Since his long tenure with the Jim Cullum Jazz Band of San Antonio, clarinetist Allan Vaché has risen to the uppermost echelon of jazz artists currently performing within the traditional to mainstream sphere. The son of bassist, jazz historian, and biographer Warren Vaché and the younger brother of cornetist Warren, Jr., Allan was a gifted player from childhood and among his early teachers was Kenny Davern, for many decades now regarded as the principal embodiment of jazz clarinet tradition, with his own roots clearly planted in Jimmie Noone, Irving Fazola, Frank Teschemacher and Pee Wee Russell. Vaché’s encompassed horizons are more modest, but to this day he still shares Davern’s admiration for Fazola, whom he honors on both “Spain” and Bob Haggart’s “My Inspiration,” two tunes the earlier clarinetist had made classic on his recordings with the Bob Crosby Bob Cats and big band. One fascination in particular that Vaché picked up from Davern was the altissimo register, a technical challenge explored in the 1930s and ’40s by only Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, and which the younger man uses to thrilling effect.
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