There was a time that saying: "He's a West Coast player" or "He's a real Chicago Tenor" meant something very specific in terms of style, vocabulary, sound etc. Something that I hear today in my contemporaries and even in my own playing is no sense of regional identity. It is probably quite naive to think in this age of global information that there could be such drastic stylistic differences. An apprentice saxophonist today living in Nebraska has equal access to music from all geographic areas of the US as well as internationally at the click of a mouse. This is a wonderful thing for both the student and the professional, but, I do miss being able to hear a player' geographic linage in his or her playing. Today it sounds like we have all listened to the same 25 records, which of course, we have. As we move through the three stages of artistic development (Imitation, Style, Innovation) I think it would do us well as artists to undertake a study of a historic regional style of playing that appeals to us. We'll be more historically grounded in as well as discover new sources for our own vocabulary.
In that light, our Sunday Video today, features a true Chicago Tenor that I grew up listening to and that I have had the honor of performing with a couple of times...Von Freeman.