Buy 'Hands' - my new recording with Dave Binney, Tom Rainey, and Chris Guilfoyle!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Don't Give Up the Day Job!

In the previous post on Denny Zeitlin, I questioned whether anyone apart from Denny had ever really scaled the jazz heights as a player despite not pursuing the music full time. I've just remembered another exceptional part-time player - Franco Ambrosetti. The Swiss Flugelhorn player, (whose family business has made him very rich and for whom he still works), may not be in the same compositional/conceptual league as Zeitlin, but as a player he's truly world class. Here he is burning out on 'Sidewinder' from 2001, and in some very heavy company too...................


  1. You forgot a few others, Andrew:

    John Coltrane was an accountant during the time he recorded everything from A Love Supreme onward. In fact (and this is a little known gem) he did Duke Ellington's taxes right after he finished accounting school, while they were recording their album together.

    Charles Mingus -- and I can't believe you missed this one -- was a bicycle mechanic in Portland, Oregon, during his entire musical career. In fact, "Orange Was The Color Of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk" is actually a mnemonic device for remembering gear ratios.

    By this point, everyone knows Dave Brubeck was the brains behind Kentucky Fried Chicken, although few people know that's Desmond in a false beard as Colonel Sanders.

    Historically yours,


  2. I seem to remember that Eddie Henderson was a practising doctor (or was it psychiatry?) until late 1980's and although nowhere as near famous there's Art Themen who was an orthopaedic surgeon and I can think of other 'lesser' known players (ex: Jacques Pelzer) who worked and played also.

    If you're not just talking about jazz then Charles Ives (Insurance) would fit into the list?

  3. Why don't jazz teachers ever mention things like that? John Coltrane an accountant?
    I guess that there are people who are so exceptionally gifted that their interests concentrate on doing just one thing, people who must play jazz, to develop it and carry on with its tradition. But for the hundreds of musicians who are inspired too if not as, let's just say, historically relevant, I sincerely hope it's considered necessary to do something else. I would fear an emptiness if all I'd do was play the piano.

  4. Beautiful playing by all hands there! Franco has a very interesting musical lexicon - the very eclecticism of it is quite attractive to me. He has an open mind to what's happening today and the desire to experience it on the bandstand.