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A friend from work burned to several CDs from me recordings from primarily earlier swing-era jazz sax players, like Chu Berry, Ben Webster, Al Cohn-Zoot Sims, early Coleman Hawkins...

...and honestly, I can't stand any of them.

Only Wardell Gray and Zoot really started grabbing me. Well, I have to compartmentalize the actual tone quality and fluidity of the players themselves (which was supreme) from the old-timey stompy "grooves" of the earlier idioms (if you can even call them that). So, maybe I really dislike that earlier GENRE more than the playing styles of the saxophonists.

It makes me wonder at what point in the history of jazz and its stylistic evolution, that the grooves and styles started to hit my sweet spot. Is it really as simple as "Coltrane-going-onward?"

It would be fascinating if someone compiled something like a Gantt chart or chronology of the prime recording time-windows (years) of several of the greats. Might shed light or illustrate who influenced who. I suspect this is probably in some book somewhere...
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Well, your list is tenor players, so presumably that's what you are thinking about. I'm surprised that lester Young isn't in there, because that might actually be your "missing link", a lot of the earlier folk disliked Lester due to his much lighter and possibly less "stompy" style. And of course we all know he was a tremendous influence on Bird.

But you have Wardell Gray, look also into Lucky Thompson.

BTW there's a nice iPhone app "History of Jazz"
 
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