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Jazz Flute and Flautists

The flute player’s classic introduction to jazz is often at school, when their band teacher tosses a saxophone to them and says, “Try this! See you after-school in jazz!” Saxophone, especially alto or tenor, is an excellent second instrument for a flute player, as it has a very similar fingering system and written music range. Though jazz flute players aren’t uncommon, most that play in a jazz ensemble typically play saxophone for the majority of the time, and “double” on flute for a particular song or improvised solo. The most versatile of jazz saxophonists will be able to double on flute, clarinet, or even piccolo!

Playing in a jazz band is an incredibly beneficial experience, especially to your musical appreciation. Saxophone interferes little with the flute embouchure, and forces the student to learn to project their sound to a greater extent. Jazz contains different articulations and rhythms than more classical work; it’s a great way to make you more aware of the music you play. It’s a chance to both “let your hair down” in performance and more deeply analyze chord progressions. Your first time improvising a solo on the spot may be terrifying, but with practice you’ll become addicted to the experience - through improvisation, you can express yourself through your own music. It's like a really expressive cadenza, only better; in a jazz ensemble, you usually have an energetic horn and rhythm section supporting you!

And remember how great you thought it was to be a concert-pitch instrument, never having to transpose any pitch? Well, yeah, playing sax in Eb does require the odd transposition, but knowing how to transpose early on will save you grief later, especially as you become a more advanced flute performer.

Members of the Concert Flute family

From high to low, the members of the concert flute family include:

Each of the above instruments has its own range. The piccolo is an octave higher in pitch than the concert flute. Like the concert flute, it reads music in C, but sounds one octave higher. The alto flute is in the key of G, and extends the low register range of the flute to the G below middle C. Its highest note is a high G (4 ledger lines above the treble clef staff). The bass flute is an octave lower than the concert flute, and the contrabass flute is an octave lower than the bass flute.

Less commonly seen flutes include the treble flute in G, pitched one octave higher than the alto flute; the soprano flute, between the treble and concert; and the tenor flute or flûte d'amour in B flat or A, pitched between the concert and alto.

The lowest sizes (larger than the bass flute) have all been developed in the 20th century; these include the sub-bass flute is pitched in F, between the bass and contrabass; the subcontrabass flute (pitched in G or C), the contra-alto flute (pitched in G, one octave below the alto), and the double contrabass flute in C, one octave lower than the contrabass. The flute sizes other than the concert flute and piccolo are sometimes called harmony flutes.

Parents and new players - Your top flute questions answered!
When looking for a new flute and researching the various options, you can often be faced with flute jargon such as E mechanism or split E, open or closed mechanism, C or B footjoint options, headjoint over-cutting and undercutting, silver-plated or silver, padding and set-up…This guide should hopefully steer you through the jargon and help you to be more informed when visiting the music shop.
PDF File Parents Guide to First Flute

Oxford Flute Summer School
13-18th August 06

Britsh Flute Society
British Flute Society Convention - Manchester
Royal Northern College of Music - 17th – 20th August
Display of new Miyazawa, Sankyo, Mateki and Trevor J. James flutes
Call 01228 670306 for more information

Jazz Flautists Links

Buddy ColletteBuddy Collette - William Marcel Collette was born on August 6, 1921 in the Watts district of Los Angeles. Along with saxophonist Dexter Gordon bassist Charles Mingus, and drummer Chico Hamilton, he helped keep bebop alive in the city's historic Central Avenue neighbourhood. Buddy also played an important role with the development of the cool jazz movement. After attending a concert by the legendary trumpeter Louis Armstrong with his parents, a young Collette was taken by the idea of a career in jazz. Satchmo's achievements and lifestyle presented an appealing alternative to the menial and often degrading jobs open to African Americans during the Depression. In 1933, at the age of 12, Collette formed his first jazz ensemble. The group contained, of all people, a talented teenager named Charles Mingus, who Buddy convinced to switch from cello to bass. Mingus was already an extraordinary talent, but his infamous temper was also firmly in place. In the years that followed, Collette was instrumental in helping Mingus forge better relationships with various musicians and producers. Buddy's gentle, friendly demeanor was the perfect counterpoint to the ornery bassist; they became lifelong friends. In 1949, Collette recorded "It's April" in the backroom studios of Dolphin's of Hollywood. Although "It's April" and other tunes recorded at Dolphin's were receiving radio airplay and selling well, studio owner John Dolphin seldom paid the musicians. This money conflict eventually led to the stabbing and killing of Dolphin by one of his musicians. Buddy left Dolphin behind and overcame tough racial barriers in the industry by becoming the first African American to perform in a television studio band, appearing on Groucho Marx's television show, You Bet Your Life.

