Friday, July 31, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- Laurie Pepper's amazing book on Art Pepper & reflections of a total genius musician.

ART: Why I Stuck With a Junkie Jazzman: by Laurie Pepper .........ART PEPPER....One of my life changing things was hearing Art Pepper at the Village Vanguard in the mid 70's. That's when the Times Square Hotel was still there....loaded with any kind of crazy, business guy, transients you could imagine.They had weekly rates- and after hearing Art the first nite- I extended my stay immediately. As I returned to my room at almost the elevator, there was one of the hotel characters dressed in white in the old elevator with me, he proclaimed.." Jesus is on the 2ed floor!"...So I quickly answered him with.." Well Art Pepper is at the Village Vanguard." It's like that! Hearing him that week was a breath of fresh air, I later saw Art at a Ornette Coleman concert...with Laurie and it was inspiring to see Art and Ornette exchange hello's. TO fact I've never heard a bad Art Pepper album. His autobiography, Straight Life, is searing. What a life, and a must read! But...THE REAL AGENDA TODAY IS...Buy the book Laurie Pepper did called,"ART: Why I Stuck With a Junkie Jazzman: by Laurie Pepper". It's about that part of life where it all makes sense in the art form aspect and also love. The love between two people, the love and commitment to the art form of jazz. I'm telling you- BUY IT NOW. There is no other way to review this. It's a love supreme of a content and life work for Laurie.My hat is off to her for her work in releasing Art's music, documenting his life like this properly and above all the depth of her story.Laurie is also a great writer- she tells the story. ...IF...your a saxophonist and do not know his work, invest in the CD's and vinyl. Hear him on you tube but DO NOT stop there. Buy the CD' his tone, his joy and passion. NOTHING LIKE IT. Plus one of the jazz masters on clarinet and I loved his tenor saxophone playing.As important to jazz as Miles or Trane or anyone, Art Pepper stood on his own and without a doubt was a total innovator. Get that book today, and more Art coming your way in my blog- TIM PRICE About the Author Laurie Pepper was born in 1940 in Los Angeles to a family of radicals and artists. She grew up in New York and Los Angeles, attended U.C. Berkeley, and was photographer for the legendary L.A. Free Press during the 1960s but went astray and wound up in rehab where she met Art Pepper. Since Art’s death in 1982, she has continued to produce and promote his music. Her very small label, Widow’s Taste, has released a new album of previously unreleased Art Pepper performances every year since 2006.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- July 2015, reflections and thoughts.

