Monday, February 27, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- The constant in life as a musician.

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 ;


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-

For those interested in some Bird & bop to shed...check out;



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- NOW'S THE TIME! For where thoughts travel your energies do follow!

We as a music community ( jazz, pop, classical, students, rock, indy etc etc) need to get out and start supporting each other more. One of the most fascinating dimensions of this music, today is all the people involved in it. But, when I attend a concert, club gig or student recital, it's very shocking to see the empty seats. In the last few weeks, I noted with great interest that this was evident.

In short, people need to start to support each other more. From within the ranks. We are creative people, stepping out to hear a friend or a person who's trying is an asset to all of us. Listen to what the music does, not what it doesn't. We as a music community need to demonstrate that through support of arts and culture we also invest in the art form's economic well-being. Show up for a few sets.Buy the Cd's.

Take note that we need a collaborative approach to make this successful.I believe strongly that if diligently and judiciously executed,it would be of mutual benefit to everyone.Strengthen the music field and effectively recharge it from within the ranks.This is very important ! The music will grow- the musicians will foster more gigs and the scene will get stronger.

A lot of us from my generation,when we were young musicians, there was an idea that we would be playing this music,or at least some of us would be playing this as our principle means of support. Now the "night club circuit" can no longer support us
( read that as "any of us" ).

Education is the big portion of our income. We all do clinics, residencies and all the other educational components , let alone the high school or college positions or straight up private teaching. As a young player I would go to my mentors gigs and check out how he dealt with the reality of PLAYING. Even as a teenager, when I studied with my local heros like Joe Miller and Sam Correnti I learned a lot about the reality. At that point the reality was learning transposition from Joe and Sam. Joe would give me fake books to transpose, there was no REAL BOOK then, so it was good ol' VOL. 1. Plus other" bop" or swing books. Through doing that with Joe, I eventually learned to transpose at sight as a teenager. Yes Joe Miller, he was the best local jazz saxist I could of dreamed of as a teacher. He played King Super 20 saxes and had a great sound on alto and tenor, and he played RICO reeds! He turned me on as a kid to RICO brown box reeds on my Brillhardt mouthpiece. Joe was hip to Art Pepper and Bird and the cats.The baddest player in my home town-bar none for jazz. But the reality was , he also made a living playing dance gigs. He was great at it ! They played my high school prom. They played a few pop tunes " of the era" but mostly standards for dancing.

Ok- From those relationships I would know what a jazz musician was. Later with guys like Charlie Mariano, Joe Viola and Andy McGhee at Berklee School as well, and years later Sal Nistico, Stitt and Don Christlieb etc.

This is why I tell my students to attend gigs, buy Cds, listen and form bands to jam. Make it happen! Jam more, session on days your off, form "head bands" and just play.

I do tell students of the "reality in my heart and spirit" but if they don't experience it it does not mean a lot. People need to play together, get into the basement and jam!! Look at each other and say yea.

REALITY LESSON !!! Knowing_MELODYS_so people could identify and dance. A life lesson there dear reader! Knowing how to play a dance gig and survival chops to make money. Joe always said, " It beats putting cans on the wall in the supermarket ! "....I never forgot that. Plus as I said, he could blow. We did the old play alongs ( before Aebersold !! ) with the Mal Waldron trio playing those blues heads Gene Ammons recorded. Joe knew the real deal, and as I said, was the best jazz saxophonist in the city. Plus a teacher of reality. His karma paid off too, years later he won the lotto. When I came in with Charles Lloyd records trying to copy the heads like " Sombreo Sam" Joe never flinched. He was that cool.

Now Mr. Correnti, taught me flute. Another lesson in itself as today, the flute double is non-existant to a large degree. This was when I was in 10th grade in school too. Sam was cool, always dressed in a hip coat and tie. An old school swing man who knew a lot of the major players , and taught Gerry Muligan when he lived in the area. We used to get the David Gornstein books right from David, as Sam knew him. Sam also made me aware of being dressed right. I always was aware of the clothes a musician wore. REALITY of a very important kind. Plus- flute. Lots of lessons NOT in books.

