Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico Reeds- Jazz-A-Delic...more than ever.

The word is ~ imagination !! Using your intuition and feelings when improvising is most important be it at the most advanced level or just a basic beginner. To thoroughly approach this as an art form and something that has deep meaning is most important. The masters when they played, be it Johnny Dodds or Sidney Bechet or Bud Powell on through the greats like Wayne Shorter or Charlie Mariano all came from a very deep place. At times, this place is something that you must go to in a natural way. Nothing cosmic about it, it's almost like a trance. It's almost like when your telling someone a story and you close your eyes and you're taking them somewhere with you. Art Pepper wrote a song about this called "The Trip." Stan Getz called this frame of mind the "alpha state." Whether its experienced in dreams, altered states, or simply sitting in solitude, the artist must be aware of the visionary realm. In Buddhist culture and other forms of spiritual thought, this is called the "third eye." It is the sixth in the series of energy centers in the body known as Charka. The sixth Charka contains and controls knowledge, intuition, and perception. Inherent to any of these philosophies of the "third eye" is recognition and attention paid to the source of human creativity. This human creativity can be one of the deepest subconscious forms of communication in the world. Opening your thoughts to the unknown realms of your own imagination. Many times musicians inquest to unlock the force behind this theory of the eye has shadowed their colleagues throughout ancient history. In my humble opinion, the subconscious travel that one can take studying Buddhism or any of those particular forms runs a very strong parallel to the stunning body of work of many jazz saxophone players. ~ ~ The music chose me. When somebody has a situation where they're playing music at an age like I was in 8th grade. At that particular time there were only 3 TV stations. I had no distractions, I had already gotten the sports bug out of my system due to a bout with scarlet fever I had as a kid. So for a few weeks I was restricted from sports, at that same time I had started saxophone lessons in 8th grade. A woman who worked with my mother at the telephone company was a Gerry Mulligan fan, she had given my mom a Gerry Mulligan record for me with Chet Baker and Chico Hamilton. My attention span was captured by that music. A few days later I found a radio station in Philly that was on all the time. I heard Lee Morgan play the " Sidewinder" . I had no idea who Lee Morgan was and no idea that I was listening to Joe Henderson until I saw his name. Something in the music, whether it was the freshness of how Mulligan or Lee Morgan played or something else that I couldn't put my finger on drew me in. From then on I was listening to the radio, taking my saxophone lessons, and playing in school bands in Junior High. I saw an ad for Berklee in a Downbeat. I realized that at that particular point in time I had to go there. From then on I realized where my path was. What is your experience when you feel connected into the music? This question could be answered a number of ways. I'll be blunt-THERE'S NOTHING LIKE IT IN THE WORLD! 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. I also stay neutral to all musical appetites.It's a personal thing.Personal is of supreme importance to me. That means to be oneself in any given setting.I am an unabashed eclectic, meaning interested in many different musical idioms.This goes back to my formative years, when I was exposed to all styles of music which I was involved in. Great rock & roll bands, playing creative jazz everyday at Berklee where I graduated from,playing organ group funky jazz in the " Combat Zone",backing "soul" acts and big bands. Also sitting in the same room with my mentor Charlie Mariano playing, studying and getting life lessons from that master innovative genius. I was always attracted to many diverse areas of music and when I began to construct my own musical landscape I found a "zone" within' the path I was seeking. That's where its at. That zone that everyone looks for is as important as anything. That is my spring board. How many times have we witnessed a player deep in a trance way beyond the environment he is in, whether it's a club, or a concert or just in a corner practicing? He's in another space for sure! What I have experienced is a kind of network between the people improvising (a mental network you could say) where many are connected and there is a kind of dialogue going on without any words being spoken.Like the great bands of Miles Davis or Wayne Shorter or John Coltrane. I'm pretty sure that many times, a person sitting cross-legged in deep meditation is in the same spiritual space as a tenor sax player behind a bar with a screaming organ trio and his eyes closed...playing from the deepest spot in his soul. What I'm getting at here is nothing cosmic or nothing too whacked out...what I'm trying to bring your attention is music needs all the imagination from an individual it can get. When unconscious-unspoken communication, traveling at the speed of thought, becomes the only or at least the truest form of communication, you just know everything is clicking just like it should ... the energy is like a ball and bounces around through glances and body comunication.It is awesome, it's the inner spirit of your mind in it's highest form. At this point in time in jazz, everything seems to be published and everything seems to almost be written down. We are in a great educational state. But where are the people who are really reaching within and trusting themselves to their own creative muse? This is the element that I am addressing here. As a student of music, take some time to think about using your intuition. As Bird said, "First you master the music, then you master your horn, then you forget all that shit and just play!" We need to keep that in the front part of our minds and make that a slogan similar to the many people who look to their "third eye." As you see, I'm trying to point out a parallel in creative paths. It's not easy. But it is easy when you bring it into your own consciousness and try to practice these aspects. Sure, licks, lines, inversions, and all that good stuff is of paramount importance. But let us not forget to keep the magic in the music. Give all that you have and you shall receive more than you can imagine experiencing when playing jazz! Lively Up Yourself ! Only 31 days...till Tim Price Jazz-A-Delic @ Berks Jazz Festival. Sean J. Kennedy....Mark Amentt...Randy Sutin & I will be "Steppin Out"...because... " Love Has No Pride". We talkin'...Jazz-A-delic shuffle "SK" grooves with jah Natty Dread mixed with stritch, vibes, bass-ooga-boo-galoo & nipple gongs , straight tenor...Datta tenor...electro-bassoon whammy and Libby Titus meets Pee Wee Russell & straight up fun. Mark your calendar's and....Lively Up Yourself with the Jazz-A-Delic. IMAGINATION...on the set. Come get some. Your gratitude empowers others to play even better. Remember fear destroys the souls ability to create. So start now and use the power of love to encompass all your decisions so fear has no room to exist in your life. Remove fear from your thoughts and you remove and limitations. All is illusion and all illusion is yours to control. So be connected. Everything happens for a reason. Chance is limited to a coin. Decision is limited to free will. We are limited to our decisions. So decide to burn and get down with the music you love. Decide to bring something to the music. The word is ~ imagination ! Jazz-A-delic...and more! ~ TIM PRICE


  1. Tim: Another fine article. I did play sports and I still love sports especially baseball and tennis. I played baseball, basketball, football, tennis and I boxed amatuer until I started clarinet lessons at 15.5 yrs old.

    I literally flipped a quarter to see if it was going to be clarinet or tpt, clarinet won. I used to listen to a semi-famous radio show called the Harley Show, music out of Baltimore. He only played jazz and was the owner of a chain of sub shops. I started clarinet when when I was 15.5, alto when I was 17.5 and tenor when I was 18 yrs old. I never did music in elementary or Jr. High School.

    I just wanted to try it and I learned to play, because I wanted to play jazz, mostly the unwritten, free wheeling, off the cuff kind. Big bands, charts, playing in a section etc came later. At that time I didn't have any desire to be in a school band, that came a bit later. I heard them when I was in Jr. High and they didn't swing at all.

    My motivation was high because at the time I was digging Benny, Artie and Pete on clarinet, Johnny Hodges on alto and Stan Getz on tenor. My private teacher had me memorizing tunes once I became a junior or senior in high school. We did a tune a week at that time.

    Take care,

    Larry W

  2. Tim: I forgot. I know about the alpha state. When I'm playing a jazz job with my trio time seems to stand still. It is like I am unaware of anything but the music at that point.

    It's better you know what.

    See ya,

    Larry W