The most famous bass clarinet player is often considered to be Eric Dolphy. However, because the bass clarinet is often used as a secondary instrument by clarinet players, many bass clarinet players are often primarily clarinet players. These players include Benny Goodman, Julian Bliss and Martin Frost.
The bass clarinet is similar to the clarinet. However, it is capable of reaching a lower range of notes and is known for its wide range of tone. The bass clarinet is notably larger than a Bb clarinet and is often said to look like a saxophone.
The most famous of all bass clarinet players, Eric Dolphy, was born in 1928 and originally played the flute and bass clarinet. However, today he is known for introducing the bass clarinet to the field of jazz. His playing style was exuberant and wild compared to other jazz soloists at the time. He was also known for creating a distinct style of improvisation that utilized a wide jump in range that perfectly suited the bass clarinet. Because of his mastery of the bass clarinet as well as the saxophone, he is largely remembered for his contributions to jazz in the 1960s. Dolphy died in 1964 at the age of 36.