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AAJ: Many years ago I read a statement by you to the effect that music shouldn't be the sole focus of an artist's life. I was kind of taken aback by it then, but I think I better understand it now. What are some of your other interests?
MT: What it is is that I think it's good to have (other interests). I felt at the time, because my life was very balanced with family, children; and I felt as though it added to my music, it didn't subtract from it. I always figured that a balanced situation was always healthier. Because like I said I had met Bud, and a lot of the musicians I had met growing up, seemed absorbed in their music so much, it was almost like it drove them nuts. I know that when you love something so much like that it can take you out there. I didn't want to go out there like that, you know what I mean. I'm not saying that I would have, but I think that there are a lot of things in life that can help balance things and I felt like that I wanted a balanced life, that I didn't want music to be the sole pivot.
AAJ: You still maintain a pretty busy schedule.
MT: Yeah, it's pretty busy. Of course, the economy, the way it's up and down a bit, sometimes it effects us, but it hasn't drastically.
AAJ: Do you allow yourself some 'downtime' to get away from the business of working?
MT: Oh yeah. I do. It's important it really is. Sometimes I go away on a short vacation, get out of the city and go someplace. Or sometimes I'll be happy just to be home and sit on my sofa and relax. That for me is kind of a vacation, too. I understand why people used to go to Miami, go South just for the weekend and come back, because that little break really helps. But, I like to stay a week when I can.
AAJ: Is there any other subject you'd like to speak on?
MT: Well music has treated me good in my life. I don't think I would have chosen any other direction. I think that music has added on to my life and I wouldn't change a thing. It's not that it's easy being an artist, but what is easy? Something worthwhile does require a certain amount of energy, a certain amount of dedication and I'm glad that I'm an artist, it's really been fulfilling in my life.
AAJ: Some advice you would give to young musicians?
MT: Oh yeah. Do what comes natural and you'll be happier than doing something that doesn't come natural. If you're doing something that doesn't come natural than I think you'll be an unhappy person for not doing the thing that comes natural. So give it a shot. See what happens.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.