Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tim Price Bloggin' For D'Addario Woodwinds- GIVE ME 5- with saxophone master Alex Terrier

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 weeks blog features a player whom I hold in high regard not only as a player of world class talent but a uber-cool friend .
Please check out his CDs and you tube playing as well as this blog- Alex is a breath of fresh air musically and personally- great forward motion and ideas. The 5 questions he answered are really cool- you'll note the simpatico, state of mind and spirit that a lot of these artists have in a way that is not always suspected but a common bond is very much there, but that is also the reason why I'm doing

1- How have the last few years of your life affected your current music?
In the last few years I would say 3 things happened to have an impact on my playing: 
1. I recorded an album with Kenny Barron. It was truly a great experience. I remember going to his house to work on the music and because his grand piano needed to be tuned we went upstairs to his office where he has a keyboard. It was a good keyboard, but still, that's just an electric piano. The first tune we practiced was my composition "Prelude" and it starts with a C-7. While I was setting up my saxophone Kenny started looking at the chart and he played one of the most beautiful C-7 I've ever heard! I mean even though he was playing a keyboard he still had his sound and his touch that made him recognizable. Really I was amazed. We always worry about equipment to improve our sound but that's like 1% of the solution. I always say the gear is here to make your life easier in terms of comfort of playing (which is why I play Jazz Select reeds) but the sound really comes from the player. Kenny Barron played beautifully out this keyboard, but of course he prefers to play on a real grand piano!
Long story short, being in the recording studio with him for 2 days was fantastic. His musical approach and his personality are definitely an inspiration to me.
2. I've been working with the Mingus Big Band for about 2 years now. I've been learning so much sharing the stage with cats such as Alex Foster, Scott Robinson, Brandon Wright, Jason Marshall, Wayne Escoffery, Lauren Sevian, Boris Koslov, David Kikoski, Donald Edwards, Helen Sung, Frank Lacy, Earl McIntyre, Tatum Greenblatt, Philip Harper, Alex Sipiagin and so many other. These players have definitely had an impact on my playing and of course I got to get more familiar with Mingus music.
3. I've been working a lot in the past 3 years on my website www.jazzvideolessons.net and I feel this actually has had an impact on my playing. Basically I videotape lessons about jazz improvisation, composition, practicing etc... It definitely helped me to improve my ability to explain and demonstrate in a clear and convincing way, and I feel this reflects on my playing.
2. How did you choose to play the saxophone, and what players influenced you early on?
My first instrument was the piano. My grandmother had a piano and I would play simple songs when I was with her. Then my parents got a piano for me and that became my only occupation, or obstination should I say. Around age 8 I listened to a big band playing live and that was a game changer. According to my mother, that night I said "forget the piano, I want to play the saxophone and I want to play that music", I didn't even know what it was! But the sound of the saxophone moved me and the music I heard that night, I just knew I liked it a lot! Turned out my dad had a few LPs back home: Duke Ellington, Sydney Bechet, Fats Domino, Memphis Slim. These were the first jazzmen I heard and I naturally got attracted to Duke Ellington and Memphis Slim. It was really magical because I didn't know what it was and I didn't understand what it was, but these recordings really got my imagination running while I was listening to them. Sometimes I miss those days of blessed ignorance!
I got really dedicated to educate myself from then on, listening to recordings, watching documentaries, reading books, magazines etc... The list of players who influenced me is way too long! For the saxophone I would say the classics Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Rollins and Cannonball. I really dig the sound and the playing of Cannonball. I loved also Johnny Hodges. Ahmad Jamal was also a big influence. When I was 12, I bought the album "Chicago Revisited" and that album was like a slap in my face, I thought "ok this is what good music is, this is the direction I want to take". It was recorded live at the Jazz Showcase, a famous club in Chicago. I was pretty excited when I got to play there myself but I was seriously disappointed by the owner who was not cool at all, to stay polite.
Another memory is the album "No Question About It" by Bobby Watson. My dad, who was in New York on a business trip, went to see him at the Village Vanguard and bought his album for me. When I heard that album I knew I had to go to New York! I listened to that album so many times! I transcribed also most of the compositions.

3. At this point in life - What inspires you musically?
I travel quite a lot and to see all these talents around the world who are sharing a common passion for this music, I find that very inspiring. Some of the musicians I find inspiring these days are Leo Genovese, Roy Assaf, Uri Gurvich, Baptiste Herbin, John Ellis, Jaleel Shaw.
Today what inspires me is remembering the dreams and excitement I had as a child discovering jazz.

4. Your choice of notes is really inspiring- talk about how you arrive at this kind of destination as an artist. What are you thinking about in terms of your solos, and agenda.
I actually try to simplify my playing, focus on playing a nice melody with a strong rhythm. I think rhythm is the most important element in music and strangely enough this is the least discussed topic in jazz education. On my website www.jazzvideolessons.net I talk a lot about rhythm and how to be more creative rhythmically.
I come from the be bop tradition, that's really what I grew up with, so that's definitely in my playing. I also grew up listening to European classical and modern music so I incorporate techniques such as 12 tones rows but it's often disguised. I have some series that I like to play with in my improvisations but mostly in my compositions.
Mainly I try to get a nice sound, play the pretty notes and interact with the musicians I'm playing with. I like to grab something I hear from a musician in the rhythm section and explore that idea. 

5. Talk about some projects coming up in your future, ideas and agendas. Also thank you for doing this- it's a total pleasure.
Right now I'm focusing on creating content for my website students. It's really interesting and I love doing this but it's also time consuming. 
I released 3 albums as a leader and I have enough music to record two new albums so I would like to do album number 4 soon. I would love to write more for big band. I used to do that a lot when I was studying at Berklee but real life is very different from college life and big band writing takes so much energy and time for me! 
Other than that, I want to keep my passport in my pocket, my saxophone on my back and keep traveling and play with musicians around the world! 
Thank you Tim for having me on your blog!

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