Re: Ray Draper

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Posted by Christopher on August 11, 1999 at 12:09:30:

In Reply to: Ray Draper posted by Steve Lamb on August 11, 1999 at 10:39:22:

I didn't get this one, I think it has a lot of redundancy with an old vinyl oddity I picked up in Boston, but you've gotta keep these sessions in perspective. Coltrane was at the time a hardcore junkie, and wouldn't really make a big dent in the music world for another year (although he had already learned a lot from the Monk quintet at the time). So he wasn't too discriminate about what he played, as long as he got paid in cash.

Draper was only about 16 years old, and improvised quite a bit better than most other people his age, tuba or no. Granted, he was technically awful. But he was also the first tuba player, and the only one for twenty years or so, to take jazz tuba into lead role in jazz in a serious way, and was the only guy to do bebop.

He fared much better, and was in much better company, on Max Roach's Deeds Not Words, which is terrific.

BTW, he went on to do a pretty awful R&B group called Beans and Rice, and did some reputedly great avant-garde stuff with Horace Tapscott (no recordings I know of, but I play with a guy who worked with him then) before he was shot to death during a mugging in Tompkins Square Park.

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