On Saxophonist Steve Grossman with Jonathan Beckett (2012)

DL: Hello brother, what’s doin’?

JB: Hey David, this is Jonathan Beckett calling you back about the Grossman thesis

DL: Let’s do it.

JB. Okay. First of all, what would you say about the overall influence of Grossman and yourself, which is considered iconic by so many saxophonist in particular? And especially in Steve’s case since he remains under the radar for a lot of people.

DL: We were, probably by a matter of age, time and place at the right moment to be referenced to as post-Coltrane players, much like those saxophonists who followed Bird, like Sonny Stitt, Phi Woods and Cannonball. Somebody like Bird or Trane are massive influences leaving such a body of music that young guys naturally look at the strongest influence around and try to get into it. So we absorbed that language as best we could. We didn’t have a pedagogical approach. Those scenarios, what we would consider academic training which is so prevalent now (schooling) didn’t exist much at the time, with exceptions of course. The two of us really didn’t speak much about it. Somehow we ended up both playing in a similar vein, coming out of Coltrane, but in our case with an emphasis on different periods of Coltrane in some cases. Steve was very adept at playing the mid Coltrane quartet “Afro Blue”/ “Impressions” kind of way while I enjoyed late Trane like “Meditations” “Kulu Se Mama” “Expressions,” the free stage of Trane. It’s interesting that several guys at the time each covered one area of Trane. Like Bob Berg played the older Trane style, Michael Brecker did the “Impressions” style and so on. John left us so much to absorb. In Steve’s and my case we were in the right place at the right time since both of us ended up playing with Elvin Jones and Miles Davis in the early ‘70s.

JB: Oh, okay. You have written extensively about your family upbringing and influences. Do you know anything about Grossman’s situation? You had mentioned that he got a lot from his brother Hal.

DL: Well, I didn’t have that much music in the home, definitely not jazz. My father liked classical. My mother played hobby piano. In Steve’s case Hal was a trumpet player who taught at Berklee in Boston and appears to have been a major influence on Steve. I don’t know if I have this right but rumor says that when he was, as an eight, nine, ten year old, he stayed downstairs in the studio where they lived and was told by Hal “do this until you can get it done.” That was Bird of course. There’s no question that by the time Steve was fifteen/sixteen when I met him, he was already burning up Coltrane and could play a few instruments, drums, trumpet, as well as bass. He was kind of a prodigy. And at that time, that was not so common as it is now, these prodigies. It’s a thrown-around word, but incredible talent at a young age is much more common these days worldwide as we see on You Tube at the least. In those days, if it existed we didn’t know about it. It was unusual to have a teenager be that adept at playing like that.

JB: Can you talk about your initial meeting with him? You talked about how one of your first musical buddies, pianist Mike Garson introduced you.

DL: There were a couple of guys playing together with Mike. There was a drummer named Danny D’Imperio who is still active; a bass player Lanny Fields was another. These guys were in the Army band with Mike. There was also a piano player who played very much like McCoy, Larry Schubert, who I never heard of again and a drummer Jimmy Sutherland who played a lot like Elvin. I don’t know how Steve got involved with them but Mike said told me about jam sessions they were having at the Army base in Staten Island and there’s this young guy who plays amazing. So I went. At this time I could just about play. I had no training. I was doing it by ear, by trial and error, and here was this guy several years younger than me who was killing! And if I remember right, he was a little arrogant. He knew he was good. I may have attended a few more jam sessions with him and so forth. I don’t remember the order of events. By then which has to be at least ’68 or ’69, I started living in Manhattan in a loft. I don’t remember the specific sequence of events but Steve and I made peace. I remember going to his house in Long Island, sitting on the bed in his bedroom and getting it together. You know, we both loved Coltrane. We were better together than not, kind of thinking Eric Dolphy or later Pharoah Sanders with Trane, two saxophonists in combat so to say. We made up and become friends and started to play together. He was going to Julliard at the time, but became a fixture in my loft. He was there all the time. He would go to school, come over, we’d hang……you know, smoke a joint or do something…play all day and night. The door was always open to musicians and it was quite an active center on West 19th street in Chelsea between 6th and 7th Ave. Eventually Chick Corea and Dave Holland lived in the building. So, you know, this all lead to the next years with Miles and Elvin for both of us. But that was the beginning of it in the loft. There was no question that Steve was just an extremely talented prodigy.

