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.

Sound Quality and the Shrinking Pit

I play in pit orchestras sometimes. And this article was interesting. It’s very true that orchestra sizes seem to be diminishing. Last couple of shows I’ve done have been “abridged” versions, where we have 2-3 reeds (out of 5), 1-2 strings, 2-3 brass, and rhythmn section. Most of the other stuff, if it’s being covered (usually doesn’t get covered), is done with Synths….

Regardless, the author makes some valid points about sound quality.

Perfect Pitch Museum

Do you have perfect pitch? Can you listen to the howl of the wind, and say that it was blowing in D? Or that a two-tone clock strikes in B minor? This site explores the complexities of perfect pitch, which can be tricky, as there is relative pitch, perfect pitch, and absolute pitch. While some feel that it is an inherited gift, frequently encountered in the blind, others argue that it can be learned. There is a reference to the abilities of the young Mozart, which is to be expected, and a story about Ravel, who lost the ability to express his music, although it was still ‘in his head’. Some features, such as the historical fluctuation of concert A would be of more interest to musicians, but the examples in the section ‘Amazing Feats of the Ear’ would engage everyone else. The ‘Definitions for the Musically Disinclined’ is very helpful in this regard.

I personally believe that you can learn perfect pitch.

Moe Koffman Dies

One of Canada’s best known and most respected jazz
musicians is dead. Moe Koffman died Wednesday afternoon from cancer at the age of 72. Best known for his catchy 1957 flute piece Swinging Shepherd Blues, Koffman gained an international following during his career.

Here is another article on his death.

TORONTO (CP) -- One of Canada's best known and most respected jazz
musicians is dead.

Moe Koffman died Wednesday afternoon from cancer at the age of 72.

Best known for his catchy 1957 flute piece Swinging Shepherd Blues,
Koffman gained an international following during his career.

Nonetheless he was for decades a regular fixture at the modest Toronto
jazz club, George's Spaghetti House.

Dave Milbourne, publisher of the newsletter Toronto Jazz, said a friend of
Koffman's confirmed the musician's death Wednesday afternoon.

"Canada has lost a music legend," Milbourne said.

Based in Toronto the city in which he was born, Koffman was admired
internationally for his mastery of the flute. He was also a talented
saxophone player and clarinetist.

A consummate musician, Koffman composed and arranged many of his own
pieces. All the while, he was regarded as one of Canada's busiest jazz
musicians, playing at clubs and jazz festivals all over the country.

Koffman was best known for his catchy 1958 flute piece Swingin' Shepherd
Blues. It was almost four decades later, that he was inducted into the
Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Rob McConnell, Koffman's longtime friend and leader of Canada's well-known
Boss Brass, hailed Koffman as a luminary.

"Moe was a marker for all of us in the music business in the years we were
in it together," he told the radio station CJRT.

He was a perfect example of "how to maintain your strength and versatility
throughout your career.

"He was just a really, really, really nice guy."

Koffman's last gig was with Boss Brass.

Koffman picked up his first instrument at the tender age of nine.

A formidable break in his career came in 1948 after he won a record deal
with New York's Mainstream Records from a magazine contest.

He recorded two records with the music house before moving back to Toronto.

He was a popular soloist who became known for his be-bop jazz style.

Koffman originally named his smash hit Blues a la Canadiana but it was
changed to Swingin' Shepherd Blues by a producer.

He received the Order of Canada in 1993 for his outstanding work and
service to the arts.


Swinging Shepherd Blues, 1958.
Little Pixie, 1958.
Swingin' Shepherd Blues (re-issue), 1973.

Hot And Cool Sax, 1957.
The Shepherd Swings Again, 1958.
Moe Koffman The Swinging Shepherd Plays For Teens, 1962.
Tales Of Koffman, 1962.
The Moe Koffman Quartet, 1963.
Moe Koffman Goes Electric, 1967.
Turned On Moe Koffman, 1968.
Moe's Curried Soul, 1970.
Moe Koffman Plays Bach, 1971.
Vivaldi's Four Seasons, 1972.
Master Sessions, 1973.
Sorcerer's Dance, 1973.
Solar Explorations, 1974.
Best Of Moe Koffman, 1975.
Live At George's, 1975.
Jungle Man, 1976.
Museum Pieces, 1977.
Things Are Looking Up, 1978.
Back To Bach, 1979.
Best Of Moe Koffman Volume I, 1983.
Best Of Moe Koffman Volume II, 1983.
If You Don't Know Me By Now, 1983.
The Magic Flute, 1985.
One Moe Time, 1986.
Moe-Mentum, 1987.
Oop-Pop-A-Da, 1988.
Moe Koffman Quintet Plays, 1990.
Music For The Night: Symphonic, Chamber & Pop Interpretations Of The Music
Of Andrew Lloyd Webber, 1991.
The Moe Koffman Collection, 1992.
'1967,' 1993.

Flute Pickups

Brooks Blanchard writes “I play an Emerson open hole with a b foot. I’ve looking for this flute pickup from Aungles since i saw one in N.Y. last year. They even had a web site but I can’t find it under any of the expected addresses. It sounded good live and the woman playing it said that it was under $100. Do you know anything about this or is there another pickup that you would recomend for loud stage situations.”

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