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My hero Tim Garland - only had one lesson so far, but he has already transformed my tone, articulation and approach to playing melody. Everyone who has heard me play has been astonished at the difference.

Can't wait 'til he gets started on my improvising...
 

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My best teacher was Slava Ganelin http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0304245/bio

I didn't even know how famous he was until long after I've been studying with him. He is not a sax player but neither am I (I'm a clarinetist and he is a pianist and also plays a lot of other instruments). What I learned from him is basically how to listen to music actively and how to understand all music (the principle and specific logic inside the music). I think this is by far the best and most important thing I learned about music. I was surprised at first, since he is a free jazz player, but so many non-musicians know him and he was very famous in former USSR countries.
 

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It's a tie for me.

Fred Lipsius and Jeff Harrington

My lessons with Fred would go on for an hour or more at times. He got me to think outside the box, and not be afraid to try things that were radical. It made me stop worrying about whether it would sound just right, and more if it would sound like me. He also really gave me a lot of insight about life, and he tells some of the best stories you will ever hear. Strangest thing he ever told me was "I never liked my sax tone until I was in my 40's or so."

Jeff Harrington was a great technician. He helped me get my technique down. He also made improvisation easy. When he explained something, you understood it immediately. I still find myself playing new things and realizing they were things he showed me at one time or another coming back into my playing. His teachings were so immense and well executed that they have lasted, and are still impacting my playing, years after I studied with him.
 

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sonnymobleytrane said:
Who was your greatest teacher, what was it about him/her that made This teacher great?

Was there a teacher that while you were studying with you had an epiphany with and improvisation suddenly made sense? And what was it, what was the missing piece of the pie that this person provided?

I know a lot of stuff in one question.
Bill Broderick - my ninth grade band director. Great sax player and arranger. Started me in jazz band, was the first to play Maynard for me (I was a trumpet player then), and sent me to my first Kenton concert.

John Lamb - my tenth grade band director. Played bass with Duke Elligton for 6 years. Used to give me a ride home across town just about every day and talk to me about being a musician.

bigtiny
 

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Ben Davis - very skilled, well versed, and extremely knowledgeable. He is also patient and understanding. He seems to be able to play anything - any genre - with conviction and expresses his thoughts clearly both on the horn and verbally. I'm very lucky to have such a mentor.
 

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Geez, I learned so much from all of them. The greatest teacher of all still is the musicians I play with and listen to. These inspire me to find new things to work on and improve.

(Yeah, that's a bit of a cop-out, I know).
 

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jazzbluescat said:
Joe Viola.
Amen to that! The three Joes. Viola, Allard and Henderson. Tone, concept and improvization. I've had other great teachers but these are the best. Joe V. the most.
 

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Coltrane, Rollins, Adderley, Charlie Ventura (I used to play along with "Just Jazz" by Gene Norman, a 10" LP, which is still a prized item in my collection), Junior Walker, and strangely for a sax player - Errol Garner, Dave Brubeck, Milt Jackson.
 

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Graham is the greatest

shortwhite said:
Doug Graham - University of South Carolina - This guy just pushed the right buttons to turn my young butt around and to get serious about being a musician. Doug was Chris Potter's teacher for many years.
I too owe most of my music career to this man. Doug Graham taught me how to work on music for the rest of my life. He really teaches you how to practice!!!!
(as a side note he didn't really teach Chris Potter. Doug said that in Chris's 3rd lesson Chris played something so incredible he had to ask him how he was doing it. Lesson ended then. Bryson Borgstet was his first teacher and probably the best Jazz guy in town at that time.
I was there during that time. Chris was influenced by John Emchee, Dick Goodwin, Doug Graham, Bryson Borgstett, Roger Pemberton and a host of other musicians in that great community. But, He learned at a rate that was not human. At 12 he would listen to a Cannanball record for the first time over the weekend and come back playing like him on Monday. You had to be there to believe it. I'm still trying to get to his 12 year old level and I'm 43.
 
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