JB: You had talked about the jam sessions over at George Cables’ house and meeting Lenny White…about when was that?

DL: Right. Somehow Steve got involved with Lenny and George. On occasion there was a trumpet player Alex Rodriquez…Mexican cat I believe. He was killin’. So besides the loft we would play in George Cables’ basement. Lenny was very young. I used him on a gig at NYU where I was going to college and then six months later he was playing on Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay.” I remember that very clearly. So this was the circle of people we hung out with. We sometimes played Saturday afternoons at the club called Slugs in the East Village (where later on Lee Morgan got shot). In ’69 we did a night at “The Scene” a very famous rock club and that’s when Miles came down. I think Dave and Chick were in his band already. Holland played with us that afternoon at The Scene in a double quartet: Cables, Lanny Fields and Dave Holland on bass, Bob Moses and Lenny White on drums, Steve and myself on sax. I remember it well cause Miles took us outside on the street to show us bullet holes in his red Ferrari from the shooting that happened in Brookyn to him around that time, maybe the night before even. Anyway, Miles hired Steve, so that’s I think late ’68 or ’69 which you look up. So there was Steve taking Wayne Shorter’s place!!

JB: Was that a Free Life Communication gig at the club that day with Miles?

DL: It was the beginning of that whole scene. Whether it was under the umbrella of Free Life or not I don’t remember but that was the time I was putting together Free Life. And of course mention must be made concerning the style we played in those days which was free jazz, very much based off the “Ascension” model……a lot of ongoing group playing, not much individual soloing, mostly free time with no pulse and definitely no chord changes. That’s the kind of stuff we were playing up in the loft and what interested me and a lot of cats at that time. It would change within the next few years obviously. But that was a special period, you know. Free Life Communication was a cooperative that I helped from and lead for a few years with the idea being that we need to go out and play for people, not just in the lofts for ourselves. Also we were quite “hippied” out. This was the late ‘60s…Vietnam, LSD, etc, etc.…1968, all the riots and everything. We were not immune to what was going on around us. In our jazz-type way, we were a bunch of basically middle class white guys, mostly Italian and Jewish, New York based in a lot of cases. Some had come from other places like Randy Brecker from Philly. We were just trying to make out, you know, playing together what we considered hot at the time which was free jazz. It’s like a guy getting up now and playing whatever the latest new young guy plays. That was the equivalent in those days, playing in the “Ascension” model.

JB: So in your loft on 19th street you had Chick Corea and Dave Holland both living in the building at the same time. Did you guys all jam together, were you just kind of living separately, how was the intermingling?

DL: There was quite a bit of mixing going on. You know, they’d pop upstairs or I might go downstairs to play with Chick. There was a lot of interaction. We were also all into macrobiotic diets baking bread at the same time each day and so forth. There were a lot of common interests. Miles even came over one night. Dave and Chick made dinner for him and of course I was there. There was a lot of activity…yoga…that was the beginning of Chick going into Scientology, Indian philoophy and so on. We were living the life of artists, young artists in Manhattan at a very low economical level but workable, going to clubs and jam sessions hanging out all night. That was the life at that time for us like “La Boheme” or “Rent” have depicted to the straight world. I was twenty-three, four, five years old. We were in our twenties.

JB: Gene Perla also had a loft, and so did Bob Moses who introduced you to the loft thing. Were you guys going to each other’s lofts and playing?

DL: Absolutely. Gene was down by the Fulton Street fish market, Jefferson Street I believe. Bob Moses had a loft on Bleecker St. near the Bowery for a while. There was a lot of interaction in at least these three lofts. There were others going on. There was one called “Sunrise Studio.” In fact if you go to my web site there’s an article about Sunrise by the guy who ran it, drummer Mike Mahaffay. There was a lot of activity in loft situations because as I’m sure you know now from doing your research they were not great livable situations as far as comforts go located in industrial areas of Manhattan, but you had your basic plumbing, refrigerator, stove etc., so you could live there and play all night. That was the whole point.

JB: Was Grossman actually in Free Life Communication?

