Monday, December 24, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- Musical visions in the Christmas spirit. Plus- Cooking with T.P.

My vision of music that echos humanity is that we can, and should strive to contribute to a better world through music. By bring together musicians and music lovers who are concerned about the welfare of humanity and our planet we can use music to improve the world!That way,we can enjoy the music twice. Once through listening, creating/recording/sharing and again through others enjoyment and enrichment.Music that echos something I always felt.No matter where the musician creates and performs,we are approaching music’s singular destination every time.That state beyond the everyday sensory experience, adding something to the music and being at one with and literally becoming the music.No other job or life style contains that.Check that out..
Musicians need to add compassion,generosity and kindness to their message,that helps to start crystallizing our thoughts,to help the music reach out more to the peoples ears. I am grateful that nothing is out of the realm of possibility.Enjoy your Christmas holidays everyone...Happy New Year to you all.
NOW...For my man Rob Polans favorite part of my holiday blogs; THE COOKING WITH T.P. section! This year,Spicy Walleye with Vegetables and Basil Cream and a special Christmas cookie idea. Look out Rob! Ha!!! Ingredients 6 walleye fillets 1 1/2 cups flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper, as spicy as you like 1/3 cup olive oil 3 tablespoons butter 1 bag frozen corn 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped 1 orange bell pepper, chopped 1 medium onion, chopped 1/2 cup whipping cream 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil, or basil pesto, drained Directions Coat fish fillets with seasoned flour. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add fish and fry on both sides until crispy and brown. (You will probably have to fry fish in 2 batches.) Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. In the same pan, melt butter. Add vegetables and saute over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Meanwhile, heat whipping cream and basil in a small saute pan until thickened. To serve, place vegetables on plate, top with fish, and drizzle with basil cream.This is a special fish to find- but I suggest talking to your market and checking the supply and demand in your city. It's worth it!
Cognac Christmas Cookies !! Ingredients 6 ounces chocolate chips 2 1/2 Cups vanilla wafers, crushed fine (a box; less some nibbles) 1 Cup pecans (finely chopped; start with 8-10 ounces whole) 1/2 Cup sugar (white, granulated) 1/4 Cup corn syrup 1/3 Cup Cognac (use the best you can afford, it makes a difference) Instructions Melt chocolate bits. If you have never worked with melted chocolate before, then use a double boiler with the burner set on low. Crush vanilla wafers very fine (fineness is important). Chop pecans (again fineness is everything). Add sugar, corn syrup and cognac (You can use 1 nip of cognac and 1/2 nip of rum; works fine and costs less). Stir in pecans and wafer crumbs. Now you learn why you were supposed to grind them very finely. By now the mixture should be a smooth paste. Remove from heat and form into about 1-inch balls. Roll balls in extra granulated sugar: makes 3-4 dozen. * Store these in an air-tight container; if you are a chocoholic, have someone hide them from you. They are best if you allow them to age and mellow. THERE YOU GOT IT...have fun and keep it real in the kitchen folks!
~ Enjoy your holidays....Remember we are the conductors of a symphony called life. Live life and keep it flowing, not just for yourself but for all those around you. Merry Christmas ~ Tim Price

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- RAVI.... Thank you.

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- Ravi. Supreme master.Thank you.
