The Worst That Can Be Said About a Musician


SKF NOTE: “The rhythm section, as a section, was unrecognizable to me.” That was part of Cannonball Adderley‘s response to Down Beat columnist Leonard Feather during  November 2, 1967 Down Beat “Blindfold Test.”

A montly Down Beat tradition, Mr. Feather would play records for well-known musicians – without disclosing ahead of time the musicians on the records, and ask his guests to rate the recording one star to five stars.

A few minutes later, thinking about what Adderley said, I thought for the first time: How awful! Unrecognizable is the worst that can be said about a musician!

How much better — whether a performance is no stars or five stars — to have listeners say, “I know who that is. I recognize their playing.”

About Scott K Fish
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