Buddy DeFranco on showboating for Tommy Dorsey

Now, a Jazz Moment...

MUSIC: "Music, Maestro, Please" CD: This is Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra, v.1, Collectables COL-2815 DRC1-2910 (cut 9)

Buddy DeFranco: When I was about 14, I won a Tommy Dorsey Swing Contest in Philadelphia.

It was a nationally broadcast contest, presided over by Tommy Dorsey himself. NEA Jazz Master Buddy Defranco credits his clarinet teacher, who carefully orchestrated the performance.

Buddy DeFranco: When I made the finals -- there were four contestants -- he said "You're gonna win, you're gonna win because you're gonna wear knickers," (chuckles) which I didn't wanna do because I had just graduated to wearing long pants. He says "You're gonna wear knickers and you're going to play 'Honeysuckle Rose' because everybody knows that song." And I didn't like that song but he said "That's what you're gonna play, that song." And he said, "Toward the end of your solo, you're gonna hold the clarinet with one hand and play one note and bark out that one note and hold your right hand out so the audience will see you're playing the clarinet with one hand." Real show business! Well the people, they broke up, it tore them up, they thought that was fantastic and the other 3 guys had no chance. Tommy Dorsey right after that says, "Stick around kid, you're gonna play in my band someday!"

And sure enough, Buddy DeFranco did go on to be a featured soloist with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. This Jazz Moment was produced by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Buddy DeFranco on showboating for Tommy Dorsey