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Farewell: Buddy DeFranco


Buddy DeFranco
Buddy DeFranco, New York City, 1947
Buddy DeFranco
Buddy DeFranco and spouse in New York, Sept. 1947

It’s rare in your life to have someone who’s older than you and supports you almost like a good parent would. Buddy DeFranco was like that for me: a great, supportive friend and a kind person.

When I was 13, Benny Goodman was my idol-I played more in that realm. Then I started listening to the records of the day, Stan Getz, Miles and Coltrane; I was no longer trying to play like Benny on the clarinet, but I was stuck in this place of not knowing where to go. And I found one record of Buddy’s called Mr. Clarinet, a great, great record from 1957. I heard the sound on the clarinet and the way Buddy was doing it, and from that record I said, “Holy cow! This is the direction for me!”

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