Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- Tim Price solo transcription by Brian Falkokski

Here's an MP3 from the Tim Price audio page at my web sight. From Long Island NY jam session 'bout 1986 or so. In any case, I felt good that day & the music was fun & loose. ( As it should be!)

Big thanks and kudos to Brian Falkowski for transcribing this solo on " Softly As A Morning Sunrise"- HE DID A GREAT JOB! The transcription is here as well.

I got a real laugh out of his Email telling me he was only 2 when I did this. He said he's off to take it thru 12 keys so I'm excited about that. ( He was 2!!! LOL )

Hope you guys really enjoy it.

For the tech minds out there; I was using a Lawton 10star-bb mouthpiece and Rico brown box #5 reeds. Remember those great reeds??! Enjoy!

Solo is here;

I could of played better/more so I felt good but you always feel like there's things that_SHOULD OF_and could of been better....Though I felt good about where this went.

Hope you enjoy it.

Thanks to Brian Falkowski too....GREAT TRANSCRIPTION.

The attached transcriptions are here, as it was hard to load on this blog.
But I wanted to re-document these,as a source for folks to get to them for study etc.
Brian did a great job, and, it's a solo, even though years ago, I can live with.



~ Tim Price

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- How To Learn A Tune. ( a hands on study on the study aspects of this )

A young saxophone player wrote me from Korea,and was very happy with his results
about my advise on the blog about Big Nick's advise. His question was about the basis of basic tune learning.

So, I decided to do a blog for my friend from Korea- and anyone else who wants to get the insights into some basic tools.

Check it out! It works!!


Learning tunes is more of a challenge for the contemporary jazz student than it was in my student days. The “casual” gigs we played to make money were usually dances, Bar Mitzvahs, weddings, restaurant gigs, strip lounges and the like. Fortunately, the tunes we played on these gigs were the same tunes from the classic American Standard song repertoire we played in jam sessions and jazz gigs. Tunes by Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Jimmie van Heusen, etc.

I used to lug my fakebooks to every gig. The problem was, the band leaders would often call medleys which gave me no time to find the page in the books for a particular tune. Rather than wait for you they’d say “fake it , fake it.” You‘d listen to the bass and guitar player for the changes and the form and after a few choruses you’d have most of it by ear. Any gaps in your knowledge would then be easily filled with a few questions like “What was the change in the third bar of the bridge?”

I began my first semester at Berklee in 1969. I estimate that by early 1971 I knew 250 tunes without the paper. Knowing so many tunes affords one a unique perspective that may be impossible for the contemporary student to acquire.

First ; today’s commercial gigs are generally “Top 40” tunes and not part of the standard jazz musicians repertoire.

Secondly; only after you’ve learned 1,000 tunes do you realize that there are really only about 20 song forms and every tune is a combination of segments of these 20 forms. This overview made it easier to learn (internalize) any new tune. Thirdly; the current proliferation of original music makes this overview more difficult to achieve.

Another way of say this is that new learning which is resonant with our musicianship can be remembered readily (often instantaneously) because it ties into something we already know.”
“Let the melody be your guide” is sage advice for the jazz improvisor but may not be so for learning a tune as usually the melody is the most complex element of a tune and therefore the most difficult to memorize.

1. Learn the key.
2. Learn the meter.
4. Learn the length.
5. Learn the form. (AABA, ABA, etc.)
6. Learn the harmonic form. Where are the I chords, major and minor? Once you have the I chords you know that every I chord is preceded by it's appropriate II-V.
7. Learn the first chord of every section. (AABA) Is it a I, II, or V chord?
8. Since the melody fits the chords, at this point you should have enough info to begin learning the most difficult and complex part of a tune, the melody. It must be learned by rote. No short-cuts. Then test yourself. Can you sing the melody with and then without the chords being played underneath it?

It’s almost impossible to memorize a tune isolated in a practice room. It takes at least three times of playing a tune in a performance context to learn it. Performance gives you even more information to relate to. i.e., the other instrumental parts (bass line, chordal accompaniment, horn melodies, drum beats, etc.). Rhythm sections encounter more memorization difficulties as they usually don’t get the opportunity to learn the melody of a song as the horns are usually playing it.
Every pianist, guitarist, bassist and drummer should know and be able to play the melody of a tune.

The first two times use the paper, the third time, throw the paper away and try to work from what you have in your head. Make mental notes of what you can't remember and work on it later. It's important that you get away from paper as soon as possible.

When you're looking you're not hearing!Confirm you have it memorized. The best time to review a tune is when laying in bed before going to sleep. At a certain point the mind goes into it's "Alpha" state, which is the ideal mental state in which to work on memorization. Go over all the aspects of the tune in the above order, making mental notes of what you can't remember, then work on them next day.

If, you have any more questions ask Tim Price.

Till next week...practice your long tones!!

The picture above the blog- is two of my inspirational friends from the California area.
Ernie Watts and Marty Krystall- these guys can plaay some serious saxophone- check them out. Inspiring human beings too!