To me...the words of Charles Lloyd say it so well ; " Master of masters, Ravi Shankar, a great loss to humanity and to music. He sits here with his beloved Alla Rakha who has woven me into the fabric of their tradition through his son, Zakir. Blessings abound. Namaste." Charles Lloyd
Ravi Shankar, who has died aged 92 after undergoing heart surgery, was the Indian maestro who put the sitar on the musical map. George Harrison called him "the godfather of world music" and it was Shankar's vision that brought the sounds of the raga into western consciousness. He was thus the first performer and composer to substantially bridge the musical gap between India and the west. He was still winning awards in the new century: in 2002 his album Full Circle: Live at Carnegie Hall (2000) achieved a Grammy for best world music album. Shankar's distinction as a sitar player lay in his brilliant virtuosity, creativity and musicianship. In the west his name is synonymous with the music of India. Shankar gave his first concert in 1939, and the following year began giving recitals with Khan's son Ali Akbar Khan, the sarodist, on All India Radio. He first made an impression in his own right with scores written in Mumbai for two notable Indian films of 1946, Dharti ke Lal (Children of the Earth) and Neecha Nagar (The City Below), and composed for the Indian People's Theatre Association. In 1946-47 he was involved with producing and composing music for a ballet entitled The Discovery of India, based on the book by Jawaharlal Nehru. He later founded and became the musical director of All India Radio's first National Orchestra and was sent on foreign cultural tours by the Indian government. In addition to an arduous performing schedule, he composed the music for the films comprising Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy (1955-59). He also composed a concerto (1971), which he performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by André Previn. Shankar's initial exploration of the possibilities of combining jazz and Indian classical music led to the album Improvisations (1961). He went on to teach Indian music to the jazz musicians John Coltrane and Don Ellis, and for the drummer Buddy Rich and tabla player Alla Rakha he composed Rich à la Rakha (1968). His first meeting with George Harrison and Paul McCartney of the Beatles came in 1966, at a friend's house in London. Harrison took up the sitar and later that year went to India for a period of intensive tuition. From this partnership came Shankar Family & Friends (1974). Shankar also created a musical partnership with Yehudi Menuhin. They had met in 1951 when the violinist was visiting India, though Shankar vividly recalled having seen him at rehearsals when they were boys in Paris in the 30s. In 1967, they played for the UN general assembly at a human rights day event. They also recorded three albums together, the first of which, East Meets West, won a Grammy award in 1967. Performances at the great pop festivals of the time – Monterey, California, in 1967; Woodstock in 1969; and Concert for Bangladesh, New York, in 1971 – brought Shankar even more firmly into the west's popular gaze and saw him established as a pioneer of crossover sounds.His genius, of course, lay in a combination of gravitas and gaiety. Shankar not only transcended culture, race and geography, but also had no difficulty with the generation gap and differences of social class. The flower-power generation and their successors listened to what he had to offer with open minds. He was showered with citations and awards: in 1999 he was appointed a Bharat Ratna (Jewel of India), in 2000 a Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur in France, and in 2001 an honorary KBE in Britain. In the US he was an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In later years he divided his time between Encinitas, California, and Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, where the Ravi Shankar Institute of Music and the Performing Arts was the culmination of his lifelong dream. Housed in an elegant pink granite building, it attracts students from all over the world.
~~~~ I've seen Ravi over 27 times live in the US. The first time was at MIT in Boston- 1969. I left that concert in a total high musically. Never came back from it. Words,emotions and anything are beyond me. He just....did it. That was the real deal there. He had that space the music went too...My respect for the splendor he created within his art is beyond MY words. The color and the significance is inspirational.You should try to hear him as much as possible...this is a master of masters. He has deeply influenced my vision and interpretation...Ravi Shankar is a blessed and inspirational human being that will never be forgotten.
~ Bright sun upon you Ravi. Thank you - Tim Price

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- DEXTER! ( More Than You Know Documentary ) Happiness is a Rico #3 reed..Dexter!! !!

Dexter Gordon is the first musician to translate the language of Bebop to the tenor saxophone.
If you don't have can't be in this business- Dexter Gordon
Dexter Gordon More Than You Know Documentary!
dexter gordon 4 tet feat albert tootie heath This is vital timeless history- listen and learn.
Dexter Gordon (February 27, 1923 – April 25, 1990) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist and an Academy Award-nominated actor (Round Midnight, Warner Bros, 1986). He is regarded as one of the first and most important musicians to adapt the bebop musical language of people like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell to the tenor saxophone. His studio and live performance career were both extensive and multifaceted, spanning over 50 years in recorded jazz history.
