I spotted this new review of Chris Vadala’s Improve Your Doubling: Advanced Studies for Doublers on jazzreview.com:
Featured Book: Improve Your Doubling: Advanced Studies for Doublers [update: link dead]
I reviewed the book myself a couple of years back.
The practice grew out of the need for players to cover parts on more than one instrument in the big bands of the 1920’s and 30s, and spread to the pits of Broadway shows and the TV staff orchestras at NBC and CBS. Saxophonists were initially expected to double on the clarinet until it was largely replaced by the flute in the 50’s, as it saw more acceptance in jazz. The 60’s brought new colors, adding oboe and bassoon parts for doublers—or triplers—to deal with, until players such as the legendary Romeo Penque appeared on the New York studio scene prepared to play every woodwind instrument known to man, often in quick succession, a situation further complicated by the re-emergence of the clarinet on the 1980’s. I counted over 20 instruments stacked up in front of the five-piece reed section of the Maria Schneider Orchestra at a recent concert.
Mr. Westbrook evaluates the Vadala book as “an indispensable part of every woodwind player’s training,” which I would consider to be somewhat of an exaggeration, though I do think the etudes are interesting and worth a look for an advanced doubler.
I was also intrigued by the mention of “legendary” doubler Romeo Penque, with whom I was not familiar, but whose credentials certainly seem to be in order.