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Mezz Mezzrow

Biography

A controversial cult figure, clarinet/tenor saxophone player Milton "Mezz" Mezzrow remains as well-known for his non-musical accomplishments as for anything he did on his horns. He identified with black musicians to the point where he sincerely claimed to "[become] a Negro," as stated in his infamous autobiography Really the Blues. Additionally, he was a top-level marijuana supplier and, on a more positive note, an advocate of more talented players such as clarinet/soprano sax player Sidney Bechet. On his own staunchly Dixieland-style records, he seemed happy to play second fiddle to the likes of Bechet or trumpeter Hot Lips Page, a strategy which -- coupled with his general enthusiasm and genuine love for the music -- produced memorable results on many occasions.
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