DL: Definitely. He was part of all the we did, many of which I have on tape. A lot of the sessions were with me, Steve, Moses, and Lanny Fields playing quartet. That scenario happened a lot. Other notables were Randy Brecker, Teramasu Hino, Al Foster, Lenny White, Gene Perla, pianist Karl Schroeder and more. There were a lot of guys. At one point in Free Life we had sixty people. It was an exciting period. Historically, you have to remember that rock subsumed everything around it. I’m talking the Beatles, Joplin, Hendrix, the Cream and so on. That time was the height of the creative period of rock, really. The press and general interest from the outside world was focused on rock. When Coltrane died in ‘67, that ended a chapter. Then like clockwork Miles started the fusion thing and the beginning of a new chapter in jazz began, but definitely NOT free jazz which was relegated to the sidelines after its explosion in the ‘60s. We were young guys. It was a bad period for jazz. So we were kind of a like a counter/counter culture, trying to play free jazz which was completely non-commercial for what was a little, if any audience. So it was a little bit of an “us versus them” kind of thing. I mean, we weren’t playing straight ahead jazz which itself wasn’t doing that great in the late ‘60s. Like I said not much in jazz, outside of historical stars like Ellington, Ella, etc., was not going well. We weren’t ready to cross over to rock. But then of course once we heard and saw “Bitches Brew” which obviously with Chick and Dave living in the same building I saw on a nightly basis, I could see what was going on. “Blood, Sweat and Tears” “Chicago” and so forth started happening. This now became the next wave…we could and would go on to play this fusion stuff.

JB: So, do you have any particular recollections of Grossman’s time with Miles? Of course that was before you were with Miles.

DL: Well, I know I saw them play several times and all I remember is Steve was always standing in the back, I don’t know why. Miles would finish a solo and Steve would kind of saunter up to the microphone. You know, It could take a couple of bars…I don’t know, but I think it bugged Miles. You have to remember in those days nobody talked about things. There could be something Miles wanted to say to someone, but it would go unheard or just a few words uttered to decipher, at least in Miles’ case. I don’t know for sure about Steve and Miles but from my experience with guys from the bebop generation, much was left unsaid or just hinted at possibly, meaning you had to figure out what the f—was going on in the guy’s head. In any case Miles wasn’t the kind of guy to communicate like that. Everything was innuendo. Steve apparently liked standing behind Jack. Miles would finish suddenly as he would do often—just stop in the middle of a phrase. Steve would have to weave his way through all the wires, because they had an electric piano, an electric bass, Airto with his stuff and so on, hence quite crowded on small stages. I don’t know why he would do that. You have to note that this band with Chick and Dave had not been so well recorded, although they just released the full Fillmore tapes finally. In some ways it could have been the best band Miles ever had. It was so free, so exciting. And very loud with a lot of the free jazz influence I was referring to earlier that found its way there with Chick, Jack DeJonette and Dave particularly. When Miles would play the cats would put down a backbeat type thing. Then Steve (or Wayne before) would come on and those guys would go completely crazy and basically cover the saxophone up!! Especially Steve. It was like he wasn’t there. They would get so loud with the electric piano, and Jack playing at the top of his game. I just remember often not being able to hear Steve too much. I don’t know if he had a pick-up or not, I don’t remember. But of course you do have the recordings “Jack Johnson” for example and again “Live at the Fillmore.” You can hear how Steve played and he was definitely on to something that was not Wayne, not Trane. It was him, a certain way of playing lines, quite repetitive but unique at the time. He was snaking around the intervals and so forth. It was really happening. It just wasn’t very clearly heard. I don’t think it was on purpose but it appeared they didn’t pay much attention to Steve when he soloed. I always thought they were kind of ignoring him.

JB: Do you think the “replacing Wayne Shorter” aspect of it had anything to do with it, and of course race…Miles was using white guys…?

DL: Well, remember that Chick and Dave [Holland] are not black either. With Wayne, he had been with Miles already five years or so meaning I don’t think Chick and Dave were bonding with Wayne so quickly. On the positive side on what may have been his first recording as a leader, “The Sun” features Jack, Dave and Chick in some wild free stuff for a Japanese label. They play my tune “Slumber” for twenty minutes, completely free. I mean, that was what was going on. So whether they covered him up because of ignoring him or because they just heard the way they heard, I can’t tell you. All I know is when you went to hear them live at the Village Gate for example, it was impossible to hear Steve cut through the cacophony.

JB: What about the soprano thing? By that time Grossman was playing almost exclusively tenor, but Miles was making him play soprano.

DL: Well, I don’t know if Miles ever said anything to him. Miles never said anything to me about which instruments to use. I don’t think that’s the case. It was just Steve…what he wanted to do. But you have to remember with that volume and that kind of sound on stage the soprano had a lot better chance of cutting through which I found out to be true when I got with Miles.

