E-Harmony Doesn’t Always Have the Answer

Bluezette Update.

by L.E. McCullough
© 2010 L.E. McCullough

In the eleven years since the passing of Bluezette, people have occasionally asked: did I ever find a satisfactory replacement?

Actually, a few suitors have emerged.

As mentioned earlier, I love the Burke B natural beyond all reason, especially when I play bossa nova. The sensuosity is utterly thrilling. I feel like Paul Desmond and Stan Getz floated into my soul and seized control of my fingers. It’s just a delicious timbre altogether. And sounds very nice on Irish slow airs.

Back in 2001, Pat O’Riordan sent me a zippy little hybrid, one of his original brass whistle heads slipped onto a key of D nickel Generation body — Der FrankenWhistle!!

Darned if it doesn’t sound superb. A warm, hollow sound in the low-register, cool and crisp in the upper. And, like the others, nicely in tune in both octaves.

I was introduced this year to the tweaked whistles of Jerry Freeman, and I have been enjoying his tweaked Blackbird Key of C.

It’s a sweet sound, light and clean. I used it to record the St. Patrick Was a Cajun/Paddy Bless the Gumbo medley on the Hanging Out to Dry recording this past spring. Check it out here.

And I’m finding that for my general session use, the John Sindt brass D blends well with everyone. The subject of a whistler having to deal with an occasionally wide-ranging tuning spectrum at sessions is a topic we can get into later… (awhile back accordionist Tom Dunne took me aside and expressed his thoughts on the subject, and they were somber ones — he observed that so many players at a session now tend to tune to their own electronic tuners and phone apps when they should be tuning to whatever “anchor” instrument present, an accordion or concertina that isn’t going to vary appreciably in tuning and therefore should be the standard pitch for that particular session; he’s correct, but when did Logic ever rule over New Gadget Fixation?)

The Sindt seems to have just the right range of overtones to accommodate this variance. It’s like an all-purpose umbrella — you’re covered for whatever wacky weather might happen by.

All these are beautiful whistles. But, alas, they just aren’t Bluezette.

I’ll keep looking, though. Destiny can pop around the corner when and where you least expect her.

. . . or it may be that, as we grow older, the imagined murmur of distant memory is the sweetest melody of all.

Best — L.E.


About 1bigsoul

12th Generation American trying to convince this country to live up to its promise of liberty and justice for All.
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