Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tim Price Bloggin’ For D’Addario Woodwinds- GIVE ME 5- with saxophone master Paula Henderson aka Moist Paula

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. Paula Henderson is a card carrying badass baritone saxophone player. What I always liked about talking to her was the music was bigger than her- he humble vibe and deep sense of respect for the music and players. She's a unique soul in today's music and I think you'll enjoy what she's about. . Moist Paula Henderson and her baritone saxophone are a great thing. Enjoy~ Thanks Paula- Tim Price.


1- How have the last few years of your life affected your current music?

The last few years have been great for me in many ways - I've done a lot of heavy touring with Nick Waterhouse, Burnt Sugar and CW Stoneking, continued my 20 year long weekly residency with Rev. Vince Anderson and his Love Choir when at home in NYC and I got an EWI, with which I've made dozens of home recordings of instrumental electronic music. Also, as I get older I feel less concerned with anything other than playing music.

2. How did you choose to play the saxophone, and what players influenced you early on?
I've always felt that the saxophone chose me. As a child and teenager I was a dancer and took piano lessons - as a really small child I said I wanted to play trumpet because I saw Louis Armstrong and Sly and the Family Stone on tv, but the horn at that time was  nothing more than a whim. As a late teen I started seeing punk rock and new wave bands all the time - once I left high school and home, I would see bands 7 nights a week. I collected records obsessively and did a radio show. There were two bands from Brisbane in Australa at the time which were punk bands with horns, first The Saints, and then The Laughing Clowns, which was started by the original guitarist of The Saints. I loved both and eventually The Laughing Clowns got a fierce girl sax player. Louise Elliot, and I loved her. I was also at the time , the early 80s, really getting into some no wave jazz punk from NYC such as James Chance & The Contortions, Defunkt, The Lounge Lizards and Decoding Society. Then one day  my friend Paul Cumming, a wonderful British musician living in Australia who'd turned me onto a lot of soul, r&b and reggae records, knocked on my door (I didn't have a phone!) and had a tenor sax with him. He said, I think you should have this - keep it for a month and if you like it give Cambo $400. I paid Cambo and am forever indebted to Paul. He got me right on to King Curtis who's still one of my faves.

3. At this point in life - What inspires you ... 
I'm repeatedly inspired by the musicians and vocalists I'm lucky enough to play with; time after time they blow mind and they are my teachers. I also feel extremely inspired by audience members. I've been playing in bands for more than 30 years and I'm in love with the thing that happens when an audience member starts responding positively to,live music and connecting with the musicians. I'm inspired by a child being magnetized by a busker, especially when I've been that busker. I'm inspired by visual art from every era for millennia that depicts this magical, invincible part of the human condition. I love reading autobiographies of musicians whose life stories and works are inspiring, and have recently enjoyed memoirs by Burt Bacharach, Grace Jones, Bobby Keys, George Clinton and Questlove. Mary Wilson's and Little Richard's are my favorites. Music documentaries pretty much always make me cry and so do all kinds of music museums - historic venues and recording studios fill me with reverence and I'm lucky enough to have played in many. In the most general sense I'm inspired by the power of music itself , throughout the ages. And flowers. And ice cream. And Melvin Van Peebles.

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'm a pretty spontaneous communicator - for example I'm just answering these questions without a plan or any kind of editing in advance. For better or worse, that's pretty much how I approach playing the saxophone - I just go for it, using the vocabulary I have at the time (hopefully it becomes broader the older I get) within the context. I'm well aware I'm not the most "proper" player, but as much pressure as I've been under from myself and anyone else to become more so, the resistance within me has been greater. When I'm soloing in a band, I'm generally thinking about the singer and the song. I like playing things - melodies, lines. on the saxophone  that any person might find themselves humming. Growing up in the 60s I heard a lot of instrumental pop music on the radio that would really get stuck in my head - Bacharach, Herb Alpert, Burt Karmpfert and all the groovy tv themes; along the way I've definitely gone through periods of insecurity that my solos weren't technically and harmonically dazzling enough but I'm currently more on the tip of playing la di da if that's what it seems the song us calling for. Once after several unsuccessful,attempts at recording a solo on a record, the producer suggested i "compose" the solo and learn and perfect it - I may have met him half way on that but the idea hadn't even occurred tome because my agenda was for the solo to have an atmosphere of spontaneity - I think the underlying belief behind that is why I've never yet attempted to transcribe and learn anyone else's solo. 

5. Talk about some projects coming up in your future, ideas and agendas. Also thank you for doing this- it's a total pleasure. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm currently touring internationally with C.W. Stoneking and  am looking forward to the release of the 3rd LP from Nick Warerhouse, Never Twice, which is the first of his I've played on, having toured with him for several years. When I'm at home in NYC I continue to play with Reverend Vince Anderson and Burnt Sugar and I refuse to let go of the memory of Moisturizer, the instrumental rock trio I had with Moist Gina Rodriguez from 1998 to 2009. It's my dream to release an album of my bari sax originals, including new stuff and some old Moisturizer songs and meanwhile I keep recording eerie ambient electronica on my EWI so I'm hoping to release a full length Electric Embouchere album as a follow up to the EP I released last year for that project. Most people seem to not like my EWI music but I love it so the album I'm working is called Aesthetic Alien. Meanwhile I hope I get to continue rocking out on bari sax all over the world with some of the coolest bands alive. I LOVE being on the road the most. 

Thanks for having me Tim! 


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