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Tim Armacost: Rhythm and Transformation

By Published: February 26, 2004

The entire second set was the premiere of Rhythm and Transformation. As my hand was tired ' my notes dropped off after intermission. Rather than critique every little thing as one would normally do of a new piece of music, I chose just to listen and absorb. What I heard was an eclectic work that reflected each stop along Armacost's journey. I didn't write notes on the second half ' instead opting to just listen and try to absorb as much as I could from such a long work. The main thing that I brought out of my experience was that Armacost is truly a first-rate all-around musician. His sound is enormous. And while his facility around the horn is akin to modern technicians Mark Turner and Michael Brecker, his harmonic approach taps into his an idiosyncratic style all his own ' doing the opposite of the expected.

'I went to Pomona College in southern California,' Armacost recollects. 'I never put down the sax, but especially when I was in college I was undecided as to whether or not I wanted to devote all my time to being a musician.'

After spending his junior year in Japan and getting over a desire to become a Buddhist monk, Armacost finished up college and promptly made the move to Europe. Amsterdam to be exact. In the seven years that followed he was able to build a musical resume gigging in that city and around Europe.

Seven years of practice later, he left Europe as a newly-wed and went to India, where his wife had received a grant to do research. By tagging along Armacost was introduced to a host of new influences and he began playing with native musicians sparking a love affair with Indian music.

'It has taken me almost a decade to get this stuff out of my head,' laments the saxophonist. 'What happened here tonight was a long time in the making. It is the result of choices I made along the way.'

Thanks to Chamber Music of America and Doris Duke ' he finally made it happen.

Learn more about grants through CMA and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

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