Friday, February 27, 2015

:: Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds - STEVE MARCUS....Innovator, Saxophone legend.

In thinking about Steve Marcus'and the effects that he had on this music. I wonder how many people would think of him as a component in early Mike Mantler "Escalator Over The Hill" projects with Carla Bley. Or in 1965 or 66 playing hair raising Coltrane-esque tenor with Stan Kenton's more progressive bands with Dee Barton on drums. That band should be talked about in the same breath as Maria Schneider's and Gil Evans from a stepping over the dotted line standpoint. Marcus was also one of the first guys playing Soprano in some of those situations...and with his own concept and sound. I remember once with Coryell Marcus played so incredibly on Larry's music and I couldn't for the life of me why he never got the proper kudos from the jazz press. In a way, he should have been bigger than anyone considering he was one of the originators and propagators of that genre. Marcus was smart, he made a living as a musician, he made people around him feel like playing. Some of the best times I saw Buddy Rich in later years was when Steve Marcus started to play and turned the heat up so high, that you could see Buddy smiling and digging that they were going to be getting into something. Though Miles Davis introduced a fine-tuned version of fusion to the world with Bitches Brew, he was by no means its primary architect. The concept of a union between jazz and rock music had been knocked around for several years prior to Brew's release by such jazz musicians as Gary Burton, Larry Coryell, Steve Marcus, Jerry Hahn, Charles Lloyd, as well as Soft Machine. Sadly, many of their recordings have become lost with both the passage of time ; only recently has this fervor calmed enough for the music of this era to be properly reevaluated. The Water label is helping out immensely in this regard by reissuing such albums as Tomorrow Never Knows and others originally released by the Vortex label. Herbie Mann, one of the oft-overlooked godfathers of this scene, founded the label; in addition to employing scenesters Miroslav Vitous and Sonny Sharrock in his own group, Mann used his stature with Atlantic to form this subsidiary label (as well as its successor Embryo). Another guy who INVESTED in the people he believed in. These Vortex records were right on target with the " JAM BAND " train of thought playing that was also happening today- yet it was decades before. He founded a way of playing that was going on in the mid 60s. I saw him on TV with Stan Kenton in the 60s and he absolutely killed it. Later at Berklee I heard "jazz in the classroom " records he was on & realized he played this way from the jump. His message was there. NOT, ,just notes but a passion and a true message in every solo. As the old cats would say - HE WAS REACHING FOR SOMETHING. "The Beatles made kids of us all," Steve Marcus, told the writer Stuart Nicholson five years ago. "I had spent much of my previous years completely enveloped in Coltrane and Bartok and really heavy, profound music - and then when the Beatles came along I just felt like a kid again." Marcus was a powerful saxophonist. He was also in at the beginning of jazz-rock fusion - involved in pioneering groups attempting to marry the melodic sophistication and spontaneity of jazz with rock and funk dance rhythms. Marcus, visionary and innovative drummer Bob Moses, guitarist Larry Coryell and New Zealand-born pianist Mike Nock were young jazz-obsessed neighbors in New York in 1967, gripped by the idea of joining the Beatles and the Byrds' infectious song-hooks to the transcendental energy and virtuosity of Coltrane, their hero and spiritual model. Marcus was to go on to play much more orthodox jazz - notably in Woody Herman's swing orchestra and with star big-band drummer Buddy Rich - but he was a key participant in early fusion, leading one of the first groups to play it when he ran the Count's Rock Band on and off for three years from 1967. Marcus was born in New York's Bronx. He began on clarinet but switched to saxophone at the age of 15. Joe Viola the reed teacher at Berklee then, asked me what I was listening to. I told him these Steve Marcus records were things I was finding, and I never heard anything like it. At that point he told me about Steve being around Boston. So, Joe Viola joined Jane and I a few times at the Jazz Workshop, on Boylston St, to hear Steve. It was then I realized what an open mind Joe Viola had, yet I think that was something that was essential to all of us who came in Joes studio. Imagine though when Marcus saw Joe, and sat and talked about things with Joe, and told him about the new Beatles record " Abbey Road " and also loving the Coltrane release " Sun Ship". A conversation I'll never forget, nor will I forget the after the gig coffee/ muffin talk with Joe Viola about the gig we heard and the great stuff he heard Coryell play. Not only was Steve a great exciting player, but he had what all great jazz musicians should have...HE KNEW HOW TO PLAY A BALLAD. In the world of jazz...there's a lot of great guys out there today playing the instrument...but the muscularity and creative spark of a Steve Marcus will be missed. This guy never headlined any major jazz festivals, BUT - what he did was something even greater than that...he played everyday with a leader that would never accept anything less than bloodcurdling solos. He also traveled with Coryell city to city in vans and station wagons playing the clubs that are only talked about anymore, that hired jazz six nights a week. I can confess for one seeing him night to night that this guy never missed. In Boston- at the old " Jazz Workshop" club on Boylston St, my girlfriend Jane and I would go to catch Coryell every night. The cover charge was really pretty low for the early 70's, and every night Marcus tore the club up!!! Talk about burning. Damn was he on fore. What I saw was a guy who HAD TO PLAY. He had no other choice in life, that was his destiny. and that my friends is something that no critic or jazz magazine has any control over. That's why since hearing Steve Marcus when I was a kid in the 60's , I followed every note and every step of his career I could. This man had a destiny...and it was adding something to the music and the saxophone. and he sure did and we are all lucky for it. The other thing that I thought of immediately was I used to go every night when he played Coryell at the Jazz Workshop in Boston. One night on a Saturday I came in with my horn, cause I had an early strip lounge gig , I had no intention of asking to sit in or even getting close to the bandstand with my horn. I had talked to Steve a lot that week as well as Larry. Steve saw I was carrying my horn and said "Just come up and play something" realizing that even though I was way out of my league - the learning experience would carry me for the rest of my life. THIS WAS 1970 ! I WAS 18. I learned something that day from Steve Marcus, I also learned that every time you play, the next day is even better and there is even more to learn. But if you don't take the chance you'll never realize some of the things you're trying to accomplish, or need to. I'll never forget him for showing me that valuable lesson. He lived not far from me, in New Hope, PA which was at one point in the 60's a musicians community. He was a road rat who was never home - an unbelievable player who I doubt anybody will ever forget. I sure won't. KNOW YOUR HISTORY!!!!!!! STEVE MARCUS WAS A MAJOR INNOVATIVE PLAYER. Listen to him on you tube and learn! Till ext week....keep on - - TIM PRICE