That's a lot more those days of "learning vocabulary". I think that was a better way but it is not today's reality.When I started Berklee I was prepaired from Joe and Sam. Friends I met from the beginning in Boston, like Joe Lovano, Roger Rosenberg, Ross Konikoff, Jeff Lorber, Scofield, Hal Grossman/ Saxist Steve's brother, Arnie Krackowsky and Rick Wald all shared this sympatico. We could play a blues without music and also play Basie charts. THINK ABOUT THAT REALITY. ( 1969! )

This is why I tell my students to attend gigs, buy Cds, listen and form bands to jam. Make it happen! Jam more, session on days your off, form "head bands" and just play.

I do tell students of the "reality in my heart and spirit" but if they don't experience it it does not mean a lot. People need to play together, get into the basement and jam!! Look at each other and say yea.PLAY!!

Players used to network on bands and at clubs neither of which exist to any degree. Turn the TV and computer off and get in the life lane! Clubs and concerts are in need of people in the room, and listening to the music.Go and enjoy, I say " Listen to what the music does, not what it doesn't ".

It is very important that we, as musicians, come out and support each other on the scene as much as possible. I try my best to mentor my students, and anyone else in the music who approaches me with questions. It's important to also encourage students to attend their peers recitals/gigs. I did that ALL THE TIME when I was in school, that's when you actually have the time to do it! We all have a responsibility to keep it going, creating, and putting postive energy out there. I am hopeful that the economy will bounce back and we will start filling seats again too!

It's time for stronger community and a vibe that transcends money, politics, ego and anything else. This is art!

Reality. Reality can change,MUST CHANGE, that's what I'm talking about. We establish ourselves in a consciousness of perfection to step forward, not be stuck in the mud.
Musicians are _supposed to be_ connected to inner wisdom and peace.When you live with optimism you achieve optimal results
Purpose is something greater than your self. It changes who you are into who you are in to!
Motives is your destination driving wheel- this is 2012- not 1959 !

If you will it... it will BE
If you see it... you can do IT
if you hear it... you can express IT


For where thoughts travel your energies do follow!

I have an agenda.

~ Tim Price


The below picture is my hero of hero's in this life John LaPorta! I knew him from day one at Berklee to decades after I graduated- he stayed in touch with me as a friend and mentor.From 1969 till the year he passed- that is some kinda cool and hip person. THE BEST!
The picture was taken at a Joe Viola birthday party-outside Boston. John and his lovely wife and yours truly. John was the greatest educaor, person and player ever. When he saw me at the party- right off he said, " So Tim man, are you still hittin' on that crazy bassoon or what baby." He is a daily inspiration- the planet is not the same without him.

If your not hip to him -now's the time on that too. The most creative clarinetist of his era and then some,he played with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Gunther Schuller, Herb Pomeroy, Billy Eckstine, Kenny Clarke, Lester Young, Max Roach, Hank Mobley, Bill Evans, Buddy Rich, Bill Harris, Fats Navarro, Oscar Pettiford, Helen Merrill, Neal Hefti, Johnny Mathis, and the big band Orange Then Blue. He was also impressive as a classical soloist, performing under Bernstein, Stravinsky, Stokowski and the Boston Pops.

BUT- In Berklee he set us all straight because he cared and loved the music. THIS WEEKS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO HIM. Thank you John from me and thousands of others for being there.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico- BOMBAY BAR WALKING


I originally picked this scale up from listening to Junior Walker recordings as a kid in bar bands. I realized that he was playing it as a set scale over a lot of things. A for sure shape and firm note choice too.It could be called a lot of things as well. But as I say, " To hear is to see."

Subsequently I noticed that many other Sax players seem to use this as one of their preferred scales over Blues and Rock changes. Jazz players sure are using it,it's pretty universal.
Check players " ideas"....and also tap into the key center too, transposing it sometimes is important too.

Play the Em Blues scale without the "B" ( D E G A Bb ) over the entire G Blues progression, you'll find pleasant and useful surprises.

I visualize this scale as "The E half-diminished pentatonic", but it's also known as: But you can be sure Junior Walker was using his ear and shaping it to fit the idiom, and song harmony.Then I found it in quite a few Ragas that Charlie Mariano showed me via India music concepts.

