But they're kind of unique in that they sound like - you hear Michael Brecker and you say that's Brecker. And you hear Bob Berg and you say that's Bob Berg. There's a great quote from Konitz where he says that he heard Desmond and he said he wanted to change his sound because he reminded him of him. It seems like today that folks aren't chasing the sound in their head as much as players a generation ago.
There are so many other sounds out there, I wish people would go after the sound that they hear in their head, like Paul Desmond did. He sounded different than everyone else. He said he "wanted to sound like a dry martini," and he really did sound like that! Or, how about Benny Carter's unique alto sound? That individual character, I'd like to hear more of that. Those three guys I mentioned...Brecker, Potter, and Berg each have their own individual thing. One of the younger players I really love to hear is Eric Alexander. He's out of the hard-bop tenor thing. To me, he's combined elements of Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt and especially George Coleman. When I hear him, I hear the influence of George Coleman's concept and sound coming through a younger player, and it sounds very fresh to me. The fact that Eric picked George Coleman as a primary influence sets him apart from his contemporaries. Now Eric has found his own voice, but I'll always hear his main influences, which is great, because it ties him in with the aural tradition in jazz. Oh, and there's another young player whose playing I really like, and that's Harry Allen. Harry's a wonderful, melodic player, and his playing is really influenced by Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Stan Getz, and especially Ben Webster. Harry, of course, is his own man as a player, but I can appreciate where he came from, as well. I guess what I like with all of these players is that they have strong roots in the history of the music, and rather than hide their roots, they use them as a point of departure and build on them with their own concept.