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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource


Words on World Jazz

By Published: August 10, 2007
There are some musicians who specialize in learning and performing precisely within the confines of one tradition, be it mainstream jazz, Indian music, one of many African musics, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Latin music or another. My chosen work is bringing together sounds I love through the innovative energy of the jazz tradition, doing justice to the original timbres and feeling, as the sounds flow through me. My personal taste in ideas and music has always leaned toward the unusual, uncommon, passionate and beautiful. Many musicians choose to play one instrument in many styles, whereas I choose to play many instruments in a unique personal style. In any case, our instruments are our tools, actually serving as extensions of our bodies as resonators and shapers of the sound-energy we are continually learning to channel.

"The Tao of Music is the way I see the infinite possibilities of music: as the dynamic union of opposite and complementary parameters of sound. This application of the ancient spiritual concept of Tao provides a universal theory for spontaneous composition. At any moment the musician is free to choose from the paired, yin and yang, aspects of sound: high and low, loud and soft, fast and slow, legato and staccato, rough and smooth timbres, odd and even rhythmic meters, static and bent tones, regular and aleatory pulse, diatonic and microtonal scales, monorhythm and polyrhythm, etc. Through contrast and juxtaposition, sounds define and delineate each other, thus creating and sustaining interest in the music. The spontaneous composer mediates among these opposite qualities of sound flowing through time, manifesting the fleeting moment, enhancing awareness of the eternal now for both listener and musician.

Music is (fortunately) beyond words and through this glorious and powerful medium universal love and true intercultural appreciation can be expressed and shared. From my experience, the best thought to hold in your mind as a musician while performing is to have every sound you produce carry the message of joy, love and compassion on its wings, to the immediate audience and out to the boundless universe. Our highest calling as sound doctors is to treat this ailing world with transcendent music. Working with the transformational power that is in music carries a heavy responsibility. We are so fortunate to have this healing energy come through us and should show our gratitude through our sincere and careful devotion to refining and deepening the music that we live.

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