Saturday, October 4, 2008

Vincent J. (Jimmy) Abato

A counterpart to the recent article on Vincent J. (Jimmy) Abato published in the June 2008 issue of The Clarinet, a web site created by Adam Michlin pays homage to the exceptional clarinetist, bass clarinetist, and saxophonist. As a performer and teacher who inspired many, Abato was celebrated for his bass clarinet playing in the New York Metropolitan Opera, his classical saxophone recordings, and his career as a teacher of clarinet and saxophone at Julliard. Tributes to Abato in Michlin's web site include a reprint of the June article and additional narratives by friends and former students -- showing just how dearly he was admired and cherished by those around him. The site also contains audio files, which provide a modest sample of his talent on both clarinet and saxophone, and Michlin has collected various images of Abato that offer viewers a glimpse into his world. Vincent J. Abato (1919-2008) undoubtedly left a tremendous mark on the musical world of clarinetists and saxophonists alike.


Joe C said...

I am still sad that Vincent James Abato has left us. I have such fond memories of him, his house on Wolf Rd in Malverne, NY, where I saw him nearly every Sunday for 2 years.

At first my father drove me to lessons, but as soon as I got my license I drove myself to study with this great man, whom my mother insisted I call 'maestro'.

He taught me more than mastery of the saxophone; he taught me mastery of life. He was a delightful person, a hard-driving teacher, and someone whom I trusted to judge me.

In my own teaching of the saxophone, it became clear that I must teach the "Abato" method, and my students, some of whom are known now in the music world, such as it is, have been forever grateful.

I remember every word he ever said to me, whether metaphor or stern advice. "What do ya have, asthma?" he might say. Or something like, "son, you're a diamond in the it's time to work..."

We had a good connection, and I remember, many years after our time had run its course, I called him to refer a student, proudly stating that I took him as far as I coulr in "our" method, and could he accept him as his own.

No one knew more about the saxophone than Maestro Abato. I will never forget a moment I spent with him.

He was very proud of me, even though I became a doctor rather than a professional musician. I think my becoming a doctor tickled his fancy; he never know where I'd end up, but he always told me it would be a great place.

"Tone is like your mother," he once said to me; "you can dress it up, put make-up on it, but its about natural beauty (he was referring to the use of vibrato), and no make up can make her more beautiful than she is by nature"

And that is what Jimmy (not Joseph) was all about.


Dr Joseph Calandrino

Falls With Grace said...

Lovely post, thanks for posting