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Meet Clifton Hyde: Clifton Hyde was born and raised in South Mississippi and likes music...a lot.
Instrument(s): steel guitar, electric guitar, baritone acoustic guitar, mandolin.
Teachers and/or influences? The biggest influence on me becoming a musician was my uncle David. Growing up the best form of entertainment was sitting around with the family and singing songs with David leading the singing and playing guitar.
From living in Mississippi I got into Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Son House and Robert Johnson. Discovering Frank Zappa's music in my father's LPs led me to Bartok, Coltrane, Monk, and Varese. My love of Slayer pointed me to the metrical modulations of Elliot Carter's String Quartets and Arnold Schoenberg's 12 Tone Music and I can't listen enough to Mahler, Funkadelic, Bill Monroe, Jesus Christ Superstar, Piazzola, Barrios, Ornette, Hendrix, and Led Zep.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when... When I was about five or six my uncle David pulled out his electric guitar and strapped it on me. He put my fingers roughly in the shape of an A Major chord and when I hit the strings: WHAM!!!
I could never go back...
Your sound and approach to music: I just want to tickle my brain, feet, soul, and heart.
Your teaching approach: I like to listen to a student's work and simply point out new avenues for them to check out. It never seems to work when you have an agenda of what they should learn. I just want to listen to them and react accordingly. It's like improvising in its own way.
Your dream band: I recently played some duos with Trevor Dunn (double-bass) and he was so responsive, creative, and just fun to play with. Playing duo with Joe McPhee is always a treat and I had the pleasure of doing a miniature improv with Erik Friedlander at a workshop last year and thought it was great. If I could get a quartet of those four together I would be a happy man.
Anecdote from the road: In 1999 I was on the road with an electric jazz band. We pulled into Baton Rouge, Louisiana to do our 1st night of a two night stand.
As we are pulling into the venue we see this shirtless, bald, muscular, angry-looking guy vigorously shaking a parking meter. So we load-in and get ready for the gig. We go on stage and the saxophonist comes up to me and tells me he saw the guy still shaking the parking meter while he was grabbing a smoke. I don't think much of it and we start playing.
So it's the middle of the set and we finish this McLaughlin tune when our friend from the street moseys on into the club with the parking meter over his shoulder!
At this point the crowd is rather silent and they are rapt watching this angry-looking man saunter towards the stage. He gets directly to the band stand and pauses (pregnantly), drops the parking meter on the ground and then asks:
"Do you guys know "The Girl From Impanema"?
Needless to say, It was Bossa Time!
Favorite venue: I had a great time with McPhee at Roulette last November. Killer acoustics and the evening was great for just listening and playing.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? I try not to listen to my recordings.
Did you know... I enjoy a wonderful glass of wine...it's quite a wonderful drink you know!
What is in the near future? I'm finally putting together my book and I really have the desire to lead a group. I'm working on my trio which is frets and slides, tuba and percussion.
I am very excited to be playing with Joe McPhee again at the Stone this March. Always a treat. A wonderful musician!
By Day: I'm just counting on music at this point!!!
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.