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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just saw that my SOTW friend LiAm84 posted a wonderful version of 'Sweet Lorraine' on YT, recorded by Kenny Davern in 1977 on a C-melody saxophone. Wonderful sound and solo build up, one of the best recordings I've ever heard on a C-melody.


Enjoy. :)
 

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Lovely playing by Kenny Davern. He is my idol on clarinet and was a very fine player on saxophones too.

Are you certain that it's C Melody rather than tenor ? There's a low note at 2:12 that sounds like it might be a concert Ab and so below the range of the C Melody.

Rhys
 

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Lovely playing by Kenny Davern. He is my idol on clarinet and was a very fine player on saxophones too.

Are you certain that it's C Melody rather than tenor ? There's a low note at 2:12 that sounds like it might be a concert Ab and so below the range of the C Melody.

Rhys
Yeah, some discussion in the original thread about that. I was also doubtful on my first brief listen, but we're all convinced it's legit due to timbre changes in the mid range, and full range of notes. Yours is a Bb. I played along with the whole thing on my C melody, and it's spot on, timbre changes, range, everything. Great solo. Glad I learned it.
 

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I'm 100% convinced it's a tenor and here's why I believe so: at 2:32 that's a concert E. I don't believe an E on a sax would have that "altissimo" tonality - an F# (on tenor) would, and that is a concert E.
 

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As a follow up, I checked and this song is from the album "John & Joe" which includes Flip Phillips: Sweet Lorraine - YouTube I'm thinking that this song features Flip on tenor.
That's definitely not Flip Phillips on Sweet Lorraine. Listen to Flip's feature on that album which is the song 'Candy', the sound and tone is completely different:


Also, the improvisation, vibrato and inflection is all pure Kenny Davern.
 

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okay, I listened some more and at 3:32 there's a low concert Bb - it definitely sounds more like a bell note which would be the lowest note on C melody, so maybe this is indeed C melody. That being the case (and coming back to the subject of this thread), this is the best C melody sound I've ever heard.
 

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okay, I listened some more and at 3:32 there's a low concert Bb - it definitely sounds more like a bell note which would be the lowest note on C melody, so maybe this is indeed C melody. That being the case (and coming back to the subject of this thread), this is the best C melody sound I've ever heard.
Sounds like pretty much the same phrase as at 2:12.

Agreed on that great sound and it is a lovely, fluent solo. I'm tempted to transcribe it.

Rhys
 

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Both allmusic.com and discogs.com list Kenny Davern as playing C melody sax (and soprano sax) on "John & Joe." They probably got their information from the liner notes or back cover. Also various sites that sell the CD have the notes / description including Davern on C melody sax.
discogs: Kenny Davern, Flip Phillips - John & Joe
descriptive text at trapezemusic: Kenny Davern & Flip Phillips - John & Joe
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Good to read the discussion gents! :)

I also doubted about tenor or C-melody, but the timbre is in my ears a bit more like C-melody. And my friend Liam is a very good player and knows his jazz history, so if he says it's a C-melody I believe that. Flip played like that in the fourties, but sounded different later in his career (as other clips above also proof), probably because his change from a Tone Master to a Florida Link.

The C-melody sound of Kenny seems heavily inspired by the early Don Byas and Coleman Hawkins. His approach also has something from the famous Dexter version of 'Sweet Lorraine' from 1943, when Dexter sounded still a lot like Lester.

 

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I always associated the C-Melody sound with that wimpier but pleasing tones from Frankie Trumbauer to Rudy Wiedoeft. This Kenny Davern recording really shocked me, especially at the front he really nails that early Hawkins tone. Quite uncanny and more so when we remember that Hawk started out on C-Melody, and you gotta wonder if Hawk invented his big tenor tone by lifting it off his C-Melody if that's its natural sound.
 

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Sounding "like a tenor" was not (or should never be) the point; rather, that C-Melodies are too often dismissed or under-rated. Have the likes of Dan Higgins or our own Dave Pollack put an end to that?
Thanks for posting Kenny Davern's foray. Now I want to hear him on that pictured Bass Sax...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Now I want to hear him on that pictured Bass Sax...
Here he is with a short bass solo just after 1:56 (and a young Waren Vache on trumpet):


And here with a bass solo just after 1:12:

 

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Thanks for that, mrpeebee, though it does make me realize how such talents as Kenny Davern and Bob Wilber were better suited to smaller combos imho, which is where they wisely spent much/most of their recording time.
I'm with Grumps regarding Kenny quitting Soprano Sax to concentrate on Clarinet. I remember protesting about that decision online at the time, but later found out that it had become too late to change his mind. R.I.P. Kenny (and Bob)...
 
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