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds - Investing in YOU.....

To arrive at a personal destination you have to invest in yourself. Study, practice and life. Think about this great quote as well ; The characteristics of a good musician can be summarized as follows: 1. A well-trained ear 2. A well-trained intelligence 3. A well-trained heart 4. A well-trained hand. Seems like the most practical, right? Let me go further in the essence of jazz, there must be a constant equilibrium. As soon as one lags behind or rushes ahead, there is something wrong. Check out the music of the of the 20th century, from twelve tone Schoenbergian music to Broadway; from “Mac the Knife” to operas; from Brecht to Lotte Lenya;Hendrix, Satie, Debussy,The Beatles, composers, arrangers, anyone and anything prolific and interesting to you. By accepting that challenge with an individualistc, interpretive approach,you will broaden and deepened YOUR artistic core as an improvisational musician. Study, listen well to the association of how rather than what. In other words don’t let a musical idea,vision or concept get borne out of the fingers rather than the music itself, and the try to keep the highest musical value or useful when searching for oneself.Be the best YOU that is available at the moment. After all,our goal is creativity and the use of the imagination. We are trying to enter the realm of feelings and emotions through music, and to arrive at a point where your fingers go where the ear dictates.Hopefully this blog can instigate the artistic process in an attempt to have a coherent and unified vision of what an art form concerns. Play, study and approach what you do to the maximum. Look for inspiration beyond your own instrument. Think about it....see you next week- Tim Price

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- - Creativity & The Silent Way.

Creativity....You can only foster it. “How do you teach creativity?” It seems obvious that creativity is teachable because there are classes for it, right? Sure, they teach fundamentals and techniques as well as expose you to different styles and artists, but that’s all to harness creativity. Most of these students attend these schools because they’re already creative or at least have an interest in it. If we were to go off of my observations, we’ll have to address a thousand-year old debate: nature vs. nurture. I believe that it’s 50/50 in that your creativity is already inside you and your life experiences help you to tap into it and hone it. You can show someone techniques or try to inspire them with work from the masters. You can give someone the tools to be creative, but if they don’t have the talent or at least the passion for it, then you got some bridges to cross. I’d like to think that we’re not all blank pegs. I’d like to think that we each have the makings of some sort of square, circle, triangle, or whatever unique shape, and that life will sharpen us into more solid shapes until we fit into the hole we’re meant to go through in this world.So I could be wrong about everyone being creative. Heck, I could be wrong about all this. But what I do know is that we’re all gifted in something. So I think to truly “learn” creativity, in whatever form you construe it to be, it has to be a part of your life’s purpose. All serious musicians have felt this way as they progress through their journey of improving their musicianship. As musicians we LOVE music so much and we care very deeply about how we sound.So, when we don’t sound as good as we want to it can be very emotionally and spiritually draining. Our ego and pride can play tricks on us and be quite cruel. As a result, these types of bad experiences can quickly put us in a musical rut and really play a number on our spirit, our creativity, and our motivation to practice.This can create a dilemma. You see as jazz musicians, we are improvisers by nature. We are constantly exploring the unexplored, experimenting, and trying new things.Most people think creativity is about freedom. Freedom paralyzes. Too much freedom in Jazz, provided too many options, too many variables, too many solutions.That limitation actually spawned amazing creativity,and more. The path to your life's work as a musician is both difficult and mysterious, which is why few finish the journey.Creativity and joy await you.Remember the search begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable.Though it is rare, this is attainable by anyone brave enough to try. We all see that some students are more creative. Many educators assume that creative thinking is an enigma and a gift (or a curse). They believe that by luck or by chance some people are naturally creative. Some colleagues tell me that creative thinking cannot be taught. While I am thankful for all good gifts, I do not depend on gifts alone. I find that new thinking habits can be nurtured and developed in myself and in others. I find that a change in student thinking habits and thinking modes is most apt to happen if appropriate teaching habits are cultivated and learned. But remember keep an open mind, and I promise you won't be disappointed! See you next week....and keep continuing the stream of consciousness further - - TIM PRICE - - - this week's listening suggestion- - Miles Davis - The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions [1080p - Full Album]-;_ylt=A2KLqIJICNxUbmEA6hz7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWc0dGJtBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMQ--?p=Miles+Davis+In+a+silent+way+full+album+you+tube&vid=1dfd098e54b64117c142e016a90e8ecf&l=3%3A29%3A10&