Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico-Shifting our energy to higher consciousness. < and a playing tip from Big Nick >

I suggest if you want some freedom and personal forward motion you try this for a week: turn off the TV and computer games, use the phone and text only when necessary, and spend the rest of the time doing things that make you think, feel, create or anything that shows an active involvement and appreciation of you life. It's way off the hook, people are talking on the phone in restaurants instead of enjoying the meal they just ordered. Musicians and students need to get their life in order. I've thought and researched it- in one year the average person watches about 1200 hours of TV. Think of what could be learned in 1200 hours in one year. One could become competent on their instrument, and lots more. It's very staggering, and a form of freedom I enjoy. For musicians, you also will reach a moment of clarity and understand time needs to be allocated to insure mastery. As you start the process of practicing thoughtfully you will be able to gauge how much time it takes to accomplish your goals.When outside diversions and distractions are removed then you get down to the real nitty gritty of your journey. Thus begins a new world, watch what happens. In a week there are 168 hours. Most people work about 40-50 hours and sleep fifty to sixty hours. That leaves over 50 hours of loose time. Think about it- try it you'll like it.

Great jazz players are known for being undiluted and real. Doing what everyone else is doing is not an option. With that in mind- please try this.To many younger jazz player's main focus is to conform to and imitate what great jazz musicians have played. They think that if they play Coltrane's ideas then maybe they will become hip or famous too. Shedding transcriptions is an asset- but use it to assist your quest and a learning tool. That I have no problem with, at all. It's fun too! Great jazz is about those who play who they are, individuality can't be mass-produced.

As people in a creative world, we need to shift our energy to higher consciousness levels.Add something to this beautiful planet earth-Gaia!Inspiration,personal forward motion and positive thoughts.Be YOU....and strive to be you.

OK- Here's one for the musicians;BALLAD FOCUS I CALL IT.

Do this- it works!Play the first two bars of the melody of a ballad 15 times, each phrasing the melody differently, but in a way that is expressive yet still melodic. The rhythm can be changed, the melody can be broken up differently with different length rests,dynamics and shapes within dynamics .OK- do not change the actual pitches; once you change the pitches and the rhythm it is no longer the tune that is was to begin with. VARY THE MELODY.
By doing this- you start to look deep inside melodys to find ways of playing and giving new life to the melody each time you play it.Then you can be more accountable for your creativity and the music also speaks with more coming from the melodic. Playing a two bar phrase versus the whole tune allows you to remember what you did two bars ago, than trying to remember what you did thirty-two bars ago. Try it- it works! This important information I gained from Big Nick- the legendary saxophonist that Coltrane wrote the tune " Big Nick" for. ( See picture and words below! )

ALSO -Check out our RICO friends killin' it at a master class. Two of my favorite players and educators. Unique one of a kind musicians. The drum feel is so beautiful and connected to Frank's improv- a real lesson with deep roots.

Frank Catalano & Rick Drumm @ Master Class

In closing, see the clinic flyer I'm doing with Theo Wanne this Monday and Tuesday in the New York areas. Stop by if you in the hood! Check the details here ;

Have a great week- and understand that to give is much greater than to receive,be the change that Gandhi talked about.

~ Tim Price


I played with Big Nick Nicholas. As you know BIG NICK, is a song John Coltrane
wrote for jazz legend Big Nick Nicholas. With Nick I played some great jazz clubs, clinics and gained advise and inspiration that was NOT in books.He'd call me on the phone- give me words of inspiration and advise.On the breaks in the clubs we'd go in the back and practice together,he hipped me to the "verse"..from " Body and Soul". He was also the guy who Charlie Parker went to when he wanted tune advise for his historic record- " Bird With Strings". We played " Smalls" in NYC, when it first opened and also "Fat Tuesday". He was a deep inspiration to me,to stand aside him on the bandstand was an honor.

Big Nick also had one of the biggest saxophone sounds in jazz-he was instrumental in helping find peace of mind in this music as well. One of the " tips" I gave you above on ballads is right from Big Nick!

George Walker "Big Nick" Nicholas (August 2, 1922, Lansing, Michigan – October 29, 1997, Queens, New York City)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Tim,
    Great stuff and one other thing.The interpitation of ballads (or songs period)can be positively affected by your understanding of the lyrics.If you would,sing the tune and see how many different ways you can rhythmicly manipulate the sylables."My heart is sad and lonely,for you I sigh for you dear only".It also helps to have a specific feel in mind as you do this (ie: is it a two feel,is it an eighth note ballad etc?).The great players of this music know the tunes from their source and the American Standards are vocal music.They where the pop tunes of a far better day. Ernie Krivda