Buddy Collette could play just about every reed and woodwind instrument proficiently. As a result, the West Coast musician was called often by studio contractors and session leaders for pop and jazz recordings. But Buddy's ability transcended technique. His sound was full, seductive and brimming with energy.
Buddy also was a major civil rights figure, which made his inclusion in the recording studios in the '50s and '60s all the more exceptional. Buddy was responsible for helping to merge the black and white musicians' union locals in Los Angeles in 1953—a full year before Brown v. Board of Education. It takes enormous courage to take on the hand that feeds you, especially in a city that at the time was racially polarized. In addition to being a superlative musician, Buddy got along swell with everyone, which aided his cause. More on Buddy in my 2010 interview here. [Pictured above: Harpist Corky Hale with Buddy Collette]
All of which brings us to the debut of a YouTube video posted yesterday by JazzWax reader Jimi Mentis in Athens, Greece. Here's Buddy on KPBS-TV, San Diego, in 1991. The group featured Buddy Collette on flute, tenor sax and clarinet; Larry Nash on piano, Richard Reid on bass and Mel Lee on drums...
Wall Street Journal alert!
In today's Wall Street Journal, my interview with Diana Krall on her new album, Glad Rag Doll (Verve), set for release on Oct. 2.