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Sam Most, father of modern jazz flute, was 82

June 14, 2013|By Elaine Woo

Sam Most, considered the first modern jazz flutist, had some unusual talents, one of which was the ability to hum and play notes at the same time. A number of flutists have said he was the first to combine humming and playing, a style that was later made famous in jazz by Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Yusef Lateef and in rock by Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson.

"I was living in an apartment in New York in the early '50s, and I couldn't make a lot of noise late at night," Most, 82, who died Thursday in Woodland Hills after a brief bout with cancer, told The Times in 1998. "So I found that by standing in the closet playing and humming the same notes, I could hear myself and not disturb the neighbors."

You can catch a  demonstration of Most's humming-playing sound in the opening minutes of "Sam Most, Jazz Flutist," a 2001 documentary by Fernando Gelbard and Edmond Goff.


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