long as you like it.Personally, I like my Yamaha 581, though sometimes I wish for a darker, rounder tone. I’m afraid to try a Haynes or Powell or something because then I’d KNOW for sure that the Yamaha I have is not as good. Don’t get me wrong, I like my flute a lot. We have about 30 different stage shows that we’ve done together, along with some recording sessions, etc. It’s dependable, and durable. I just wish it was a little more flexiable.Some day I’ll get a Haynes or a Powell, but I doubt I’d part with the Yamaha.

One thought on “Flutes for Jazz?”

  1. I played a base model Altus at a flute fair early this year and was impressed.It had a straight forward sound, good volume and a quick response. The Gooseman headjoint offers a wide ranging palette that sounds appropriate for jazz. I have a Powell Sonare and though it sings wonderfully in upper registers, the variability of tonality is not that wide and the cut of the embrouchure tends towards buzziness. I would love to know which flute Hubert Laws used during his CTI years (The seventies) Also,Joe Farrell’s choice on Chick Corea’s “Lite as a Feather”

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