Following yesterday’s posting about Jeremy Steig’s Flute Fever (see the item below this one), Bill McBirnie was moved to expand on his enthusiastic evaluation. To wit:
Even though I am a self-declared disciple of Hubert Laws, Flute Fever is, without qualification, my favourite jazz flute recording. This album is in my view THE classic jazz flute record for all time. Jeremy was utterly on fire on this session…and he was teamed up for a “blowing session” with what proved to be an outstanding trio (including the young but fantastic Denny Zeitlin on piano). Although this album was recorded over forty years ago, it should still be required listening…as well as study…for every single flute player who is at all serious about performing on this instrument in an improvisatory setting.
I admit that all of the humming and buzzing in which Jeremy engages is not my cup of tea and that it does not reflect my preferred approach to the instrument. Nonetheless, Steig’s work on this album is absolutely staggering!…He is wild….He is untamed….He is THE jazz flute guy because he plays with such serious–though unorthodox–skill and, more importantly, deeply held conviction!
I was very fortunate in that someone in Calgary heard me singing the praises of this album a couple of years ago…as well as my corresponding lament that I no longer had the vinyl…and now I could not find it on CD either…Then he FOUND the record in a library…and somehow burned a copy/CD for me. I probably hadn’t listened to that album in at least 20 years but it hasn’t lost a thing to my ears…and it has been in regular rotation on my platter ever since. That album had an enormous influence on me…which I recognize now more so than I did when I was merely a kid (because I admit that Hubert’s pristine technique and very melodic sense were much closer to my own sense of musical direction as well as being more in keeping with my “classical roots”).
I might add that Bob Parlocha (who has probably the largest syndicated jazz show in the US) still gives “Flute Fever” a spin now and again…and that is about as reliable an endorsement of Jeremy’s work as one could ever ask for.
Thanks for the acknowledgement, Doug,…and now I don’t feel so alone about Flute Fever.