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Take Five With Dave Halverson

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Dave Halverson: Dave Halverson is a guitarist/composer based in Oakland, CA. He is also a founding member of the jazz/art rock band Trance Lucid. To date, he has released seven CDs of instrumental music—three as a solo artist, and four with Trance Lucid.

The music ranges from jazz/progressive rock, electronic rock, and avant rock, to textural mood pieces, solo pieces, and more experimental works. The tone is often contemplative, with undertones of tension and darkness. Inspirations include random noises, found sound, visual art, science, technology, and shortwave radio experiments.

Halverson's first solo CD was Fragments of What (2003), a cinematic recording that explored new sonic territory and completely reshaped his musical perspective. His 2006 CD, March Forth, was created as a tribute to his father, who was born on March 4th. The latest CD, Apothecary Charms, was released in October 2008.


Electric guitar.

Teachers and/or influences? My first and most significant teacher was a very kind and patient guy in St. Louis, MO named Walter Crites. I studied with him for three years. I was an absolute beginner when I started lessons with Crites in 1982. Once I had a grasp of some basic stuff, he tried to expand my concept of the guitar to include his knowledge of jazz. My musical interests at the time were more toward hard rock/heavy metal, but he really helped me to appreciate jazz in all of its forms. And sitting next to him watching him play, I was sure he could play as well as anyone I'd ever heard. His playing was so fluid, and he had a unique touch on the strings. He was a big fan of Joe Pass and Wes Montgomery, two of my favorites to this day.

Your sound and approach to music: My sound is highly variable because my musical approach is often experimental. I deeply appreciate unusual sounds and spend time finding and studying them, and coordinating them with musical ideas. I believe that musical ideas often develop naturally when you live with them for a while, not necessarily hammering on them all the time, but thinking about them over a period of time. And by always leaving some room for spontaneous modification and improvisation.

Your teaching approach: After teaching guitar to groups of kids at Catholic schools for a few years, I learned that there are so many different motivations that students have to play an instrument. A good teacher needs to be sensitive to this for each student. I think that it is important for a teacher not to be too strict in any way, but instead to embrace a true openness to individuality in musical expression, and to encourage the joy that can result from studying a musical instrument.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? They all have a special place to me, but my latest recording, Apothecary Charms, is my favorite so far, mostly because of the way the component parts (the songs and also the individual sounds) fit into the whole vision I had for this project.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I think that is difficult to answer about oneself, as it is the perceptions of others that really decide that. But I think the most important thing any musician can contribute is honest musical expression, unfettered by the opinions/criticisms of others.

Desert Island picks:

Joe Pass, Virtuoso (Pablo Records);

David Torn, Tripping Over God (CMP Records);

Fishbone, Truth and Soul (Columbia Records);

Al Di Meola, Orange and Blue (Bluemoon Recordings);

Jimmy Guiffre, Night Dance (Candid Records).

What is in the near future? I am working on two new solo projects and a new band project with Trance Lucid. I am also doing freelance production work.


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