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Musician Profiles > Celebrities

Woody Allen

wildman_blues.jpg (3164 bytes)Wouldn't you know--America's most famous comic underdog is a closet clarinetist! In fact, a pretty dedicated clarinetist. Woody is a great affcianado of traditional jazz and Sidney Bechet, and you can find him every Monday night playing at Carlyle's in New York City with his own band. Not bad for an amateur! Well, okay, it helps to be a celebrity comic, actor, director, producer, tabloid-headline-maker, etc. But the fact is that while he's not what we would think of as a New York quality player, he is a competent jazz clarinetist who can make music on demand.

Woody is a strong traditionalist, and you will hear him using an Albert-system clarinet just like the old New Orleans guys and putting out a big, wide vibrato much like Sidney Bechet. In Wild Man Blues, a film depicting his band's 1995 tour of Europe, Woody tells us that he practices every day, and we can see him warming up in the car prior to a performance.

The thing that excites me the most about Woody's situation is the fact that you don't have to be a New York pro with a degree from Berklee to get tremendous enjoyment and respect from playing your instrument. There are players like Woody and similar bands all over the US, having fun and pleasing audiences. Many never see the inside of a nightclub, and many never make a cent. They take pride in being good at what they do, and they have something special that lasts them a lifetime. This is a realistic goal for anyone reading this page.

Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band

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