Darlin... be-bop is the music of the future. Dexter Gordon
When you know the lyrics to a tune, you have some kind of insight as to it's composition. If you don't understand what it's about, you're depriving yourself of being really able to communicate this poem. Dexter Gordon
If you can't play the blues... you might as well hang it up. Dexter Gordon
TO FIND THE FEATURE....Just write into you tube- Dexter Gordon More Than You Know Documentary...It will come right up. Enjoy! LISTEN...AND LEARN....See you next week- Tim Price

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- KING CURTIS

“Play that song called ‘Soul Twist,’ sang Sam Cooke with a small nod and a hip coat-tails pull in the direction of “King” Curtis Ousley. King Curtis played on practically every rock, soul, and R&B hit with a tenor solo between 1955 and the premature end of his soul serenade in 1971. Somewhere in him was the sound a shaving makes when a wood-plane curls it off a plank; that sound may be in all of us, but King Curtis knew how to set it free, turn it loose, and toss it out onto the dancefloor. Which was probably made of pine planks drenched with stale beer & cigarette butts.As people of all ages and races listened, danced and grooved to a _MUSICIAN_beyond category. King Curtis was very much in demand as a sax player by nearly every musician in the business. One of his memorable sax solos can be heard on the Coasters' Yakety Yak. The list of people that he worked with is in the hundreds and reads like a who's who of musicians in the early days of rock-and-roll. At this point in time...WHO ELSE played/recorded with-: Lionel Hampton, Buck Clayton, Nat King Cole, Joe Turner, The McGuire Sisters, Andy Williams, Chuck Willis, The Coasters, Buddy Holly, LaVern Baker, Bobby Darin, Brook Benton, Neil Sedaka, The Drifters, Sam Cooke, The Isley Brothers, Solomon Burke, The Shirelles, Nina Simone, The Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Mann, Wilson Pickett, Duane Allman, Eric Clapton and John Lennon. He managed to put three songs in the top forty in the 60's, but all were instrumentals at a time when instrumentals were not popular with the record buying public [when you hear Sam Cooke say "Play that one called Soul Twist" in his 1962 hit Having A Party, he is referring to the King Curtis song]. One of my all time fav King Curtis records that was re-issued on CD is " Live At Filmore".The gig largely consists of soul staples the band had honed and perfected while on the chitlin circuit; Memphis Soul Stew, Soul Serenade, Freddie King's I Stand Accused and Stevie Wonder's big hit Signed Sealed & Delivered I'm Yours. Curtis rounds it out with with top 40 material such as Procol Harum's Whiter Shade Of Pale, Jeff Walker's Mr. Bojangles and Led Zep's Whole Lot Of Love. Listen to Kings SAXELLO preach on this well as the THICK and BEAUTIFUL alto sax sound on " Ode To Billie Joe"..
Another King Curtis favorite of mine was the record with Jimmy Forrest and Oliver Nelson.King really sounded great with Jimmy and Oliver and made those guys hit the groove hard.
Another the record called...KING CURTIS & THE SHIRELLES.King plays saxello-and it is really a treasure chest of unique music.I put that record on when I want to hear King really create a space in some music.
There's a lot of "lip service"...on who sounds like King Curtis or is influenced by him.There are SO many.I say his style even flowed into production and guitarists.King had that _THICK AS A BRICK_palm key sound King did and the ability to make a chord with a root-3ed-5th and MAJOR 7th sound funky and hip.Years ago it was called-SOUL.For those in the know- Shea Stadium 1965,King Curtis was the opening-act for The Beatles' concert. A side bit of info-I studied with Garvin Bushell on bassoon in late 70's...Garvin taught KIng when he came to New York from Texas.The point here is, King took a lesson with Garvin EVERYDAY first thing in the morning on weekdays ! Garvin told me Curtis was the hardest workin' student he knew. It showed didn't it? A total tower of power ( no pun ) musically King was in any bag.
