Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico Reeds-The supreme musical spectrum of Marty Krystall. One of the most creative musicians today!

~ Hey Rico Blog peeps, here tis' this weeks blog, a tad late, and chock full of Krystall visions. I currently live in Reading, Pa.< I travel a lot- so this is what I do. It's that easy. > I get up on Friday's and drive to the bus station, then take a bus to NYC to work. I take my horns with me, so I can go from teaching to the gig/rehearsals I'm doing while in town.This kind of schedule sometimes can leave me tired. Not always, but sometimes! Yesterday was one of those days.Hence the late blog here. I was more bleary eyed than usual having played a few road gigs the week before with guitarist Gary Rossington from Lynyrd Skynyrd. I was on the verge of falling asleep last week but went through the weekend kinda tired.Obviously not cool. There's times with all the stuff eg-instruments, music I'm usually cool. A state of mind? No a way of life! But here I am.

This weeks Rico Blog is about Los Angeles jazz player, studio woodwind legend Marty Krystall.

I've known Marty since 1980. I contacted him after hearing a record he did with the great Buell Neidlinger. I had actually heard Buell before he moved to Los Angeles with a Boston band he had called " Looney Tunes". But that is another story!

I am from the world of tone, I live in a world of sound. Marty got a sound , he's got depth and roots. After hearing him play on that recording I knew he was playing the impossible! What the Hell !! He was ALL over the horn, reaching above and below, playing the jazz language and reaching ,preaching and saying something deeply personal while doing it. I've known Marty for decades and feel that it's time someone said this about him. My blind love of music is behind it all.

Marty Krystall is one of the most important tenor saxophonists in today's world of jazz.

But he goes beyond that, he plays beautiful clarinet and bass clarinet. He knows the history of the music, and loves it. His music has a special quality, capturing something that is missing in much of today's musics. When he solos he tells a story, you hear a personal huge sound from the tenor saxophone and he is not a cliche player.
Some of my prized possessions are tapes he made me of his projects, or older records from "the day" when I first heard him. Incredible.

Just how and why does anybody dedicate their lives to to the music like this and not be a household name? His presence on other artists records is over the top from my perspective. Dig this- Krystall was involved with the Peter Ivers Band, Van Dyke Parks, Jaco Pastorius,Charlie Haden's Liberation Orchestra, as well as appearing on recordings of Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, Leo Kottke, Keith Moon, Little Jimmy Scott and Terrence Blanchard. Marty has also performed with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and TASHI (led by pianist Peter Serkin). He has also been active in the LA studio scene as a clarinetist and doubler since 1972, and has been featured on the orchestral underscores of motion pictures on clarinet in "X-Men,""As Good As It Gets," "101 Dalmations," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Minority Report," "Multiplicity," "Hero," "Jack," "The Three Jakes,""Forrest Gump," "Soylent Green," "Bewitched," "Fantastic 4 II,"and on saxophone in "Flubber, "The Flintstones," "When Harry Met Sally," "Other Peoples Money," "The Kid" and"The Mummy Returns," among hundreds of others.

Taking a closer look at his recorded work I have realized that one of his gifts was to bring out the best in other musicians by truly understanding them. In each environment you get to hear just how his gifts manifested.
Check out all his CDs on his label - everyone is a masterpiece in it's own way. http://www.k2b2.com/martyfeatured.html

I can say this because I have listened to his music deeply. He wasn't somebody I can dream about knowing, he is a real person,and a treasured friend.
The recent CD he sent me has Steve Lacy on it as a guest on soprano saxophone."Buell Neidlinger Quartet Live at Ravenna Jazz '87 with Steve Lacy".This is amazing music! http://www.k2b2.com/ravenna.html

Also recently he gave me a DVD copy of Marty Krystall Quartet Plus One. The quartet plays the music of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols, and gives a one of a kind jazz interpretation of Georges Bizet's Prelude and Aragonaise from the Bizet opera, "Carmen."

Tenor playing on that DVD is of the highest order. But also let's get this clear,Krystall has one of the best sounds in tenor, a real bold full of life jazz tenor saxophone sound. Vivid! He is a great example of that your sound is one of the most powerful tools of expression that you have, and one of the first things that a listener will take away from your performance. Think of Ben Webster,Dexter, Bird or Trane; for masters like these sound was an integral part of their musical identity. Just hearing that sound was enough to get their message across to the audience. Marty's sound encompasses all the aspects of his musicianship, and is a direct result of what he is about. His has become ingrained into his personal concept, becoming an essential part of the overall message that he is communicating when he creates. That is why you need to hear him.


One of my biggest memorys via Marty is from about eight years ago, I was in Los Angeles for some college workshops, concerts and gigs. I went to Martys home one afternoon to hang. We listened to music, tried some of Martys great clarinet barrels (which I have been playing on my Selmer Signature clarinet almost a decade by now! If you play clarinet- you need this. Buy it now, it's exceptional. http://convertabore.com/ ), smoked some great cigars outside while enjoying the Krystall gardens and met his fantastic son Ben, and had a great time. It was about the music- and an affirmation for myself that I've been blessed throughout my life to have a direct connection to the music/musicians/friends like this-this was one of those times. More recently we hooked up at the NAMM show 2011. Had a great sushi hang with Marty, and one of my greatest friends in this musical life Rob Polan from Rico Reeds. It was amazing energy and we had some great sushi. These kind of hangs are memories to, things that keep my fire going and are really something else.

One of my dreams is- that someday Marty Krystall will get to play the Village Vanguard in New York City. With a band of his. I'd love to watch peoples faces when they hear him play, solo and expand the music right in front of them. He's playing the REAL thing. NOW. That would be a groove to hear and watch in New York City! They would love him madly.

Find him at Amazon here;

Dig him at his website here;

Listen to him play here;


Then check this out ;
Marty Krystall - clarinet; arranged and conducted by John Neufeld. Capitol Records and Westlake Studios for the CD "Silver Screen in Blue (for Clarinet and Strings)". Available at http://www.k2b2.com/ and iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?id=320266147&s=143441 Also at amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Screen-Blue-Clarinet-

LISTEN- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cacXPCytwKc&feature=channel_video_title

I hope this Rico Blog gets a wider audience for one of the most creative artists in our era-Marty Krystall. Check him out!

~ Till next week- Tim Price

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