THINK ABOUT...YOUR SOLO. A cohesive solo flows together and has a sense of logic to it. Each part builds upon the last, whether rhythmically or melodically, as it guides you to the end of the solo. The sense of cohesion makes you feel like the solo is a deliberate and well-constructed piece of music.The opposite of a cohesive solo is one that meanders without any sense of direction or purpose. When listening to such a solo you'll probably wonder if the player is lost (i.e. doesn't know where they are in the song form), or maybe you'll keep wondering when they're going to stop playing. By the way, there is a syndrome amongst beginners (which I've been guilty of) that typically occurs when playing a meandering solo. You're unhappy with your ideas, but you keep playing chorus after chorus with the thought that maybe the next chorus will be "the one". If you've ever done this, or if you've listened to others doing it, you know how things typically turn out... MOTIF DEVELOPMENT!! TRY IT YOU'LL LIKE IT.There are several ways to build a cohesive solo, but I think the easiest method is through the use of motif development. A motif is a musical phrase that is repeated through the course of a solo. To avoid sounding like we're just playing the same phrase over and over again, we gradually alter that phrase rhythmically and/or melodically. This gradual development creates a cohesive solo because each phrase logically moves to the next; creating a sense that everything is connected.You can use motif development in a variety of ways when creating a solo. For instance, you could use one motif that you develop over the duration of your solo, or you could develop one motif for a while and then start another, or you can start with a motif and then play some random ideas, then come back to your motif. The possibilities are endless, and are ultimately determined by your own style and musical tastes.Motifs are also a great way to start a solo. I don't know about you, but I don't always know what I want to play when I put the horn to my mouth and start my solo (my best ideas come to me while I'm soloing). When this happens, I find it's best to just play a simple 3-5-note motif and develop that for a while. If I have a better idea during the development of the motif, then I (try to) smoothly transition to the new idea and go with it. If I don't come up with anything better, then I just stick to the motif. Most people fixate on theory because it's relatively straightforward to learn and teach. This stems from its similarity to the subject of mathematics. Like math, theory forces us to learn a bunch of rules and formulas. The notation even looks mathematical, with its use of numbers, roman numerals, various symbols, and plus and minus signs. So, on this level, it's familiar territory and somewhat palatable to those of us who did well in math class. You read it, memorize it, and move on to the next chapter.I'm not saying jazz theory is easy to master. I'm just saying that for most people, it's easier and faster to learn than ear training skills. In a few months you could learn everything you need to know about theory (at least the basics), yet it might take several years/decades to similarly develop your ears.Adding to its unpopularity is the fact that ear training is unpredictable. While you'll certainly improve with practice, that rate of progress will differ greatly from one person to the next. You'll have good days and bad days.If you're serious about learning jazz improvisation, then I strongly suggest that you learn at least some jazz theory. In the study of jazz improvisation (both in books and schools), there are two major components that rarely get the recognition they deserve: ear training and rhythm. Instead, the bulk of jazz education focuses mostly on theory -- learning what notes to play over which chords. While knowing jazz theory will help you to become a better player, I think (much) greater advances are possible through strengthening ones ear and rhythmic skills. lunch for your ears- You should listen to this stuff. Start here- and go through my list ;“Porgy and Bess” (Miles Davis), “Ascension” (John Coltrane), “The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra” (Michael Mantler), “Live in San Francisco” (Archie Shepp)Listening/tunes: “Walkin’” and “Mysterioso” (J.J. Johnson), “Freddie the Freeloader” and “Flamenco Sketches” (Miles Davis), John Coltrane Plays the Blues (all tracks), “Cousin Mary” and “Mr. P.C.” (John Coltrane), “Sack O’ Woe” (Cannonball Adderley), “Now’s the Time” (J.J. Johnson), any blues record by Charles Mingus, Milt Jackson, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Jimmy Smith, Wes Montgomery.Then listen to- “Milestones” (Miles Davis), “Fat Girl” (Navarro); Bird: The Savory Recordings/Master Takes: Miles Davis’ solo on “Half Nelson”...Then isolate your ears with recordings by Bud Powell, John Lewis, Horace Silver, Thelonious Monk, Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly, Tommy Flanagan, only piano. 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.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!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 there you have it. See you next week and hope some of this hits you.Play with others as much as you can. Music is a personal experience, - TIM PRICE

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tim Price Blogging for D'Addario Woodwinds- Melissa Aldana....tenor saxophone player to listen to. Now!

....There's something familiar yet unique about the way she plays. Nostalgic but fresh. She has a long future ahead of her. I'd love to see her play more festivals in the USA and get more exposure.Undoubtedly, the best jazz musician Chile has ever produced. And, of course, you can hear her story in the sound of her horn. She is telling a story of her own, but in there as I said...a unique thing is happening. First thing I ever thought when I heard her was- great tone and control and I loved it. I have found her playing the most satisfying, and certainly the most stimulating in this time period. Let me tellyou in Melissa's case one feels never bored, as she keeps coming up with new, exciting, highly musical and well-expressed ideas, showing astonishing versatility and inventiveness. Keep in mind- always aware of the essential melody, but always probing its implications. A BORN well. Check out this amazing video on her..called " "Bridges" ...find here- -- a short film about Melissa Aldana directed by Ivan Cordoba for 'SoupedeSouffle documentary series'. IT IS A MUST SEE! Without a doubt...I'm listening real hard to her- she's got a story to tell. . . Till next week,make every encounter. and every moment the best it can be.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tim Price Blogging For D'Addario Woodwinds- Erin McDougald & Friends -This Side of Sinatra July 11, 2015- New York City.