King Curtis...someone I think about everyday. He created a lot of work/gigs for saxophone players world wide.
FOR SAXOPHONE PLAYERS...There are a few things lately I've been after via this style. Just some thought food-they are: - velocity = volume, pitch & energy- be aware of articulation at different dynamic levels-listening to your sound, not just imagining-internalizing your pulse-building off the quarter note -building up momentum to get tension- dynamics & evennes- consistency of sound- tension & release- keeping in the style
King Curtis...someone I think about everyday. He created a lot of work/gigs for saxophone players world wide. ~ Till next week- keep your groove going- TIM PRICE
~ This weeks blog is dedicated to ; Bruce McGrath....indeed we shared a great common bond. Talking to you was not only a joy- but a reassurance that there are players out the deserving world class attention. I am sad we never got the chance to play & hang in person. Much respect and saxophonistic brotherhood- RIP Bruce.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tim PriceBloggin' For Rico- FLOW !

Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu
Taoism advocates a doctrine of inaction that says that one must “go with the flow” of nature. This idea, however, is not completely foreign to a Westerner like me because of the writings of other Westerners, like the Transcendentalists, who were also influenced by Eastern philosophy, but I would say that it is a philosophy that is not the mainstream in Western culture. In fact in our fast-paced society, it is often only found in the outskirts of society in what most mainstream Americans would call the hippie types. Taoism’s Lao Tzu (Laozi), whose life has been surrounded by myth over the centuries. He is believed to have been born around 600 BCE during the Chou dynasty. Nothing is known about his childhood or youth, in fact, legend has it that he was immaculately conceived and born already an old man with white hair and a beard.... however, that at some point he was a book keeper of the imperial archives, before he became disillusioned with the government, which he saw as greedy and hypocritical. So, Lao Tzu decides to leave his job and society to seek fulfillment in the solitude of nature. At some point after this realization (Chinese art often portrays him as an old man riding a horse West while writing his philosophy), he writes the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing), which fundamentally outlines his philosophy in a series of poetic statements. The title is translated as something like, “The Classic of the Power of the Way of Nature.” Yin and Yang are not irreconcilable opposites like good and evil, rather they are metaphors for a changing reciprocal flow. Lao Tzu, for example, saw that especially in political culture there was an overabundance of Yang and sought to go the opposite way of society to seek a balance. Therefore, at its center, Taoism is a type of social non-conformity. It finds the imbalances of culture and seeks to go the opposite way in order to find balance. Some quotes from the Tao Te Ching: “Existence is beyond the power of words to define.”
This mind set, and thought can be used to a musicians advantage. Relaxing in the moment- and using the groove is something both classical, rock and jazz adopt in the highest forms. EG- The ALPHA STATE. One of the biggest problems is getting into the right frame of mind, where you eliminate all the conflicting thoughts and are able to concentrate on the objective outcome. Alpha state makes it easier.
Alpha: A mild daydream or light relaxation state. Operating in Alpha can be exemplified to when you are driving a car or when you get captivated into a good book and sort of lose track what is happening around you. It is useful to absorb information when in Alpha and is considered to be highly desirable for more effective creativity. Alpha promotes more of the left side of the brain to be used for processing. Many times Stan Getz refereed to the ALPHA STATE in his work. Stan was a genius and a creative master-who to me was a Zen-reality but in a street wise state. After all who experienced more than Stan?
OK- Have you ever considered at what time are you the most creative or when is your mind highly productive? For some people it is when they just wake up in the morning or when they are about to go to sleep. Others find that they are most creative in the shower or when relaxing in the bath. I have also found that people are creative when they are driving along the highway or going for a relaxing walk. Interestingly, not many people actually state that they are most creative when at work, which could be the reason why our abilities to solve problems. The key to achieving a highly creative and productive mind is to move into a relaxed state of being, that is, when your mind enters the alpha state. Relaxation, music and mind set all equal a high creative state of mind.
