A Fireside Chat with Reggie Workman
RW: I have a group. I lost the saxophonist who was prime in the group. He had some problems and he fell off the scene. The groups that I have now, they vary because people have different things and I am not consistent enough in the business to keep it together. I am trying to pass my knowledge onto younger musicians and that takes a lot of time and energy along with living life and things that you have to do to keep up with this world. I am hearing certain things. I have certain ideas that I would like to do as far as the music is concerned, but I don't want to just get out there and do it. I want to spend some time with it before we present it. Spending time with it means finding people who have the time to spend with you and that is not easy to do. When you are away from the music, you are not at your best physical state like Tyson couldn't win after being in the joint for a few years. So you are not in the best physical state as far as your performance is concerned, so you become a little reluctant to just jump out there without some preparation. That is where I am right now. Between having had the time when I was very active in the music world and living through a time now, when I am not as active, I would like to be, in my mind, I would like to do several large projects which I have not done many of through my career. I am working on a opera right now. That is the direction that I want to go in. I would like not to spend a lot of energy and time with being a supporting artists for other person's projects because I have learned over the years that that doesn't work. I used to study the Hindu philosophy a lot and one thing that it taught me was that when you reach beyond a certain point, you leave a lot of people by the wayside. You move away from a lot of people and your society becomes a lot smaller according to which direction you are moving in. If you understand that reality, then you understand how to accept the fact that your society is smaller and therefore, the reward is smaller. I have seen some really great rewards. First of all, Fred, I am still on the planet. A lot of my associates are not. I have a beautiful family. I think that is a great reward. It comes back in different ways depending on where you values are, you will realize whether it is a reward or whether it is a detriment.
FJ: So the record opportunities have been there.
RW: Yes, I have, but I have just been really too busy with other things to really concentrate on it. It is about time for me to do that again. I just have not been able to do that. You can see my track record on the net, so you know what I have done. Those two pieces had a significance in that there was a musician who gave me the latitude to move the way that I moved and he liked the people that I chose. I say he, and that was Ralph Simon, who was the A&R man at Postcard at the time. I am busy with so many other things that I am not able to just jump out and make a document. As a matter of fact, Fred, I don't want to make a document under the circumstances as they are now. I would rather not document what is happening at this particular time. I would rather prepare something that is more in tune with where my head is. For example, we did the Summit Conference album. That was an idea that I had as far as presenting myself and get together with the people that are responsible for the cornerstones of this music. The other product was a sequel to that and the next thing would be a sequel to the second. It won't be a record just because someone says, 'Let's do a record.' I'm not interested in that. I am interested in doing something significant as far as my desire and my ideals are concerned. Otherwise, I would rather do nothing at all.
FJ: Compromise isn't in your nature.
RW: There may be only a few people who appreciate it, but I would rather be in the company of those few than the many who don't know what they are listening to or what you are trying to say.