....She's back! There are thousands of jazz singers in this world,but,in my opinion Erin McDougald is one of the best ever. Without a doubt, her recording and live performances constitute some of the purest jazz singing in all of American music. There is no drama or the vocal gymnastics, this young lady shows her greatness by not ever pushing, her delivery is pure and right in the pocket of greatness.The style varies greatly,she picks the most amazing songs,Erin's beat and syncopation, swinging hard but also sexifies the structure when needed,casting a spell of hushed reverie that makes time stand still.The way Ben Webster or Dexter Gordon,on a tenor saxophone sound when playing a phrase or ballad. Get my drift? It does make you appreciate her depth of talent immediately. Add a personal raw emotion, that speaks to the listener and you have Erin McDougald. FYI- Erin McDougald is a Chicago-based artist whose credentials include numerous headline appearances in the famed Green Mill and Jazz Showcase as well as performances in New York City’s Smalls and Metropolitan Room with special appearances at Dizzy’s with the Wynton Marsalis band. Erin moved to Chicago still in her teens from a small town in Ohio, just north of Columbus, called Delaware, Ohio. She grew up with her parents, younger sister Leah and her father's father, Gordon McDougald, living most of her formative years in the home her parents built and designed on a small street where stable horses, farming cows, roaming deer and wooded ravines were the serene backdrop.Her grandfather loved jazz and introduced her to songs recorded by his musical hero-- Nat "King" Cole as well as Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Julie London, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and his favorite female singer "Sweet" Nancy Wilson. These introductory lessons and grandfatherly stories most often occurred on scenic, country dives together while listening to AM radio. As the Centennial of her grandfather has come and gone in the last year,it is a touching cosmic coincidence that the centennials of Billie Holiday, Billy Strayhorn and Sinatra are all wrapped into 2015. The music that Erin has most identified with for almost half of her life has kept renewing itself in every year and discovered different facets of her own artistic improvisational jazz style. More often than not she is also associated with artistic aspects of Carmen McRae, Nancy Wilson and Lorez Alexandria. But her biggest inspiration comes from instrumental jazz where she interprets the "voice" of instruments as her own by honing in on what their phrasing is conveying. While she is most commonly compared to the rhythmic styling of Anita O'Day, she has used her own brilliance by being inspired by and not doing a carbon copy.I think Anita would not only love Erin's inspiration but also her supreme originality via inspiration, and hard work. Which are things that Anita championed. I can say that because, I had the pleasure quite a few times in the 70's to play some clubs and festivals with Anita, and know her agenda very well. ... In Erin's words- " > I am trying to create culture always. If that means creating new compositions to which I'm most honestly expressive, so be it. If that means singing bebop or a standard in my own style, so be it. Unlike some modern musicians of the genre, I am proud to be affiliated with the term "jazz artist". Where some people find it archaic or financially oppressive in connotation, I think it's a badge of honor which symbolizes artistic individuality over generic conformity. It's not about being the hippest cat in the room or on stage, or even having the most chops or awards; it's about finding the vulnerable spot in each song you play or sing and making it appealing to anyone who is listening. Vulnerability is the greatest strength in music when combined with skill and sincerity. Glory is temporary if ever in the jazz life, but sincerity and creativity are the pithy foundations of our contributions." That's a mantra to live by and another reason to add Erin to the A-list of jazz musicians that deserve not only your attention, but a world class presence in festivals, concerts, recordings on major labels and a constant presence in New York City jazz clubs so her craft and art can be on display. Heed my words and make it a point to get to hear her quintet for a one-night only performance of “This Side of Sinatra” for the crooner’s centennial birthday; songs will include innovative arrangements of well-known and lesser-known Frank Sinatra recordings in McDougald’s one of a kind, best in the biz jazz style.This performance of Erin's is a rare chance to hear her ambitious Sinatra songbook, and what a wide range of material it is,to be the most exquisite exemplification of Sinatra. Till next week...Support live music, and stay tuned- Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds. TICKETS & INFORMATION: (646) 476-3551 254 W 54th St, Cellar, New York, NY 10019