I'm about not just playing jazz, or rock, blues,funk but making the music something lager than any word could describe. After all-the music is bigger than all of us! To get to a good train of thought requires practice and being aware of the world. You already have the answers...keep on your dreams and work hard. TILL NEXT WEEK- Enjoy your November- Tim

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tim Price...Bloggin' For Rico- T.P.'s Thanksgiving bonus blog- stuff to shed for the jazz based saxophone & woodwind player. A feast!

I practice everyday, and I practice for at least 2 hours before I do anything. I don't do it because I think that Mike Stern or Sting is going to call. < I wish they would > I do it because it's the one thing in life that has been a constant for me. So few things in life ever remain the same, if any. But the saxophone < and my woodwinds > is the same every day.To me, it's the best ever deal you can make in life. If you work hard and practice at your saxophone , you get better. It's that simple! Think about it. Still grateful to be playing and learning. Looking forward to each gig and rehearsal and student, trying to stay in that vibe. And learn what I can from it. All human beings are linked together through the timeless, universal chain of history and events.The musician links to the practice room and the bandstand. Various life developments have been born in both environs. ~ The first stage of the artistic process involves absorption of principles and techniques that have already been accepted as standard in the field , the artist personalizes past and contemporary styles, meaning active participation in real world. This is why, I've always felt the need to play with all kinds of musicians, any age and of course working heavily with students to develop their "real world" skills. So- till next week - practice hard and eat more vegtables and fruit. Don't forget to do something nice for somebody too, remember compassion is essential with each other. Here's some things to work on also ; STUFF TO SHED FROM TIM PRICE.... Check it out and enjoy.... also- for some more ideas....check through these ; want some ideas on ii-v's...look here; If your looking for a nice warm up / sax sound study-look here; for info on tune study; look here; reed info, look here; sax players food for thought:look here; A nice jazz line using II-V. And a I-VI-II-V...of course If you check my web page- you'll find some intervallic studys on II- V. For those interested in some Bird & bop to shed...check out;
Coltrane's playing had the blues in it- just listen to " COLTRANE PLAY'S THE BLUES"...On Atlantic records or "Blue Trane". If you play jazz, and your playing is void of the blues feel, and sound you are lacking in something very basic, and a vital element to this art form.From Louie Armstrong to Ornette, it's heard and felt. In Pentatonic scale use you can use a C Pentatonic scale over these chords; C maj 7 C7 Dminor7 D7sus 4 Emi7b5 Fmaj7 G7sus4 Ami 7 B7b9sus4 Bbmaj7 F# dom7 F#mi7b5 A player like "Thin man Watts" is a very strong blues&pentatonic player. He know's what he's doing. To take it a step further.... On a D minor7th....chord you can use C pent. over it & its gonna be funky. On a C maj 7....chord you can also use a D pent and is going to be singing and funky. BUT. Also on a C dom 7th chord you can build a pent scale off the SHARP 4th..and it will be hip to. EG~ C7...use F # pent. Check out this blues lesson I have on Sax On The Web about Thin man Watts; It's a lick from his CD-" Return Of The Thin man". The tune- " SLOP BUCKET." IT GOES THRU EVERY KEY OF THE BLUES...within Thin mans rhythmic bag. You can't beat his-TIME-feel of' being funky. Thin man played things that you could FEEL. More folks NEED to get to Noble Thin man his playing carried a message. He told a story!! That aspect today is becoming a lost art. NOT ONLY..could he funk the club down but he was a strong jazz player as well. As a kid,, I heard a 60s organ band at this club in my home town. The club was a semi-famous joint called the "Grand Hotel". It was aside of a railroad station, and had organ groups on weekends. But,one weekend there's this wild band from NYC there. The sax player was as skinny as a telephone poll !!! Later I found out it was a guy named -NOBLE THINMAN WATTS. You could hear him on 2 blocks down the street...PREACHING TENOR . I NEVER FORGOT THIS GUYS was like a tattoo on my soul.People for months in that joint " the Grand Hotel" were still talkin' about the THIN MAN on sax playing there.
