Documentary: Jazz Flute

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Long the mainstay of classical ensembles and orchestras, the flute crossed over to jazz earlier than most people think. It first turned up in ragtime orchestras and marching bands of the late 1800s. Then it was buried in jazz bands for accents or novelty purposes in the 1920s. Crowded out by the clarinet in dance bands of the swing era in the 1930s and '40s, the flute first emerged as a solo jazz instrument in the early 1950s.

An early jazz flute solo by Wayman Carver appeared on a recording by Chick Webb and His Little Chicks in September 1937...



One of the first flutists to record in the post-war period was Albert Socarras. Here he is with Babs Gonzales (and Sonny Rollins and J.J. Johnson)...



And the first soloist in the post-war years was Jerome Richardson with Lionel Hampton Quintet in January 1950. Here's There Will Never Be Another You...



One of the first jazz flute leadership sides was Sam Most's Undercurrent Blues from Introducing a New Star—four sides of two Prestige 45s recorded in October 1952. Here's Undercurrent Blues, with Doug Mettome (tp) Sam Most (cl,fl) Dick Hyman (p) Chuck Wayne (g) Clyde Lombardi (b) Jackie Moffett (d)...

And finally, here's a documentary on the jazz flute...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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