Art Pepper Live At Dontes- with Joe Romano

In my opinion- here are two of the greatest players that ever lived.

This CD is so important- get it and learn!

The tunes on it, are things all jazz players play. These versions are
some of the very best versions of the tunes ever. Let's face it, quiet as it's kept Art Pepper was as important as Coltrane or anyone ever. Listen and find out why!'
And Romano...the greatest alto and tenor player. This is one of the best CD's in jazz. Study it- and keep listening to it. It is the real thing.

Tim Price

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- Gifts that I continue to be thankful for.

My friends there is a very thin line, sometimes with a pale shadow attached, between what happens on the bandstand,in the shed,writing your thoghts in your blogs, and in the classroom. All involve the now, listening being in the moment.

Instruments, reeds,paper,laptop, pencil, the mind as messenger for the mind and heart are our tools for being in this life.

Whether it's playing with a cool band,or some friends playing Monk tunes, writing a really good line of poetics,learning some new ideas or tunes, or connecting with and enjoying your students.All are gifts that I continue to be thankful for, and always will be.We now have to believe in our true selves and realize that what we do is a gift!

Every day is Thanksgiving !

Let me also add, to me , communication is most important . So, it there is no direct communication with the audience for which you are playing, there goes your job. Play music for people- and watch the result!

John Coltrane used to talk about imagining his music reaching out and embracing his audiences.Remember before Trane was Trane he was a player who could rock the house on the blues, and play any standard song.
When you speak of touching someone and reaching out- There's Charles Lloyd. His contribution since he hit the scene is a music of huge evocativeness, brilliantly conceived and played. Charles always is always coming up with music of immense power and authority. As great as any jazz master as well- and someone who has the wisdom to move forward as himself.His message is a supreme joy-and just watch the audience react as he plays. Communication!

I hope these words help motivate you to explore your music even more.

Keep the channel open. Thanksgiving.

Enjoy the holiday and the moment.

~ Tim Price

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)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- Anchor Man-Charlie Fowlkes

~ Not enough credit, or attention is being paid to the saxophone section. That being said eg-playing in a section as a member of a team. In my opinion, there is a real loss these days of " sax section playing" and blending as a unit.

In some current blogs, I will try to bring your attention to the section, and a few _GREAT_recorded examples and players so you have a reference. Of course everyone would say Duke Ellington! Hodges, Harry and the boys. Of course! I'll get to that but- this week I want to pass some attention and love to THE ANCHOR MAN. A baritone saxophonist that anchored one of the greatest Basie saxophone sections. Mr. Charlie Fowlkes! Here is a sound man! A full vibrant baritone section sound, great intonation,shading,dynamics, phrasing and consistency.

In his Basie years, I always caught him on a Conn low Bb bari with a metal Berg Larsen. As time passed, it was a low Bb Conn 12M (Mexi-conn ;Nogales) and a Meyer NYUSA 7 mouthpiece.I believe that horn Danny Bank had after Charlie passed. He had such a correct baritone sound to blend in that Basie band. If your looking to hear a "classic" jazz saxophone baritone saxophone sound, this is your man. Younger players I urge you to listen to him- study the Basie recordings and google him, go to and look for the recordings. This is a saxophone lesson in front of you.

Charlie Fowlkes' relationship with Count Basie sets records for sideman stints, lasting more than 25 years.He could be in the Guinness Book Of Records if anyone counted! Fowlkes also showed a sense of loyalty, he also played in Lionel Hampton reed section for four years and spent six years in a combo led by Tiny Bradshaw, also was a member of Arnett Cobb's bands.

Fowlkes also studied alto and tenor saxophone, clarinet and violin before settling on the baritone sax. Influenced by the Duke Ellington baritone sax Harry Carney.He was still with Basie when he died in 1980. He was born in 1916. ( February 16, 1916 - February 9, 1980 )

The period with Lionel Hampton the sax section was loaded with giants. You can find a lot of these re-issues on Metronome classics CD's. Check out the saxophone section with Herbie Fields on clarinet, you can spot a young Johnny Griffin on tenor, Ben Kynard alto, Arnett Cobb, Bobby Plater and Charlie Fowlkes. ( My source here was my man in Blogs Marc Meyers.
The picture was from # from one of Marcs readers, Betty.Thank you Jazz Wax- Also check out Marc's great writing and love of all things jazz. He's very cool- and a must read! )

~ I urge you younger players to study, absorb and check out this kind of saxophone section playing. Especially Charlie. His playing on " Ebentide" on the Basie Roulette records is amazing, melody, solo and the art of being a member of a team.If you can ever find a copy of Frank Wess recording of " I Hear Ya Talking" - get it. It has some of the greatest music on it and was released on Savoy Jazz Records as SJL 1136 in 1984, recorded in 1959. The players are- Frank Wess (flute/tenor sax/alto sax), Thad Jones (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Charlie Fowlkes (baritone sax), Hank Jones (piano), Eddie Jones (bass) and Gus Johnson (drums). If you search you can get-
Count Basie & His Orchestra - Complete Roulette Studio Recordings. That is a must as well on all counts saxophone wise.