Check out these Sax On The Web lessons of mine for ideas and phrases on the blues. Each lesson is very different but still deals with some aspect of blues playing via jazz. Look further down in this one...I have a lick on Birds "Now's The Time" thru 12 keys. ALSO CHECK OUT FOR YOUR EAR ; This lesson , also has some ear training via a nice line to play thru the keys by ear. Then, as usual, a line thru all keys thru some important progressions.
CHECK IT OUT.....HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM TIM PRICE & RICO REEDS. I’m grateful for the music that was inspired by and created in the 60’s: Miles Davis, John Coltrane and all the great Bluenote recordings (Freddie Hubbard, Herbie Hancock, Hank Mobley)There was a profound sense of exploration and subtlety in all this music.I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to hear Ed Beach in New York, a radio station that was jazz music. I’m grateful to have grown up in an era when a middle class family could go on nice vacations, own a house, send their kid to college < Berklee >without going into serious debt. This was also an era when you could be a “starving artist” in New York City, and not actually starve.I came though it and learned something from it. Big time. I'm grateful for a great wife and to have people in my life that understand my quest. Enjoy your holiday my friends~ TIM PRICE

Monday, November 19, 2012

TIM PRICE....Bloggin' For Rico Reeds- Always in Trouble An Oral History of ESP-Disk’ Jason Weiss

TIM PRICE....Bloggin' For Rico Reeds- Always in Trouble An Oral History of ESP-Disk’, The Most Outrageous Record Label in America
Bernard Stollman's ESP-Disk', which issued 125 LPs between 1964 and 1974, might have been the most independent record label of all time. Celebrated in a valuable new book, Jason Weiss's Always In Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk', The Most Outrageous Record Label in America is a fantastic but incomplete adjunct to Broven's massive work, providing a bridge into indie's more recent mutations. Comprising some 40 interviews with Stollman and his cast of spiritual jazzmen and anarcho-surrealist folkies, Always In Trouble is the story of ESP's improbable existence and its real-life consequences.My first ESP record...I bought in a drug store at age 15. It was a "Woolworths" the main street of my hometown. What it did was not only inspire me to find more...But I was transfixed by presentation,deeply felt message, poetic to a fault,music that urges us all to be much better than we are.The U.S. is blessed for jazz labels like this. People who were the greatest artisans; respectful, knowing craft, that just might prod us toward creating better sounds ourselves.I applaud this man. He's an important asset to this life.
In 1964, Bernard Stollman launched the independent record label ESP-Disk' in New York City to document the free jazz movement there. A bare-bones enterprise, ESP was in the right place at the right time, producing albums by artists like Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, and Sun Ra, as well as folk-rock bands like the Fugs and Pearls Before Swine. But the label quickly ran into difficulties and, due to the politically subversive nature of some productions and sloppy business practices, it folded in 1974. Always in Trouble tells the story of ESP-Disk' through a multitude of voices--first Stollman's, as he recounts the improbable life of the label, and then the voices of many of the artists involved.
With offices at various midtown Manhattan locations on the fringes of the City's power centers (including one at 156 5th Avenue, almost exactly halfway between Jukebox Row and Greenwich Village) ESP-Disk' was structurally little different than any other small business behind a stone New York facade. They had a skeleton staff that shipped records to the same system of regional distributors that had been established over the nearly two decades of peacetime to get records thousands of miles from coast to coast (a sea-to-shining-sea coverage challenge never faced by British labels that would colonize "indie" a few decades later in a much smaller territory.) Like many of the other enterprises attempting to spread essentially regional music across the vast continent, ESP's financial treatment of artists often left much to be desired; ditto their marketing. But in the grand scheme of the universe, none of these negative traits mattered much to the ESP story, precisely because the label was also completely independent in a few very literal ways. ESP's discs were as idiosyncratic as mass-produced objects could be: labels, covers and even the color of the vinyl itself changing at the whims of Stollman's available resources and manufacturers.
