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Marc Edwards: Free Jazz Drummer & Percussionist

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...there really is no free music. It is not possible in this dimension. Music is based on melody, harmony and rhythm. A musician can never get away from those elements completely.
Who's Marc Edwards? Cecil Taylor fans may remember him as the drummer on the legendary 1976 album Dark to Themselves. Charles Gayle fans may know of him as the drummer on More Live at the Knitting Factory. And David S. Ware fans must remember him as the first drummer of the David S. Ware trio and quartet on Hathut and Silkheart records.

Marc Edwards is what they call a powerhouse drummer . Here's a biographical interview put together through a series of long emails. Marc Edwards provides a lot of insight into this thing called free jazz, and eye-opening anecdotes about fellow players and life in this music.

Chapter Index

Background
Getting Involved With Music
Free Jazz
Drum Rudiments and Warriors Drum & Bugle Corps
Meeting David S. Ware
Meeting Other Musicians
Live Music in Boston
Apogee
David S. Ware and Sonny Rollins
Cecil Taylor Unit
Developing a Sound
On Cecil Taylor
Personal Projects
Charles Gayle
Alpha Phonics
Kaivalya, Vol. 1
Spirituality

Background

All About Jazz: Hi Marc, tell me about your background, musical and otherwise.

Marc Edwards: Hi Taran. My earliest recollections of music were hearing a variety of musical sounds while I was in the crib. My parents exposed us to classical, what is now called world music, music from the Far East - Chinese, Japan, India, Indonesia, etc., electronic music and other musical genres. The first jazzy sounds were those of Charlie Parker, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins and others. Later when I was older, I bought the record 3 Giants! (Sonny Rollins, Clifford Brown and Max Roach) and the music on that album was very familiar. It seemed like a case of déjà vu, but, that wasn't it. I was merely recalling the music I had heard while I was very young. I didn't get involved with music right away.

I was a normal kid preferring to go outside and play as is the case with most children or read comic books. Superman was always a favorite as was Green Lantern. I felt that if I had a little support, a magical ring like Hal Jordan, I could use my will power to change the world for the better. Every boy wants to be like his favorite superhero. This is a naive point of view that children tend to have, not knowing the harsh realities of the real world.

I have since learned that changing oneself is one method for producing changes in others. If I were a little boy today, I'd probably be admiring some of the superheroes in the current crop of feature films. Director Sam Raimi is doing a fantastic job with the Spiderman films. They're totally awesome. Mr. Raimi has gone from directing Xena in the past to Spiderman. That's impressive! I would be very happy if a creative Hollywood director could do the same for the Milestone Media comic books. Some of you will recall Static Shock that aired on the WB. Static was one of the books produced by this company.

From attending Sunday school we learned that a choir for young people was going to be created. Church officials asked parents to send their kids if they had singing talent. My brother and I did attend those rehearsals. We were so young we sang in the choir as sopranos. I do recall the choir master being impressed with our voices. He once said our voices were as pure as the driven snow to which everyone in the room laughed. After a while, I got tired of being in the choir and decided I had had enough of those Saturday morning rehearsals. We both left and began to pursue other avenues of interest.

AAJ: Other avenues of interest, such as?

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