Mort Weiss

All About Jazz user Mort Weiss

Member since 2012.

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United States

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Mort is a bebop-oriented clarinet player living it up in the state of Texas.

Mort Weiss is a bebop-oriented clarinetist with eleven albums as leader to date. After having taken 40-odd years off from playing, Weiss came to musical life as a leader in 2001 with The Mort Weiss Quartet (SIMS Jazz). Born in 1935 in Pennsylvania, Weiss began clarinet lessons when he was nine years old. After moving with his family to Los Angeles, he continued playing classical music and during his teens studied with the LA Philharmonic Orchestra's esteemed clarinetist, Antonio Remondi. Weiss' exposure to jazz began with Dixieland but when he first heard a Charlie Parker record, he was hooked.

He frequented jazz clubs, participating in after-hours jam sessions and spending many hours in the woodshed honing his craft. Bebop clarinetist Buddy DeFranco became his idol. In the '60s, traveling in the proverbial fast lane became a rapid trip down the wrong speedway. Weiss eventually found himself in jail, his life in “total shambles,” playing the “wrong” instrument to support a dead-end life style. In that moment of clarity, Weiss decided to “put everything down, including playing music.” In the summer of 2001, Weiss read an advertising flyer that asked “Do You Want To Play Jazz?” It was enough to make him dust off his clarinet case and begin practicing.

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