JB: How did you guys hear yourself when you were playing? Even with Elvin, in a smaller situation not electric…

DL: You didn’t hear yourself a lot. It was hard. And I tell you it took me a long time, especially because Elvin was first for me before Miles. Elvin was loud when he wanted to be. He wasn’t always loud. He had amazing control of dynamics. In fact some of his brush playing was among the softest of anybody I’ve ever heard when he wanted to, especially for the melody chorus of a ballad which we played every night by the way….two times a night!! But as we know from the Coltrane band, Elvin could be loud. At the Village Vanguard where we played a lot there were no monitors and the loudspeakers were in front of the stage. I looked at Joe Farrell when I first joined Elvin and said to myself: “Look at him. He doesn’t stress, he doesn’t strain, he doesn’t push anything!” My problem was, as soon as it got loud I’d get more intense… and that leads to some technical problems like overblowing, out of tune, blah blah blah. It took me a while to just get to the point where you’ve got to tune in and hear yourself no matter what. Now, Miles’ thing it was of course different, first of all stylistically as a premise, with the rock vibe going on. I had seven hundred watts or whatever from those Marshall amps that I was plugged into. I could sort of sometimes hear myself, but that was an extremely loud band. It was the loudest band I’ve ever heard, let alone played with when I was with Miles.

JB: About the Elvin gig, you recorded first and then you joined the band some months later. Do you remember the circumstances of Grossman joining the band and how the so-called “Lighthouse” group came together?

DL: Gene Perla got the gig for us. He took Wilbur Little’s place. When Gene got the gig he said to me he was going to get me and Steve on the band…simple as that. I don’t remember the details but within about six months of Gene being there, I got the call that I’ve written about it a lot. The basic story is I “auditioned” at Slugs and then Elvin invited me to play on the recording “Genesis” the next week. Then it was a six month period before I actually joined the band. When I joined, by that time Joe Farrell was on his way out. Other saxophone players would be on the gig like it could be Frank Foster, George Coleman, Clifford Jordan. It varied among those three, with me and Perla, a quartet. Pianist Jan Hammer did a couple of gigs and if I recall Chick was on a few. With Steve and Elvin, it seems that Gross was sitting in with Elvin’s group at a club across the street from where the famous Half Note Club was located, called Pookie’s Pub. Elvin was ensconced there in the late ‘60s getting his music together with Joe Farrell and Jimmy Garrison, sometimes with McCoy playing also. So Elvin knew Steve. Somehow, Gene did get me and Steve together with Jones . What has become known as the “Lighthouse” band (title of live recording) went on for the next two years more or so. It was perfect, because Steve and I and Gene were compadrés. Then Don Alias joined on congas, another soul mate, especially with Gene. He was in the band for six to nine months I think, although there are no known recordings of it. The trio “Stone Alliance” grew out of this conglomeration, which I would play with from time to time. This was all a circle of people in contact with each other over the past few years in the lofts and sessions around New York. It was great when we ended up with Elvin, because here we were, three guys that enjoyed each other, and now had musical time together in a band with the greatest drummer in the world, following in Coltrane’s shadow, so to say. So it was quite something, actually. It was really a confluence of events.

JB: I think Gene Perla had said that he thought Grossman joined in the Ottawa gig that was in Christmas of 1971.

DL: I don’t know if that was the first gig, but I certainly remember Ottawa from some incidents that happened and the weather. He might have, but I don’t remember the exact gig that Steve joined.

JB: One thing I wanted to ask you about is this whole macho “tenor players” thing. What defines a “tenor player” and playing with the big balls attitude?

DL: Well, it’s the New York sound. You got Texas tenor: Arnette Cobb…Ornette comes out of that with a heavy blues feeling. You have Chicago: Joe Dailey, Johnny Griffin, Gene Ammons and then you have the East coast: Italian, Jewish guys, Stan Getz, Sal Nistico, Newk and of course the African American influence. Tenor was in a certain way THE instrument of jazz for so many decades, at least one of the most important for stylistic development form Hawk onward. Tenor being really not a difficult instrument made it easier to attain a personal sound pretty quickly. I’m not saying “easy” per se but easier than other instruments. You had a lot of different styles on that horn. What you’re referring to I would say is very endemic of New York…that hard burning, intense blowing style. The New York thing had some blues influence, but not as pronounced as the Midwest and South. On the other hand the tenor was an important vehicle for the avant-garde influence of course…..like the whole screaming crazy tenor stuff you hear from Pharoah Saunders, Archie Shepp and all those guys. Albert Ayler personified it, though interestingly these guys were not from New York. However they all ended up in the Apple to do their music and be with like-minded musicians. So that was kind of a New York saxophone legacy I would say.