Fortunately, Collette was not content on being the only black musician, he eventually became a political and cultural activist in the battle against segregation in the music industry, and the burgeoning influence of McCarthyism. He also helped organize a concert and rally protesting government repression of the legendary African American singer, actor, and political activist Paul Robeson. Collette's artistic and social activism continued when he led a grassroots campaign to desegregate the Los Angeles musician's union. Gerald Wilson, Frank Sinatra, Nat "King" Cole, and saxophonist Benny Carter were some of Collette's early supporters.  None of these activities got in the way of Collette's music making. In 1955, he became a founding member of drummer Chico Hamilton's legendary quintet. The unusual quintet also featured pianist and cellist Fred Katz, whom Collette calls "the first jazz cello player." A year later, Collette recorded Man of Many Parts, his first album as a bandleader. The album not only demonstrated Collette's mastery on saxophone but also his compositional talents.  In the late 1950s, the careers of Collette and his West Coast contemporaries were taking off. But while most of them like Mingus, Hamilton and saxophonists Eric Dolphy and Charles Lloyd moved to New York for more lucrative gigs, Collette stayed in Los Angeles. Although Collette didn't become a household name like his friends, he did become a noteworthy educator in the 1960s. His students included such wonderful woodwind players as James Newton, Frank Morgan, Sonny Criss, Eric Dolphy, and Charles Lloyd. In 1996, the Library of Congress commissioned Collette to write and perform a special big band concert to highlight his long career. For the concert Buddy brought together some of his old musical mates from Los Angeles including Jackie Kelson, Britt Woodman, and Chico Hamilton. Today, Collette is receiving more recognition than ever. Although he no longer performs due to a stroke
in 1998, the gleaming beauty, immense talent, and gentle spirit of Collette remain intact and highly influential

Shrek's Pied Piper = Jeremy Steig

Gareth Lockrane John Burgess Website
Lean, mean, flute machine

Rowland Sutherland  Tim Garland


Jamie Baum Website
Jamie - NYC-based jazz flautist/composer; recording artist/clinician





Bill McBirnie is a jazz and Latin flute specialist based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has studied with distinguished Canadian flutist and composer, Robert Aitken, as well as Cuban charanga legend, Richard Eques. Bill is known for his superior technique on the entire family of flutes—from bass flute to piccolo. He is also recognized as an accomplished improviser, notably in the bebop, swing and Latin idioms as demonstrated by his recordings as a sideman with Junior Mance, Irakere, Memo Acevedo and Cache

Bill McBirnie ( Extreme Flute)

Eileen Hunter - Born in Aberdeen in the North East of Scotland, Eileen grew up in a family steeped in traditional music.  Eileen began to play the old upright piano in the living room at the age of six.  At home she had a great many influences from Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and many of the jazz greats to classical music to the traditional music which surrounded her. At the age of nine Eileen took up the flute which was to be her main instrument for the next fifteen years.  Although she had always sung for pleasure she did not take it up seriously until she was a music student at the Northern College in Aberdeen at the age of eighteen. She went on to gain her LGSM performer's diploma on flute and a B Ed (Mus) with Honours, after  which she was offered a music teaching job in St Machar Academy where she stayed for five years.  About this time she also began to develop as a jazz singer.  In 1997 Eileen left her home town to focus on her singing. She studied jazz as a post graduate at the Leeds College of Music supporting her studies by teaching and gigging with her jazz band and retained her love of jazz and the freedom of expression that it brings.  Eileen has finished recording her debut album Now And Then.  Her deep low register gives her a versatility so she can move swiftly from her delicate vulnerable ballads to sassy blues numbers to cool laid back swing - and Blow flute..
'Eileen has it all...she can soar into soprano range never losing her jazz impact' - Tina May

Alex Dean
Reedman, Alex Dean, has been described as "one of Canada's foremost Jazz Saxophonists".  He is also a fine flutist who has been a mainstay of the Canadian music scene for many years.  He has played and recorded with Gil Evans, Kenny Wheeler, Mel Torme, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Harry Connick Jr., Ray Charles, Pat Labarbera, Phil Nimmons, and the Toronto Symphony.  Alex is a member of Rob McConnell's "Tentet".  He also holds the tenor saxophone chair with Rob McConnell's BOSS Brass and has the distinction of having recorded on their last ten albums with Concord Records.

