Letter: Jazzy grunts

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The Independent Online
Sir: Whereas 'grunting' may be regarded as a problem in the realms of tennis and symphonic music (Letters, 4 July), jazz musicians have solved its manifestation not by eliminating it but by adapting it into their music.

The arch-grunter was the pianist Milt Buckner, whose recordings abound with rhythmically delivered explosions of grunt. Duke Ellington evolved a keening kind of grunt which, slightly off-key, can be heard throughout many of his piano solos. Count Basie grunted a lot, too, but more modestly than the florid Oscar Peterson, whose powerhouse grunting often triumphs over the sound of the piano.

Lionel Hampton, on the other hand, is the major exponent of bleating. The connoisseur finds his greatest moments on the many recordings by Peterson and Hampton together, where the collision and conjunction of bleat and grunt reach an apex in collective improvisation.

Yours faithfully,