Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds; GIVE ME FIVE, With special guest Mindi Abair.

It has been my contention that the most valuable viewpoints come from those who do. Thus, it’s logical to assume that any artist who is surviving in this field, and doing it with success, is doing something right. The energies we all put into our craft; The years of apprenticeship and the intense commitment to the horn, and the pure love of playing it are paramount to the art form. This section of my D'Addario Woodwinds Blogs by Tim Price, to all intents and purposes is a sort of portable omnibus of sax / woodwind creations. Musically, verbally and spiritually. The music these players create and talk about is a privilege to be a part of. The music always has an infinite history and fertility, inexhaustible vitality, and at the same time, a seductive power of temptation - which inspires all of us who play – and offers the open-ended invitation to create as much as we can. The results, the waiting, the practicing at all hours, the talking of the music and constant study gives the music a breath of spirit, endless in motion and evolution. This will always be a source of awe and wonder to the fan or player. The legacy of the sax is a never ending landscape, at all times finite and infinite, both temporal and spiritual. The following observations, experience and serious reflection are an effort to bring you all closer to the vast dimensions of sax history, stars, life and times via the generous reminiscences of these artists. The following blog is the first of this series called " GIVE ME FIVE"... it will bring a similar devotion to what the horn and it’s history is about, but all create a different picture via personal viewpoints in experiences, achievements and success. Mindi Abair is my first person in this series- she's not only a great friend but someone I thought would be start this series with. Sit back- enjoy the questions and thank you for your attention! TIM- 1- The last few records you’ve made have had a different feel to them. How have the last few years of your life affected your current music? MINDI- I look at each CD I release as a snapshot of where I am in my life. I write from my experiences, and that translates differently to the music with each chapter of my life. My first few solo records were pretty shiny pop. I had come off the road touring with The Backstreet Boys, Mandy Moore and Duran Duran. I was immersed in super pop. A few records into my solo career, my music started to feel a bit more organic and rootsy. My In Hi Fi Stereo CD definitely hearkened back to the soul of the 60’s and 70’s. And more recently, I had a few years of being immersed in a lot of rock ‘n’ roll. I was the featured saxophonist for 2 seasons of American Idol. I joined Aerosmith for their summer tour as their first saxophonist since 1973. I also got the chance to play with Bruce Springsteen for one night at the Beacon Theater right after Clarence Clemons (a huge influence for me) passed away. I took all that energy and power and put it into my own career. I made “Wild Heart” and it was very rock influenced, with songs like “Kick Ass” that featured Joe Perry from Aerosmith. I also wrote with Gregg Allman and Booker T. Jones, and featured them on the songs we penned together. Other CD guests include Trombone Shorty, Waddy Wachtel and Keb’ Mo. I approached every song and every note with sheer abandon, and dove in headfirst to the music. That record made me rethink my live band, and I made some changes. My friend Randy Jacobs joined me on guitar, and after sitting in with his band The Boneshakers one afternoon at the Newport Beach Jazz Festival, we took his whole band out as my band. Hence, Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers Live in Seattle! I decided to just roll tape one night in Seattle because this band was so killer, and it turned out to be magic. That’s what you’re hearing on my new cd. I’ve recorded, toured and collaborated with so many artists representing so many styles of music. I’m the luckiest person in the world to be surrounded by such talent and true artistry. I don’t care about labels or boundaries or preconceptions with music. I just want to play and create and keep moving forward. TIM - 2. How did you choose to play the saxophone, and what players influenced you early on? MINDI- -My earliest influence was my father on saxophone. I grew up on the road with his blue-eyed soul band “The Entertainers”. Then he turned to rock ’n’ roll, putting together touring rock bands and also joining Mark Farner on tour. He was a high energy player, and he always looked like he was having a blast up there playing. He’d knock his knees together and shimmy and shake and growl on his sax. I thought that was so cool. I wanted to play saxophone and have that much fun. I love the days when saxophone was as integral an instrument as the guitar in popular music. Think back to early blues and rock ‘n’ roll. I mean, Junior Walker and King Curtis topped the Pop Charts, not the jazz charts. Saxophone has been relegated to a jazz instrument now, and I hate that. I miss the grit and the power of that era of saxophone. I’d like to be a part