Vern Dorge
Vern is one of the most experienced and well-known multi-instrumentalists in the Canadian music scene.  He was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta and moved to Toronto in 1974 to pursue a music career.  Vern not only performs on the saxophones but also the other woodwinds including flute.  He works in television, theatre, studio recording, orchestral, club and freelance work in many different styles and genres.  He has appeared with such well-known soloists as Gordon Lightfoot, Anne Murray, Rita McNeil, Bruce Cockburn, Hugh Marsh and Blood, Sweat, and Tears.

Ned McGowan  orn in the United States in 1970 and living in the Netherlands since 1994, McGowan has built his career by collaborating closely with ensembles such as the Axyz Ensemble, Calefax, the Zephyr Quartet and Hexnut.  His taste for diversity emerged already as a teenager who took classical flute lessons, played jazz and listened to rock. After finishing studies in flute at the San Francisco Conservatory and the Cleveland Institute of Music, he moved to Amsterdam to continue his research. Over the course of eight years, he studied both flute and composition in Amsterdam and The Hague, exploring a wide range of subjects – from extended techniques to Carnatic forms and rhythms, from jazz improvisation to West-African drumming. His compositional voice was profoundly influenced by these experiences, even though he never directly follows any of these traditions stylistically.  Ned is also highly active in fostering the Amsterdam musical community through the Karnatic Lab Foundation, an organization he founded with Gijs Levelt in 1999 to promote both composed and improvised new music. This umbrella organization runs a monthly concert series, programs a yearly festival with international guests, and has its own record label (Karnatic Lab Records) and house ensembles: Axyz, a contemporary music ensemble, Spinifex Orchestra, a nine piece jazz ensemble, and McGowan’s own quintet, Hexnut.

Hexnut is his special group that grew out of the original instrumentation for his piece Tools, plus a singer. They are “a tribe of dedicated musicians who perform the most fiendishly difficult rhythms with flair and ease…” (Paris Atlantic). The band reflects Ned’s affinity for the edgy, risky and yet extremely precise – the embodiment of “brutal and humorous.” It is a perfect example of the juxtaposition, assimilation and contradiction of styles within improvisation and composition that Ned is constantly inventing. In Hexnut, Ned is often seen behind his contrabass flute, which has become one of his specialties. For his Carnegie Hall debut in April 2008, he performed his new concerto for contrabass flute and orchestra, commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra.

Bob Chadwick


Flautist Bob Chadwick has carved a niche for himself by virtue of his ability to combine a strong technical sense using his classical training with a very creative approach to world music and jazz improvisation. Chadwick has an earthy yet focused sound on the instrument and grabs at musical ideas as quickly as they enter the room.  Bob was classically trained with formal education from Miami University, Ohio (Music, Flute Performance degree) and post-graduate studies with full scholarship at Rice University Sheppard School of Music under Albert Tipton.

National Flute Association - USA

Anne Drummond

In jazz, flautists are a rarity. Seattle bred Anne Drummond transforms the flute’s sound and contemporizes its style with a fresh artistic outlook. Whether leading her quartet or performing alongside pianist Kenny Barron, vibraphonist Stefon Harris or bassist Avishai Cohen, Anne is an original voice both lyrical and powerful, subtle yet driving.



Stefan Bracaval - Flautist
Yukari Flautist


http://www.bb10k.com/RIVERS.disc.html  sam rivers
http://www.phoenixrisingmusic.com/ andrea brachfeld

http://www.jazzfluteweinstein.com/  Mark Weinstein
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/news.php?id=7826  Bill McBirnie
http://www.indiepool.com/newsite/showcase/biography.asp?id=15737 Bill McBirnie
http://www.redgoldmusic.com/  paul cheneour
http://www.joyofmusic.com/ bettine clemene
http://www.gillbolaget.se/woodwind/  Urban Hansson
http://home.hetnet.nl/~johmar/index.html John Devitt
http://www.mkmjazz.com/  MAKANDA KEN McINTYRE
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Dolphy  Eric Allen Dolphy
http://www.vervemusicgroup.com/artist.aspx?ob=per&src=prd&aid=4180 Joe Farrell
http://www.fantasma.com/artist_rep/artist-dave_valentine.html Dave Valentin

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^Bass Flute

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Last modified: 18/02/2012