"You Never Heard Such Sounds in Your Life" was one of the company's slogans. Few outside Manhattan had. ESP-Disk' — “ESP" short for "Esperanto," "Disk'" an abbreviation of Esperanto's word for record, "disko" — became arguably avant-garde music’s first committed champion in the broader culture, delivering the music of Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, the Fugs, the Holy Modal Rounders, and countless others to college campuses everywhere via one of the underground's first pipelines to the world outside. The catalogue's Folkways-on-acid selection of far-out recordings included Timothy Leary, Charles Manson, anti-folk forefathers the Godz, a disc of Esperanto instruction (the inspiration for ESP-1001, in fact), gay cabaret folkie Ed Askew, and others. But mostly there was jazz; deep, uncompromising free jazz from a small, committed scene of downtown musicians who chased new harmonies and ways of improvising. While there were lots of indie labels, few represented as many artists so dedicated to making music truly at odds with the rock, pop, and schmaltz that dominated the charts at ESP's founding. In this respect ESP had no true peers.
Weiss's oral history is a proper academic one, sorting his subjects into separate interviews, including 77 pages with label founder Stollman and anywhere between one-and ten-page transcripts with a few dozen ESP artists. This particular arrangement underscores the hardline independence of the operation and its artists, each character isolated in their own time-tracks. The book thus remains a collection of individual stories without much broader context, and the label's enormous narrative is refracted into small scenes. Unlike the Jukebox Row labels who banded together in a physical neighborhood on the literal fringes of Tin Pan Alley (not to mention jukeboxes everywhere), or '80s/'90s giants like Sub Pop and Matador who were connected by networks of fanzines and college radio, ESP had no such infrastructures. They were alone.
"I knew from the inception that it might be a generation before this music would be accepted," says Stollman. "I couldn't give them the promotion that a major label could. I didn't have the staffing, the resources, or the expertise to do a proper job. I knew I could issue and distribute their records. What happened beyond that was beyond my control." The latter part, at least, might not be entirely true if some of Always In Trouble's subjects are to be believed. Stollman, a trained lawyer who put out ESP-1001 because he'd been hired as a publicist for the Esperanto League of North America and grew passionate about the language, was hardly an aficionado of the avant-garde. Nonetheless, he found himself with the extraordinary ability to identify fellow independent spirits. And document them. Throughout Always In Trouble, the artists get a chance to settle scores or make peace. Each shared grievance illuminates another tiny strand of Stollman's complicated persona, which — owing in part to the book's structure — remains a cipher throughout.
A facet of Bernard Stollman's (and ESP's) persona was borne of another kind of independence. Stollman’s parents had founded a successful chain of clothing stores in upstate New York after WWII. Their wealth and generosity gave him the chance to pursue his dream, to channel his own particular creativity. That support included their help at the office and they even gamely manned the door when ESP rented the Village Theater for a year-long Fugs residency. The Fugs' Ed Sanders, who declined to be interviewed by Weiss, owing to the publication of his own memoir, Fug You! last year, wrote that "the oi is still oi-ing in the Oi over [the Fugs'] ESP contract terms" and went on to confide that "a close relative of the label's owner told me the family viewed the owner as unstable and helped bankroll in lieu of therapy or confinement." The author, Jason Weiss, has written about jazz musician Steve Lacy previously to this book. There's 21 pages of b&w photographs-mostly ESP-DISK artists, and several album covers. There's also a photo of the seemingly illusive Bernard Stollman, creator of the label. By the way, the label name comes from Esperanto Disko (the Esperanto word for records), and was shortened to ESP-DISK.
