On The Hunt For A Bass Clarinet, Legendary Guitarist Herb Ellis Passes at 88

swamp goonHello, good morning, and welcome to the Saturday Morning News Post!

Readers, I am a man on a hunt, a hunt for a good bass clarinet that won’t break the bank.

For almost TWO YEARS now I have set my web browser’s homepage to “Ebay: bass clarinets, sort from highest price to lowest” and so far I have found no deals whatsoever. In fact, I haven’t found anyone selling the kind of horn I’m looking for at all.

I check various city’s Craig’s Lists from time to time, I ask around and routinely make phone calls to music stores throughout the country. Two years later, I have nothing to show for it. WTF?! It’s just a bass clarinet for Christ’s sake! How fucking sought after could they be!? I feel like I’m trying to track down the Loch Ness Monster here!

So before I pursue this instrument Mel Gibson “Ransom” styleransom, I’m going to put it forth to the Universe via the SMNP, here’s what I’m looking for:

A preferably used, low Eb professional bass clarinet of either of these models: the Buffet “Prestige”, the Selmer 65 “Privilege”, the Selmer “35”, or maybe a Yamaha “YCL-621”.

So there you have it, if you have any leads on this search then please drop me a line either in the comments section or at james@jamesdanderfer.com

In other news, legendary guitarist Herb Ellis passed away last Sunday at the age of 88. A beautiful musician and the last remaining member of one of Oscar Peterson’s most famous trios. I had the pleasure of seeing Herb perform twice, the second time was at Vancouver restaurant/jazz club called Rossini’s where I was washing dishes one Summer. I had been looking forward to hearing that show for months but like a complete idiot didn’t think about how busy I’d be doing dishes for a sold out show. So when I say I had the pleasure of seeing Herb perform twice, in that particular instance I really meant “seeing” as opposed to “hearing” since the only thing I could hear was the washing machine, the clatter of dishes stacking up to eye level and a very angry line cook shouting at me in a barely intelligible Indian accent to stop looking at the band and go fetch him a couple more steaks from the fridge. I did however, manage to hear Herb’s version of Duke Ellington’s “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be” and it was great.

However, the music that I will always most strongly associate with Herb Ellis is one of my favourite albums of all time: “Stan Getz with the Oscar Peterson trio” Stan&Oscar

Herb’s role on this album isn’t dominating either, his playing is poignant, supportive, subtle and just fits like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle into what has got to be one the most swinging and melodic jazz recordings of all time. Thanks for the music Herb!

Happy Easter if you celebrate it, Happy Long Weekend if you don’t! Have a great week everybody! jd

  • Chops Grande

    I think I remember the other time you saw Herb Ellis because I was there. Didn’t we see him at the Alma Street Cafe? Man that was such a great place for few years in the late 80’s early 90’s. What were we 14, 15 years old, sitting five feet from the music spending no more than 5 dollars on tea and a piece of cake. No wonder that place didn’t make any money, they let kids like us sit there all night not spending any money. We would have our parents drop us off (we were barely in high school) and literally sit there for 3-4hours and spend 5 bucks. It was great for us, not good for business. We saw Oliver Gannon, Fraser McPherson, George Robert, Seamus Blake (he must have been 19-20) Hugh Fraser, Campbell Rega, Ross Tagart,and the list goes on. Those were formative years. Did anyone else reading this post go to the Alma? Better yet, did anyone else see Herb Ellis there? If you did, James and I were the two spindle-shanked teenagers in the corner sipping tea. Ah….good times.

  • http://jamesdanderfer.com james

    Yes, the Alma Street Cafe, what a gold mine for up and coming musicians. Special mention goes to June Katz (and to Jeff later on) for making young students of the music feel so welcome even though, as you said, we weren’t spending shit. How did we make a cup of tea and a piece of cheesecake last for 3 hours?!

  • http://www.johndoheny.com John Doheny

    I saw Diane Krall at the Alma, in a duo with Russ Botton. Most of the customers ignored her and chattered through the ballads. No doubt some of those same people pay a hundred bucks a ticket to see her at the Orpheum now. Go figure.

  • Amanda Zhao

    I saw Quincy Jones in JZ Club in Shanghai 3 years ago and i shook hand with a guy who just shook hands with him 5 minutes ago. Does that count?:-) Quincy Jones did said something to me though.”Excuse me.” Because i blocked his way.:-(