JB: Do you have any thoughts on the nature versus nurture thing. I mean as far as what can be perceived as natural talent versus just working your ass off?

DL: Well, you know, I think everyone has a certain percentage of both. Some people come into the planet with a lot of good musical genes: they can hear, they can play in rhythm, they have good memory and so on, a particular aptitude. Outstanding examples of this historically are of course Mozart, or in jazz, Tony Williams, and Steve in a sense. But then there are other guys who maybe have a different way of looking at it. Like my case, I just loved the music. I didn’t have an incredible amount of natural talent. I had some but most of all I knew what I was doing, which took me awhile to get the together. I loved it and I had a lot of intensity so I made up for weaknesses in that respect. I think that the “nature versus nurture” thing is different for every person on the planet, depending on what they end up doing and what they are interested in, how they perceive things and how they fulfill their dreams. It’s easy to talk about in retrospect when you see somebody who is accomplished in a field and say: “They came onto the planet like that and they were natural.” Maybe so, but the truth is, it’s going to be a combination of everything. If it’s 50/50 that’s one thing, but it is hard to analyze because anybody you talk to would look at their lives in a different way years on. To make a really objective study of that would be very interesting. “This guy came in with 52% of nature and 42% of whatever [laughs].” I don’t think that it can be measured scientifically. However we can imagine what it might have been.

JB: I was wondering if there is anything specific you can say about perhaps what Grossman could have done to enhance his reputation? I mean, he obviously kind of went over the edge with self-indulgent behavior.

DL: Well, that’s it! That is what happened. I don’t know musically if he made a conscious decision to go back into the bebop thing, particularly Sonny Rollins’ playing of the ‘50s or if it just happened. Questions of lifestyle and living in Europe for decades factor in also. It’s complicated so it seems. You’d have to ask him. He definitely had a way of playing that was unique. He was the best of all of us. We, the tenor players of that time from our generation all acknowledged that. Those of us still alive from then would still say that Steve was the one that had the most going on. It’s like if you came up in the ‘90s you had Chris Potter to contend with, super whiz kid stuff. Steve was the most innovative at the time and the most accomplished. How it ended up, or how it is now what he’s been playing the last decades has baffled almost everybody who would be part of my observation. Why and how, and what happened we don’t know. There was a feeling he went backward or stopped. On the other hand, he’s such a great player that it doesn’t matter what he plays. I mean he could play a nail and it would be great. What a guy chooses to play is his decision and it’s his prerogative to do what he wants. It’s not a judgment call to me, it’s just mystifying and baffling that he did not go further on. I don’t know what direction that could’ve been but some kind of more individual direction than what it appears he ended up playing like. I can’t tell you how he’s playing today, so who knows. Again I’m not judging him, it’s just that he was the one we were looking at and then he kind of, well not dropped the ball, but just went in what seems to have been a radical direction.

JB: You talked about the lines and the intervals that you guys used. Is there anything else musically specific that you can say constituted the gist of his style?

DL: Well, of course we were all interested in pentatonic scales and half stepping up or down from the original chord what is referred to as “side-slipping” by the way. There was a lot of close interval work with me and Steve, half-steps, seconds and minor thirds. That’s a lot of the note content. The time feel was very evened out—much less of a dotted eighth/sixteenth scene, with more of an even triplet kind of a feel. Certainly the use of the altissimo which Coltrane obviously brought into play was crucial. In our present period use of the altissimo register has gone through the roof with Potter and Mark Turner type guys. We used the altissimo more as an emotional highlight, whereas now it is truly a third register. Also phrasing-wise there was a lot of legato, less hard tonguing in the accent department. These are things that I perceive in our playing when I hear back stuff from the ‘70s, but again we never really discussed anything technical. It all changed, as jazz always does and has morphed into something else. Whether these were new or innovative aspects at the time I don’t know, but these were things that Steve and I were both interested in at the same time it appears.

JB: It just seems that there’s the perception that Coltrane covered it all, and that’s certainly true to a point, but how to you continue that legacy and make it more?

