Biography of Buddy DeFranco

A Life in the Golden Age of Jazz: A Biography of Buddy DeFranco
By Fabrice Zammarchi and Sylvie Ma

Buddy DeFranco was one of the greatest jazz musicians of the 20th Century. The fact that he achieved this distinction as a clarinetist and that he overcame what appears to me to be overwhelming family misfortunes makes it all the more remarkable. Following on the trail set by Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, Buddy established himself as the “modern” voice of the jazz clarinet in the 1950s by incorporating much of the rhythmic and harmonic innovations established by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie along with a virtuosity matched by few. He set the table for future stars such as Eddie Daniels to continue to move the clarinet forward within the jazz idiom. In this magnificent retrospective of Buddy and his career originally printed in 2002, one gets a very complete picture of Buddy the man, the musician, and the maverick who continued to fight for the clarinet’s continuing presence in contemporary jazz. He ended up personifying the term “Bebop Clarinetist.” This book was written by two French authors, one of them a jazz clarinetist himself, and is translated into English. It contains numerous interviews with Buddy and colleagues as well as an enormous amount of incredible pictures by dozens of jazz photographers and a full discography. It personifies one of the greatest musicians and finest gentlemen that I have ever met. Quite simply, this is the finest biography of ANY musician that I have read—a coffee table-size book of 383 pages and one that you will cherish for many years to come. It is a must for any serious woodwind musician! The book is available at Amazon for $45 or through the publisher at the following link:

As a special feature for this Woodlink, I’ve included a transcription and mp3 track of Buddy’s solo to “Scrapple From the Apple” done beautifully by the great Tom Ranier, a longtime friend of Buddy. This dates from a 1961 recording on the Mercury label titled Presenting The Buddy DeFranco-Tommy Gumina Quartet.

An mp3 track of the tune is also included. ENJOY!


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