jazz flute players of note

    hubert laws

      Here is a truly amazing jazz musician. Hubert Laws was the first jazz player that I heard play the piccolo with such funk! I was fortunate to hear Laws in concert in the late 70s while a student at San Diego State University (his opening act was a young virtuoso jazz violinist, Noel Pointer, who tragically died at age forty in 1994). As a flute player and, at that time, the solo piccolo soloist with the wind ensemble, I was transfixed with the Laws' tune "The Baron." I proceeded to transcribe the chart and memorize the piccolo head to the tune. Hubert is such a wonderfully melodic soloist - always a pleasure to hear his improvisations.


    herbie mann

      What can I say about Herbie Mann without sounding clichéd? He was the man of the jazz flute. I first heard Herbie Mann when I was a young flute student about age 11. My mother knew I had an interest in jazz so she asked my flute teacher, Fredrick Baker (long-time principal flutist with the San Diego Symphony), where I should be pointed. After assigning me to work on the classic "Tico Tico," he said one name, "Herbie Mann" (perhaps because Mann was really the person that brought the flute into the jazz world...among other very important things that Herbie introduced to the US musical scene).

      Herbie was originally a saxophonist, as are many on this list - and some remain as doublers to this day. As a matter of fact, I took up saxophone in college as well so saxophone was part of my world though I came to it via the opposite route from Mann, Wess, Shank, et al.

      So, my mother went and bought me Mann's Memphis Underground. It just blew me out of the water. Who knew that "Battle Hymn of the Republic" could have so much soul played on the flute...the Hammond B3 in the background didn't hurt. I think I played that LP until it became a slinky! While on a high school trip to Hawaii in 1974 I came upon the London Underground album and again was amazed by Herbie's jazz take on the Rolling Stones' tune "Bitch."

      Every album over the years has had something important to say. I've never been disappointed in his work. I was so saddened to hear of his passing due to cancer in 2003. What a monumental loss. At risk of giving into the cliché - Herbie was THE MAN(N) of jazz flute. He is sorely missed.

      Oh...and if you're male and over forty you should get your PSA checked annually...check out Herbie's site on prostate cancer.

      ..::>> click here <<::..

    jimmy walker

      Jimmy Walker is one of my favorite flute players, jazz or otherwise. Not only did Walker sit as principle flutist with the L.A. Philharmonic but at the same time he was the front-man for the jazz group Free Flight. While I was a doctoral music composition student at the University of Alabama I was introduced to Mr. Walker (as I was a classically trained flute player as well as a "closet" jazzer). I mentioned that I had a set of jazz flute duets. Walker graciously invited me to return that afternoon to read down my duets with him. What a thrill for me. He is truly a gentleman and consummate musician.


    tim weisberg

      Now what jazz flute - rock god wanna be young guy flute player didn't want to be Tim Weisberg in the 70s? He made playing flute cool! I can remember hearing one of Tim's albums at a friend's house while in high school. She had just been given the album for her birthday. This guy filled my need for a jazz-rock flute playing roll model to taut to the trumpet nay-saying colleagues in band (Ian Anderson just didn't fit my musical tastes at the time - though I do dig Jethro Tull these days). Though not "heavy metal," the flute was finally a pipe that was plugged in.

      Later, while in college I was able to see Tim live at the Greek Bowl at San Diego State University. He was the opening act for some non-descript art-rock band. I came to see Weisberg but stayed for a few moments of glitter as the headliners started there show as I had paid the admission price...but quickly got bored. I never forgot the solo flute feature that Tim did with the tape-based Echoplex. Spinning in an hypnotic dervish in synch with the tape he layered line after line. The musical tapestry was amazing even though I had heard this on his LPs. The act of creating such music live was so engaging and reinforced the fact that this was not just studio tape over-dubbing.

      Though I have everyone of his LPs, I have yet to find them all in reprint on CD (found Tim Weisberg 4 at a CD shop on a recent professional trip to South Carolina at the mall in Rock Hill of all places). Someone should put out a boxed set of his work. While checking for information on Tim on the web, I was Sorry to see that there isn't a decent website about Weisberg (couldn't even find a decent photo of him playing flute!).


Jazz Flute Web Sites of Interest