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Take Five With...

Take Five with John Beaty of The Beaty Brothers Band

By Published: April 26, 2009
Beaty BrothersMeet John Beaty of the Beaty Brothers Band:

John Beaty is the saxophonist and co-leader of the Beaty Brothers Band. As a sideman he works with Dafnis Prieto, Andy Milne, Jean-Michel Pilc, and Jason Lindner.

Instrument(s):

Saxophone.

Teachers and/or influences? I have studied with Mark Shim and Chris Potter. My biggest hero and musical influence is Stevie Ray Vaughan.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I first blew life into a saxophone.

Your sound and approach to music: Music, for both the Beaty Brothers, is all about the cathartic/healing qualities of music. It has to have meaning every time you play, otherwise the notes and styles are irrelevant.

Your teaching approach: Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals! There are no get good quick solutions.

Your dream band:

I already play with them all the time. Brother Joe Beaty, Jim Robertson, Kenny Grohowski, Richard Padron, Jason Lindner, Jean-Michel Pilc, Dafnis Prieto, and the list goes on and on.

Road story: Your best or worst experience: The first time I was in Japan I was on tour with a very gifted drummer named Maiko Ono. The jet lag caused me to become constipated for the first four days of the tour. The fourth night, the Maiko Ono Quartet was playing in Miyazaki, Japan, The local delicacy there is an amazing hand-fed chicken that ends up tasting like the best Texas steak you could ever eat. In the middle of the second set without warning, nature called. In a panic I asked Maiko to play trio. Misunderstanding me, she apologized to the audience and asked for a short break. The audience stayed completely silent, watched me enter the bathroom, and remained silent. Once in the bathroom I was introduced to the "non-western" style toilet. In my ignorance, I literally sat on the floor. After finishing in the bathroom, I exited to a much applause.

Favorite venue:

On a different tour with Maiko Ono, the Beaty Brothers once played a gig in Yufuin in Kiyushu, Japan. Set at the base of a volcano, this hot spring city is considered one of the most beautiful places to play in all the world.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? Our self-titled debut album. Joe Beaty had a life threatening heart condition affecting, and this was very nearly our first and only record together.

The first Jazz album I bought was: a Charlie Parker compilation.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? How to play beyond the notes and get away from the over-intellectualized music that has been turning listeners away from jazz for too long. Playing from the heart in much the same way Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and many other influential artist have.

Did you know...

Joe Beaty is fluent in Japanese.

CDs you are listening to now: There aren't albums necessarily, just artists: Sia, SRV, Immortal Technique, Meshell N'degeocello, and Bob Marley to name a few,

Desert Island picks:

Stevie Ray Vaughan, Live at the Austin City Limits;

Jimi Hendrix, Band of Gypsys;

Meshell N'degeocello, Comfort Woman;

Bob Marley, Any Rage;

Against the Machine, Evil Empire.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? "Bad, without going into too much detail, very bad. Jazz has evolved into this boring, heady, egotistical, self-centered, detached from reality blob of sadness. There are few glimmers of hope, but at least there are some glimmers of hope. Things will change because they need to. When IAJE tanks because the leaders took money from jazz fans you know the music is in a laughably bad place. I look forward to the day when the new music gets heard by the world, it is here, I have heard it."—John Beaty

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? "Letting go of the past. The legends and forefathers of jazz didn't lay down such a strong and beautiful foundation for future musicians to be shackled into poverty and truncated artistically on their behalf."—John Beaty


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