Raga Jayakauns
E G A Bb D
Raga Shivranjani
G A Bb D E
Raga Hindol / Sunada Vinodini
Bb D E G A

* * * * * * *
This scale also sounds GREAT over iim - V7 - I (Am - D7 - G) progressions:

Sometimes add the 4th above the G root, but not overly often as it doesn't seem to have very much personality in this context.
The b7 is also a possible tone here, but the major 6th seems to be favored over it.
Adding the 4th and b7 to this pentatonic turns it into the Dorian. But- as Charlie Banacos told me, to hear the intervals between the notes and the steps, names really mean nothing when you go this deep. But a great deal of the charm of this scale lies in avoiding those two notes.

When analyzed over the I chord, you can also think of this scale as the "minor 69" pentatonic (1 2 b3 5 6).

Analyzed over the IV chord it yields 9 3 5 6 b7. Like a rootless 13th (no 11).

Analyzed over the V yields 1 2 4 5 #5. The #5 over a V chord sounds great in Blues and minor changes.

Analyzed over the ii chord yields 4 5 b7 1 b2.

So there you have it. As I always said- it's all related and all useful.

One of my personal projects is called " Bombay Bar Walking". It combines the rhythm and blues and exotic via improvised grooves and vamps. As Charlie Banacos once said," It's not music for the Holiday Inn man"..ha!! No worrys there mate. To keep it real is the deal.

I always felt that once I heard Mariano wailing in his group " Osmossis"
in the late 60's and also realized Junior Walker < as others were >was coming from that same space- just the idiom was different and the groove was for sure. The point here is what Rilling calls the "architecture" of the music. For example, the way Pablo Casals varied the tempo according to what he was trying to convey. Indian music and soul R &B, jazz are much in the same.

Hopefully, what's going to be remembered, is going to be the intertwining of the present living person whoever it is, in the context of the art form, its tradition, its future, its present, and that whole mixture together. A common form and feeling. The vibe of a sax player who walks the bar and a guy cross legged in India in a trance blowing –It’s all the same- they BOTH are after the same thing. It’s…that THANG …that place the music goes.
Like that groove that exists in R &B AND Jazz and Indian ragas.
In essence, we really have something called the language, the vernacular, and it's immediately transferable to personal creation anyway.
And in the end, the music is connected- there's a great book by Hazrat Inayat Khan of the Sufis. It's about how music ties into the "realms" and everything like that. It's just an understood, it's a given.

In my thinking -everybody is a spiritual creature, and an artist's duty is to try to get in touch with that through his work. It's the work and it's the art that will do.

SO.. it's freedom, individual creativity ! Check out that scale and have fun.

Till next week- keep your ears open and play.

This blog this week is dedicated to Junior Walker, Charlie Mariano and Charlie Banacos. People who knew- and had the essence of humanity and soul.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Mind the Gap: saxophone students stretch their minds

You know, the one that exists between that which you know and do not know. This has been a focus of our discussions lately in my saxophone studio at the University of Georgia. This gap produces discomfort of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of lack of productivity. It unglues the familiar, the foundation upon which past accomplishments have been achieved. The fear of releasing the familiar for the unfamiliar produces resistance, confusion and frustration. And questions. Lots of questions.

As a studio, we get together once a week for a voluntary discussion group called “Incubator.” This term is commonly used to describe a space where start-ups can live while in infancy, when resources are at a minimum. Incubators promote the sharing of resources amongst others at the same stage of development. “Incubator” is a perfect term for the gathering of young musicians committed to improving their craft and in need of zeroing in how to most effectively do that. We talk about shared frustrations, time management, what drove us to music, what keeps us in music, how to practice more effectively, networking, creating opportunities. I keep telling them with a smile that I have one job and it’s to expose the gap between that which they know and do not know, and then help them thrive in it. More confusion.

Vulnerabilities are a plenty! I have never enjoyed witnessing the stretching of minds as much as in the past two weeks. Honestly. Students with previous robotic technical accuracy are beginning to miss notes in scales they’ve known for years as they attempt to shift their thinking away from their fingers in favor of their sound and the discovery and communication of intent. Read more...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Tim Price Blogging for Rico-Focus-Inspiration & the zone of creativity.