This book is about as close as we'll get to an inside look at this esoteric label, which is mainly an outlet for free jazz/outside jazz/avant garde jazz, or whatever you want to label this music. The book is aimed more towards fans who are familiar with the label's artists and their music. However, someone new to this music will come away with a bit more insight into both the label and the music. Label owner Bernard Stollman not only recorded free jazz, but groups like PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, THE GODZ, THE FUGS, and released albums by artists like William Burroughs, Yma Sumac (not Amy Camus), and Charles Manson, among others.One of the more interesting releases was the album "The East Village Other". Artists include Steve Weber (HOLY MODAL ROUNDERS), Tuli Kupferberg (THE FUGS), THE VELVET UNDERGROUND ( their first recorded appearance with a song titled "Noise"), Marion Brown (with two others playing "Jazz Improv"), Allan Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky ("Mantras") Andy Warhol, and a few others. This is truly a period piece that speaks to those times-especially Side Two of the original album, which was taken up with "Engraved side with a lot of saxophones". The label also recorded speeches and songs during the civil rights era in America.
The first portion of the book is a long (about 75 pages) interview with Stollman, beginning with his boyhood and family. Among the subjects he talks about are becoming a lawyer and early on, winning a case for three bass players (including Art Davis and Reggie Workman) whose instruments were damaged, and helping Mary Lou Williams with publishing problems. Volunteering to do legal work for Moe Asch (Folkways Records), he also went to hear Albert Ayler during this period, and wound up recording Ayler's first album, "Spiritual Unity". This was the turning point for Stollman, who decided to start up a record label. He talks about financing the label by asking his parents for his inheritance-which they gave him.From here Stollamn talks about a number of the artists he recorded for his label. Stollman also relates how he met Jimi Hendrix, and wanted to record him, but Hendrix said he had a plane ticket to London, but would like to discuss it when he returned. And we know how that turned out. Stollman also met Janis Joplin at the Village Theater, who had written her sister, "I'm going to New York to record for ESP-DISK." But her new manager signed her to Columbia Records instead. He also talks about the record business and his own troubles trying to keep ESP-DISK afloat, and how he revived the label beginning in 2003.
ESP stands as a still-breathing example of independence — not in the American marketplace or even the new global one, but the very real world, a sequence of business and practical decisions made by Stollman and Stollman alone. Stollamn talks about a number of the artists he recorded for his label. Stollman also relates how he met Jimi Hendrix, and wanted to record him, but Hendrix said he had a plane ticket to London, but would like to discuss it when he returned. And we know how that turned out. Stollman also met Janis Joplin at the Village Theater, who had written her sister, "I'm going to New York to record for ESP-DISK." But her new manager signed her to Columbia Records instead. He also talks about the record business and his own troubles trying to keep ESP-DISK afloat, and how he revived the label beginning in 2003.The rest of the book is taken up with interviews of many (over three dozen) of the label's artists. Some are bitter at their lack of royalty payments, and others are grateful for having the chance to record their music, and some are a bit of both. Fans of the label's artists will find this portion of the book interesting, informative, and sometimes enlightening. Reading what the artists have to say about the label, the music, and that whole period is like a look back in time. In a way, these interviews "humanize" the artists-there not mysterious people we only hear playing music.Some of the artists interviewed include Gunter Hampel, John Tchcai, James Zitro, Sonny Simmons, Gary Peacock, Milford Graves, Tom Rapp, Roswell Rudd, Guiseppi Logan, William Parker, Ken Vandermark, Gato Barbieri, Sirone, Sonny Murray, and many others. Weiss also interviewed Richard Alderson, who was the engineer on a number of the label's recording dates.Together they paint a picture of the label, the music, and that particular period of time, with first hand insights and observations.
Though some artists arguably lost money by signing their ESP contracts, they surely received (or reaffirmed) something via the arrangement: the knowledge that independence isn't just a personal mission, its life. The artist alone decides but, really, so does everybody.
"YOU NEVER HEARD SUCH SOUNDS IN YOUR LIFE" ~ Have a great Thanksgiving everyone....stay inspired- TIM PRICE