Monday, October 29, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- Harold Ashby...Zoot Sims...Al Cohn & Frank Tiberi. The art of tenor saxophone mastery & a dash of clarinet legend Willie Humphrey

Here are some masters that are like polished gemstones.Any student of the music worth their salt should be in contact with these styles- no matter what you play style wise.They might not be on the cover of music magazines, but they are so solid, so satisfying. Each of them centers around total command of the music- and style. As well as, larger than life.Harold Ashby,Zoot Sims,Frank Tiberi, Al Cohn and Willie Huphrey. Search...their careers and study them. Discover!
Each of these masters are always hitting his stride every time the reed hits their mouth.There the usual brilliance,enjoyable and entertaining as anything now or then.I was lucky to know Harold really well, did a feature article on him in Saxophone Journal decades ago. When it came out...he calls me and asks for the editors number as to order some extra copys for PR. I told him I'd try to get him as many as he wanted...he said he wanted 25. So I got him half-dozen & he calls the editor & gets 25 as well. So I had to know...I asked him " got over 30 copys of the entire magazine..."....he answers me..." Yeh, I got an agenda Tim." WE SHOULD ALL...Have an agenda like Harold Ashby! Another time...I caught him in a outside concert with Illinois Jacquets Big Band. ( Other saxes were Rudy Rutherford,Hugh Brodie etc ) of course Jacquet sounded amazing...but Harold only got one solo...that had a back beat scuffle. As soon as I caught it that he was going to solo...I knew he was going to rock the house & kick ass. And that he did...he had the joint poppin' & jumpin in the outside park. I'll never forget that too. He was roommates with Ben Webster in NYC in the day, and spoke highly of Joe Zawinul & Ben getting together every day to run down standard tunes- to come up with some stuff on them. That sais something very important. The was pre-Cannonball for Zawinul. His solos with Duke Ellington are landmarks in the Ellingtone band. Also- his days on CHESS records in Chicago/ as a hired soloist etc....playing the blues.I always loved Zoot Sims, Al Cohn and of course Frank Tiberi.Inspiring!Willie Huphrey is a saint...sent to this earth to knock us out.One of the most unique and personal players on clarinet ever.
These are memorable characters so that are deeply inspiring.But besides that,are just a great. Search them out on, download, buy and study.Search you tube for them- they are a lesson.
IN ADDITION- Willie Huphrey.You want to hear clarinet by a player who transcends everything...and is one of the greatest ever? Listen to him. Willie James Humphrey (December 29, 1900 – June 7, 1994) was a New Orleans jazz clarinetist. Willie Humphrey was born in a musical family, the son of prominent local clarinetist and music teacher Willie Eli Humphrey; his brothers Earl Humphrey and Percy Humphrey also became well known professional musicians. After establishing himself with such New Orleans bands as the Excelsior and George McCullum's band, Humphrey traveled up north, playing with such other New Orleans musicians as Lawrence Duhé, and King Oliver in Chicago (Photos show Humphrey with Duhé's band playing in the stands for the infamous 1919 World Series). In Saint Louis, Missouri in the 1920s he made his first recordings. Back in New Orleans, he played for many years with the Eureka and Young Tuxedo Brass bands, the bands of Paul Barbarin and Sweet Emma Barrett, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
~~These are some of my many hero's in life/music.Knowing their music....hearing them live made a huge difference in my life. Do check them out. ~~ TIM PRICE


  1. Tim:

    Another great article Tim as was the one about Don Byas. I saw Zoot and Al play in Baltimore back in the 80's. They both always played with a warm sound with melodic improvisations and a great sense of swing.

    I actually spoke to Zoot briefly as he and his wife Louise were walking around after Zoot and Al's set. He was very approachable and nice as pie.

    I heard Frank Tiberi wen Woody's band came to Baltimore. Again another great player. Same for Harold Asby. I've only heard Harold on recordings but he was very close to Ben Webster's sound. Just another great player.

    I never heard Willie Humphrey but I'll have to check him out.

    Tommy Newsom told that when he lived in NYC he used to go to the Half Note to hear Zoot & Al. He said they swung that place out. Tommy also had a very large photo of Zoot & Al in his music room at his house in Portsmouth, VA.

    Well take.Oh btw my trio and I will be playing this Sat night at the Night of the Iguana restaurant in Norfolk, VA. We will be playing the Great American Songbook.

    Take care,

    Larry W

  2. Tim:

    I met Hugh Brodie at the New Village Gate in NYC back in the late 90's when my Navy Band was in town for an event. He played GREAT. We talked for a bit and were in touch for a while but sadly we lost touch.

    Do you or does anyone out there know if Hugh is still alive and does he have a web site?