Also here is a fun link to some insights on Charlie and Mr. Frank Foster and friends relaxing, talking about music.

SO-This is a birds eye view of Charlie Fowlkes! Go listen, and hit
All the answers are on the recordings dear reader. Thanks to my friend Jeffery Powell
for the decades of great information on Charlie. Jeff, is a French Horn player who knows and loves Mr. Fowlkes as much as I do.

Till next week- listen to this man as much as possible.

~ Tim Price


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- 60 years in the Scorpio lane.

60....years in the Scorpio lane.

Today I turn 60, and you know what? I'm glad I'm the era, and foundation as a person that comes from the dues that comes with that age.
As a young man I was taught to respect experience, listen and learn. God knows I did! Otherwise I would not be here writing these blogs for RICO!
I came up in the time period when I'd go to hear Count Basie and couldn't wait to hear Marshall Royal and Lockjaw Davis. Sure they were older men, but that was where the music was. The real essence of time spent at a craft, and hard work. You listened and you learned. The results were there but you had to take the time to find, listen and apply. Same as with my Berklee education, I was with the masters. Guys who were in the field, and earned stripes. I carried that vibe all through my life and guess what? IT WORKED.

So many times, and I note with extreme interest that people feel the need to juggle the numbers in their age. Why? Let your experience and dues paid
lead the way.The years post-Berklee as I say many times here, riding through the South in Motown band buses with acts like Billy Paul, Lloyd Price, Chuck Berry on
through major road big bands, where you were living on the bus for months and months traveling,and major rock bands.Gigs in Boston as a student,when you were EXPECTED to be inside the gig,playing with musicians two times your age,dealing and learning. Experience that could never be bought, on AND OFF the bandstand.Think about it.

As a teen- my years were way different. I was playing high school dances, and later bars by the time I was 16, the thrill and the chase of getting into bars like my friends was kind of old hat after a few dozen working gigs. Going drinking was something different, and meeting women was immediate.You learned fast on both counts- or the dues would haunt you big time.I came to play,to learn and as I found out years later survive.

Rehearsing big bands in local bars where stale beer and tobacco smell was the call of the day. I also did some theater things, but I was working three nights a week and playing shore points in Jersey in the summer or Philly suburbs. The bands paid higher and I needed back up cash for Berklee- as I was dead set on going there. The summer gigs were a ball, most times from 8 to 2. There was more after hours places, that ran from 11 at night to 6 in the morning.You held your schedule, and stayed on track.
The bands always car pooled, or in the summers had comp rooms at shore points. The money was excellent! It sure beat the alternative, I was working with older players, in places where I had to conduct myself, and be responsible to be on the sets on time.
Plus- knowing all the music without a Ipad in front of you, or a real book touch screen for a tune you should of known before you took any gig.It still baffles me how a University level tenor saxophonist can not know the bridge melody to " Body & Soul"! Those kind of things when I was 18 you had to know, There was no excuse.
There was NO coddling, I just could see John LaPorta's face with some things these days.But as I grew ,through my saxophone, I could gain entrance into another world that most never dreamed of. ~ AKA-Making a living with a horn in my hand!

I embrace getting older.I walk proud. I'm getting stronger, more experienced, learning to live our life to the fullest, it's actually a process of continual mental development. Each day is better.

I will always have the sense of freedom I had in my 20's. The older I get, the less I care about what others think of me. Therefore, the older I get, the more I enjoy life.It works that way with the music also.Teaching as well.

I'll leave you with a quote that sums up what I 'm after ;

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
Henry Ford

Learning to live stress free and without negative thoughts, is the key to staying positive.The key to staying positive, is living through a lifetime of stressful and negative situations with a positive outlook.
I choose early on to be positive, it works.

BY THE WAY- The picture at the top of the Rico Blog is me when I was 19 at Berklee
At that time, we'd session every Tuesday-Thursday on the 2ed floor. In this great room that Hal Grossman ( Saxophonist Steve's brother )who was Berklee faculty and a great friend made sure I had access to. In other words a key for myself! That room was the best, great piano, sound etc. Many times other Berklee faculty would come by
and join us. Many times Steve Grossman and Junior Cook would come by when in town and
we'd know we had much more work to do! LOL. Understanding that in my late teens was an asset for realizing the sun didn't rise and set when I wanted. I had to work for it- I was never feeling entitled. The music is bigger than all of us anyhow!

ALSO- I WAS PLAYING RICO BROWN BOX #5 REEDS. Great times- great reeds and this was about 1970. I used 5's on Bari too! LaVoz medium hard on alto. Those LaVoz boxes from that era-the black and green box. THE HOLY GRAIL OF ALTO REEDS!

Love what you do, do what you love.

I never had to work a day in my life,because I love what I do! And I say that all the
time- good times or bad.

Till next week- Tim Price