DL: You gotta know who you are. You gotta face it and get down with what it is that you do. And you can’t just do things by habit that work because they’re easy. You have to question yourself every step of the way. I mean, I’m starting a new band now after twenty plus years with the same group. I’m sixty six years old. That’s not something guys usually do. I mean, you can’t stand still, and if you find a way of questioning yourself and push into different circles you have the chance at least of finding something musically that’s yours. There was a lot of water under the bridge for a saxophone player in 1967 when Coltrane died. You could have stopped right there. I’m not going to say that there hasn’t been anything developed since then, but nothing to the extent of what Coltrane did, at least as one person. And if you put Coltrane and Sonny Rollins together with Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson you pretty much have it covered playing saxophone in a quote “jazz style.” Things have changed and morphed but a lot of the actual musical content is still the same, rhythmic ideas notwithstanding. If you are somebody who has looked to the past to learn in order to be proficient in the field, so to say “paid your dues,” then the time comes when you start to look inside yourself and say what is it that I do best? Is there something that I can contribute that’s “me” even if it’s just a way to play one note….something…and develop it to make something out of it?

JB: One thing about Coltrane was that he was on the scene at a certain time in history, a convergence of the trajectory of the music as well as what was happening in society. How much do you think that his music reflected actually what was happening in society as opposed to just taking the music farther?

DL: There are two things. First of all, musically he came at a time and Miles to a certain extent the same, when things were already set in place harmonically meaning it was time to explore scales per se, intervals, pentatonics, the whole tone scale, the diminished scale and onward. It was time to work on those scales which of course were around from the classical world way before in the 20th century, but not in an improvised music with the kind of rhythm that jazz demands. These guys mentioned above were JAZZ musicians, no hybrids. This period of exploration particularly in the ‘60s marks kind of the end of pure jazz in a certain way. This is another discussion by the way. As far as the context goes, obviously Trane was an African-American from the South. We know he was very mild-mannered, a soft-spoken kind of a guy. But you couldn’t be alive in those days and not know what was going on with the civil rights movement apparently evidenced in tunes like “Afro Blue” “Alabama” “Up Against The Wall.” Coltrane had his head up in the air. But in some ways his head was also in the sand. He had both going on. He had to be intensely focused to have traversed so quickly through so many stylistic changes in a twelve year period from 1955-67. The later free jazz thing was a radical departure from what came before musically with a certain component of black nationalism attached to it. Whether he felt that way or espoused it, I can’t tell you, but it was in the air. There was no question about that. Free jazz a’ la “Ascension” “Om” “Expression” were on the plate musically, but also socially, politically, culturally.

JB: One more question. I just wanted to ask you about Joe Allard. You guys were both students of his.

What was the influence?

DL: Joe was the guru of the saxophone beyond category. He taught classical and jazz. He didn’t care really. Joe taught you the principles of blowing. His thing was in the end a ten-minute lesson, just… blown up. His mantra was don’t do anything that messes up the natural proclivity of the voice to project itself into the saxophone. Playing the saxophone is an extension of the vocal cords. Literally it almost looks like it is. Check it out……the horn actually goes INTO your mouth which no other instrument does. It’s literally an extension of the vocal cords and vocalizing, which we do every day when we talk, let alone sing. Don’t let the embouchure and the lips and the teeth and all that stuff get in the way leading to tension making it harder to produce the sound you have in your head and the ability to be musical. Joe was like a doctor you went to for an overview of where you were at. And he had the analysis in hand: relax, relax, don’t do this, do this, do that…through practicing the overtone series, through correct breathing…through the right position of your tongue and bottom lip and so forth. He had some technical things he insisted on, but the point was to be free of any encumbrances that block the naturalness of playing the saxophone. There’s no reason to make it any more than that. Just get rid of bad habits that are impeding the natural flow and you then have a shot at being musical, finding what is your true sound and so forth. it’s up to you what style you want to play. That was his main lesson that in various ways he gave to me, Steve, Michael Brecker, Dave Tofani, Eddie Daniels and countless others. Supposedly Coltrane went to him for a lesson. He was the kind of guy you had to have one lesson with because he kind of fixed you up. To absorb and know it took years. I was a kid. I didn’t understand what he was talking about. It took me ten years to realize what his deal was. The material in my book “Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound” (Dorn Publications) is his stuff amplified and expanded upon.

JB: Again, thank you very much for your time.

DL: My pleasure.