of bringing that spirit back to music and to the modern idea of saxophone. Many early influences for me were not saxophonists. I was a child of the MTV era. I wanted to be Tina Turner and Blondie and the Wilson sisters from Heart. I watched Aerosmith and Springsteen give 1000% every night. I felt so much emotion in every phrase they sang. I thought Joe Perry was a gunslinger with a guitar. I learned all kinds of moves from him! I didn’t know the difference between pop and jazz or any other style. I just knew how the music I was listening to made me feel, and I loved it. My father gave me a David Sanborn record, and he turned out to be the missing link for me. I realized that I could be the “lead singer” on a saxophone, much the same way that Tina Turner was the lead singer in her band. That made complete sense to me. In college I immersed myself in jazz because I became a fan of it once I knew what it was. I bought every Miles Davis record I could find. I would spend hours transcribing Cannonball Adderley’s solos, and I even played the part of Wayne Shorter in the Berklee Wayne Shorter ensemble. I feel that all of these influences emerge in the music I write and play, and I love that. TIM 3. Your new mouthpiece with Theo Wanne is coming out in January. How involved were you in the process? How did this partnership come about? And what inspired you to create your own signature mouthpiece? What other mouthpieces do you play of his in addition to this new mode ? MINDI- I had been playing the same mouthpiece for around 10 years. But I never had a backup. I don’t have to tell any sax player how scary it is to not have a backup mouthpiece! I’d tried to create one with the guy who made it, and we were never successful. So I was looking for a replacement. I tried so many mouthpieces over a number of years and realized that none of them gave me what I wanted. I met Theo Wanne and we had an instant connection. He was a mad scientist with mouthpieces, and just a great guy. I loved his mouthpieces for tenor, but I didn’t love his alto mouthpieces. I let him try mine. He loved playing on it. We decided we’d try to make a model using his technology to create what I needed in a mouthpiece. It took us getting together numerous times at his offices in Bellingham, on the road backstage at my shows and on tour with Aerosmith, and various hotel rooms around the country to perfect what we felt was the ultimate powerhouse mouthpiece. We were both dedicated to making the perfect powerhouse alto mouthpiece that was easy to play and control, but could cut through any rock band and have beautiful nuance. We finally did it, and I’m so proud of it. It debuts at the NAMM Show in January 2016. Go try it. It’s killer! I play my signature model 6 on alto. I play the Datta on Tenor. TIM 4 . The one thing I have always noticed about your playing is, you have a really beautiful soulful feel. Your choice of notes is amazing- talk about how you arrive at this kind of destination as an artist. Thank you! What a nice compliment. At Berklee, most of the saxophonists wanted to be John Coltrane or Charlie Parker. I loved the more soulful melodic players like King Curtis or Junior Walker. I didn’t relate to playing tons of souped up scales and arpeggios to achieve that jazz prowess. I would practice playing along to soul and gospel singers. They had heart, and great phrasing, and I always walked away feeling inspired. I just wanted to play a melody and make someone feel. If I could do that, I would feel like I’d achieved what I was going for. I found that in the jazz world, many times simplicity is frowned on. But in the rock and pop worlds, if you play with “feel” and “abandon” and live every note, it is applauded. For me, it’s not about being the burning busy player. That’s not who I am. It’s all about feel and what you add melodically to the song. I love and relate to that. TIM 5. Talk about some projects coming up in your future, ideas and agendas. Also thank you Mindi for doing this- it's a total pleasure to call you a friend. You are a unique soul in today's music. MINDI- I just released my first LIVE CD. I’m having a blast getting it out there in the world and touring to support it. It’s Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers LIVE in Seattle, and it’s fun to break down the boundaries of a few genres with this band. It’s definitely a blues/rock leaning record… with a lot of mojo. We’ve opened for Buddy Guy, We’ve played Sturgis (yes, the huge Harley rally in S. Dakotah). And we’ve played many of the jazz festivals, Seabreeze, Berks Jazz, Newport Beach Jazz. This next year, it’s all about opening that door even further and continuing our touring. I’m starting to write for a new CD. We’ll see what that becomes in the next few months! -- Thank you Mindi, these are some exciting times for you and your music- Your assistance in the start of a special blog- called- GIVE ME FIVE - in my D'Addario Blogs is a great way to start! You are truly a inspiring artist and in addition a great friend as well. The best to you...keep on. ~ TIM PRICE Buy Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers Live in Seattle

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