Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Dark Side Reassessed

A note about last week's post. It was the first time I was ever critical of another player, though it was mostly Pepper's criticism that I was expressing. I was interested in hearing about Brignola, but I did it in the wrong way. Going to the dark side really isn't my thing but I tried it as an experiment. I rarely get any responses so I figured I'd try polemics and see what happens. Personally, I was also having a very tough week. I've gotten enough criticism to not do it again. Thanks to everyone for sharing your feedback. 

I've gotten a pushback once before about sharing Pepper's personal views. That was regarding his dislike of Serge Chaloff's playing. More about last week's post, a friend pointed this out: "Your blog leaves the impression that men like Brignola and Haynes were somehow lame players compared to Adams, when in fact they were merely different players. Pepper comes off as mean-spirited and somewhat petty as a result." That's certainly not my intent. Pepper was a very gracious person who kept his opinions to himself and a select group of friends.

My friend contunes: "Granted that Pepper's approach was the most technical and the most harmonically advanced of all the modern baritone players, but Brignola was much more than just a "licks player." Even if Nick's rhythm patterns were more straight ahead, he certainly swung strongly at all times, no mean accomplishment on that big saxophone. The fact is that ALL jazz artists assemble a number of "licks" that they make their own and then, as is the case with both Nick and Pepper, they make creative use of them as they generate their own unique solo statements. Surely you recognize that Pepper had many of his own "licks," more often ascending and descending patterns of fourths, that other baritone players still quote to this day."

He concludes about Brignola: "His rhythm feel is the best of all the baritone guys, just as Mulligan's ballad playing is in a class by itself, a class that, quite frankly, Pepper never quite achieved, though his ballad work was wonderful. There is enough room in the jazz world for lots of different players contributing their own unique visions. Pepper was the best at what he did and it is only right that you have dedicated your website to celebrate his achievement. But there is no need for any implied belittlement of his competitors."