Tim Price Blogging for Rico-Focus-Inspiration & the zone of creativity.

~There's a euphoria and a feeling of deep interaction with what you're creating. You're inside something. I'm not standing there trying to be someone else by playing someone else's style or licks. My goal is to start from zero and try to add something to the music. This is something I've learned and been influenced by studying with masters such as Charlie Mariano, who has a great internalization of not only saxophone command but commitment to creativity. You have to understand even if you're playing simple triadic rock n' roll or the most harmonically ad vanced stuff. You're going for a groove. I have an unreleased CD that's called " Bombay Bar Walking" , and the vibe is no matter if you're at a corner bar in Philly and you're playing tenor in the pocket or you're sitting crossed legged with a tabla player to your right-no matter what you're going for that zone. That's where its at. That zone that everyone looks for. That is my spring board.

My inspiration comes from the masters. And by that I mean having respect for what came before me and the people who created it. There's nothing in this world that's more inspiring than listening to Dexter Gordon play a blues. The average person walking the street has no idea who Dexter Gordon is and no clue to what sitting down and listening to an artist like that can do for you. That might be more of a therapeutic thing for the human race than handing out hand fulls of prozac and riddelin . When I was a kid I would kick back and put on a record in the mid-60's when I was in high school of Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons, that music came from such a g reat place emotionally that no matter what happened that day I was chilled out. To take it a step further I've been very lucky in my life that the tenor saxophone has been part of my DNA. It's an inspiration that goes far beyond any words I can say. Hopefully its something people will hear in my music.

My experience can be summed up into something I heard Stan Getz refer to as the "Alpha State". This is a frame of mind and again something similar as I've described earlier about being in the zone. It's a very important mind set, not something that just happens. As musicians we should all be grateful that we can pick up our instrument and create. And that goes for just finding a reed, playing some scales to get loose, or rehearsing with friends just to play. There's a spirituality like no other in getting together with like minds and going into a room for the pure sake of playing and just looking at each other and saying... yeah; and letting the music transcend.

When I improvise, I try to keep in mind what pianist Paul Bley said about composition, "Improvising is composing in real time." If you're writing a lot it becomes a lot easier compositionally. I try to find a certain point in the day and just jot down four or more measures, or a sequence of notes I like in my notebook. For over 20 years I had the honor of studying with Charlie Bacanos. he prepared me for this kind of mind set. Keep in mind I was touching on it before, but I got more focus from Charlie. My inspiration comes from daily preparation and practice. It helps me move faster and also not lose track of what I'm hearing in my minds ear.

A few years ago, I had the honor of playing a Coltrane tribute at Loyola University in New Orleans with my friend Tony Degradi on saxophone and a great band that included drummer Stanton Moore from the band Galactic. This concert was done on Trane's birthday, a year before Katrina. We had a great program of music prepared. The night before we played at The Snug Harbor Club to a packed house. It was great feeling being in New Orleans and playing with these musicians. As the gig started I felt a very deep connection within the music. We were playing Trane based music, obviously. I had rearranged some of the tunes like Ole for me playing electro-bassoon and Tony on Soprano Sax. In addition we were hitting some two Tenor things that just gave me chills. As the gig went on everything was where it was suppose to be and just kept going and going fantastically. At the end of that gig I had a feeling from being in New Orleans where there's a very deep spiritual vibe and playing this concert on Trane's birthday-something I've never felt in my life, it was really cool to say the least.

In closing I would like to suggest these books:
The first book is called 'The Artist's Way' by Julie Cameron. It helps you focus day to day in your practice and provides daily activities. It's a must read. Also I highly suggest checking out 'The Mysticism of Sound and Music' by Hazrat Inayat Khan along with his other book 'The Music of Life'. These three books will really inspire you and are fantastic reading. Thank you!

BY THE WAY...The picture at the top of this weeks blog is Bob Weir and I hanging at
this years 2012 NAMM show at Theo Wanne booth.GOOD TIMES! ( Pic' by Matt Ambrose )

~ Tim Price

PS- Bring Tim Price to your school/ University and events!
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