Miceli is prone to experiment, but his creative impulses are well-considered and rooted in tradition. He is on the faculty of The University of the Arts and the Curtis Institute. He performs virtually everywhere in town, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Chris' Jazz Cafe, and he is always mentoring new players. Meanwhile, his virtuosity on the vibraphones is unparalleled, partly as a result of his innovative use of the "Miceli Stoned Grip, in which the two mallets of each hand are spaced by two fingers rather than one. It is rare that a musician develops his own way of playing an instrument that substantially advances the technique itself. Cellist Pablo Casals was one. Trombonist J.J. Johnson was another. Miceli belongs in that celestial sphere.
In addition to his musical interests, Tony is heavily "into computers and high-tech gadgets. So, when I asked him to do an interview, he suggested we make an audio version as a "podcast. I'm a writer, not a talk-show host, but I have had a bit of a background in radio broadcasting, so I decided to take the plunge. It turned out to be a very enjoyable experience for both of us, as we hope it will be for you. I dropped over to Tony's studio with a few questions written down on a note pad, and Tony turned on his digital recorder. Standing behind his vibraphone, he could and did musically illustrate some key points he was making. This, plus the informal give and take of an audio interview, adds a dimension to the process.
We had a warm, at times lighthearted and at other junctures dead-earnest and almost brutally honest conversation that lasted about an hour and a half. At times, I think we forgot that the recorder was on, so the level of sincerity of this interview is unusual, especially when Tony talks about himself. Afterwards, we agreed we should divide the interview into sections, so that you, the internet audience could listen to specific topics at your own pace and interest.
I believe this interview will be valuable not only to listeners, but to music educators, students, and musicians of all levels of training and experience. It is a great teaching tool. Listen, learn, and enjoy!
Here are brief summaries of each segment of the audio/mp3 interviews:
Tony maintains Larry's Improv Page which has much useful information for musicians, including pages devoted to Tony himself as well as saxophonist Larry McKenna and others. There are some transcripts of solos.
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