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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000149.txt from 2004/10

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: RE: [kl] Clarinet popularity was:
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004 23:42:59 -0400

At 10:12 AM 10/5/2004 -0500, R. Williams wrote:
>Although I'm coming to this discussion late, one thing I keep hearing in
>regards to the situation in the US is the lack of opportunities in HS for
>clarinet players outside concert band or specifically the lack of
>clarinets in HS Jazz Band/ensembles.
>I've heard and read various explanations for this. A common one which
>seem prevalent in the mid-west is that clarinets cannot be heard over a
>Jazz band. I assume this originates from the same conference or source
>since the originator must have ignored Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Eddie
>Daniels, Pete Fountain and others who play/played over jazz bands quite
>The other comment I've heard on rarer occasion is that the clarinet is not
>a jazz instrument. Evidently the above artists were not informed of this
>fact nor were the authors of a wealth of literature featuring the clarinet
>in Dixieland and swing....g

The clarinet did not make the transition to bop, Buddy DeFranco
excepted. Don't really know why, but that's the way it is. It got
relegated to the Dixieland revival movement instead and became mired in
that backwater.

>What I do see as a likely answer is the lack of current arrangements for
>jazz ensembles featuring the clarinet. As to which occurred first, I don't
>know. Did composers stop writing for the clarinet or were clarinets
>disappearing and composers simply writing to their market? Either way, I
>would think if arrangements and compositions began appearing in number
>which made use of the clarinets versatility and flexibility, then band
>directors would begin to incorporate them into the ensemble and clarinets
>would be "cool" once more.. But without the charts, I don't think it is
>going to happen. I mean it is pretty bad when you see a chart of Sing
>Sing Sing which features a solo tenor sax in place of the clarinet. Rest
>in Peace Benny.

Another reason clarinet is not included in current jazz ensemble writing is
the amplification of the bass and guitar to the point where it can no
longer compete over the din. And doubling is not currently encouraged
enough in the schools. Time was saxists in a jazz band were ASSUMED to
double clarinet. And clarinetists, like Benny Goodman, could hold their
own as saxists (Artie Shaw and Peanuts Hucko were saxists FIRST, who later
took up or specialized on clarinet). The loss is a shame, as the clarinet,
and especially section clarinet work, adds such a nice additional voice to
the ensemble! But you have to play OLD arrangements to get any of that.

Bill Hausmann

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is TOO LOUD!

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