Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tim Price Bloggin' For Rico Reeds- Remembering Charlie Mariano.

~ Remembering Charlie Mariano on his birthday. Happy birthday brother Scorpio! One of the real inspirations in my life & music. To me, Charlie is as important as Miles and Coltrane in jazz. He defined a way of playing & had a forward motion in his music that was his own. Totally inspiring. When I turned 18 while going to Berklee School Of Music ( it was called school then, and shortly after changed to college.) I paid extra to study privately with Charlie Mariano. It was a known fact he didn't teach private lessons but...he and I had a interesting rapport, so I asked & he said sure.So right near my18th birthday, Charlie had a spare nadaswaram...and asked if I wanted to buy it. So I bought it and started to study it with him.To really to be honest , it did a number on my chops at first. If you look at the picture, I'm holding the same nadaswaram, and over my shoulder is a great picture of Charlie, from when I did a feature article on him in Saxophone Journal. That was fun too, because I was way out of Berklee & Joe Viola calls me and said- you have to do this!!He knew our friendship. Charlie Mariano taught me this instrument in a very special way. Lessons would be hours. Sometimes Joe Viola would pop in to listen and check it out. At this point in time like I said, I was 18 and Charlie was 50. he had already played with Kenton, Mingus and a tribute to Coltrane record with Elvin Jones called " Dear John C". He is a timeless person. The nadaswaram really helped me understand the music of India and how it related to jazz. I was very lucky- and that helped me crystallize something that was in my mind. A life long inspiration too. At the time I used to hear Charlie play nadaswaram in Boston with OSMOSSIS, A raga-rock band he had that recorded for RCA. OK-this band kicked holy-azz in the way it sounded.They had two drummers, and a full rhythm section and vocalist. Plus Charlie!! They played " The Boston Tea Party" a Filmore style rock club, and opened for Zappa and Cream. Mariano's lines across the raga-rock grooves were transcendental. NOBODY -was playing like this. - God bless Charlie Mariano...a stellar human being and one of the _real ones_in this music. Happy birthday brother Scorpio.

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