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Take Five With Domina Catrina

AAJ Staff By

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Instrument(s):

Left-handed acoustic guitar, high-strung acoustic guitar, virtual instruments (basses, percussions, ethnic instruments, etc) triggered from M-Audio oxygen-8 keyboard into MacBook using Apple loops (usually modified in some way), Indonesian flute (suling), soprano recorder, alto recorder.

Teachers and/or influences? I spent six or seven months from September '86 studying guitar at the Musicians' Institute. Studied there with various jazz and fusion greats—Joe Diorio, Scott Henderson, Jamie Findlay and Frank Gambale, but humbly do not consider these giants as strong as influences as pianist Keith Jarrett, saxophonist Jan Garbarek, composer/guitarists Pat Metheny, Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie, some Jim Hall and Pat Martino, a touch of Allan Holdsworth, jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, and post-minimalist composer Steve Reich,

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I first heard cassette recordings of classic rock/progressive rock bands in my pre-teen years. That piqued my interest. Prior to that initial revelation of music as inspiring Kundalini awakenings, and personal inner journeys, the only music I had been exposed to were along the lines of The Sound of Music.

Your sound and approach to music: Conceived and composed on an Apple laptop—my album uses marimba samples and didgeridoo loops—does that make it African/Australian or world music? Or neither.

I modified typical club/DJ loops, morphed them into post-minimalist stabs. How would you categorize that? Then I added Chinese, Indian and Brazilian percussion samples, triggered by my Oxygen-keyboard, and composed virtual double-bass lines under percolating acoustic guitar bebop-ish melodies. The guitar also gets treated with virtual tube amplification-like distortion.

I seek to create according to the impulses calling forth within me. I believe music has to have a shamanic function—both a didactic (in a moral sense of the word) and healing function (emotionally/psychically). It is not sufficient for me to listen to or create music that merely grooves (or rocks, if that floats your boat) or has virtuosic blowing sections. My music is designed for an additional pair of functions—to tell a story of our lives, and to refer back to itself. To realize the second intention, I have also created a recording of purely ambient music that could be used to aid traditional sitting mindfulness practice in the manner of various mystical teachings.

Your teaching approach: I am currently developing a theory I like to think of as the Grand Unified Field of Western Harmony. It explains and elaborates in a very simple and elegant fashion the use of harmony in the West from the time of Bach to the present and encompasses all styles of Western music, from classical to pop to jazz to new age to post-minimalism. Besides this, I would focus on pointed details in simple lesson plans that work with as few objectives per lesson as possible. What is this lesson supposed to accomplish? As a guitarist, if I were to teach a guitar student who came to learn jazz or new music I would be more globally focused—basic repertoire, harmonic theory, reading, time, tone, various approaches to improvisation that I am familiar with. We would also wish to look into strengthening weak areas and seeking the strong areas of playing to maximize the happiness factor, not merely the work factor involved in music-making.

Your dream band:

I would have two ideal collectives in mind. One is centered on more pan-cultural fusion centered on post-'60s jazz. Musicians that exemplify this esthetic include:

Trilok Gurtu: percussion, tabla;

Zakir Hussain: tabla;

Ralph Towner: piano, guitars;

Mark Egan, Steve Swallow or Paul McCandless: reeds.

My second ideal ensemble might be described as more inclined to post-minimalist/new music:

Various member of the Kronos Quartet;

Tracy Scott Silverman: violin;

Steve Bergamo: percussion;

Marilyn Mazur: drums, percussion;

same bassists as above, but including;

Eberhard Weber (the musical possibilities for a multi-bass line up in my ensemble would be creatively mind-boggling);

Keith Jarrett or Lyle Mays: keyboard, piano;

David Torn: guitar, processes, etc.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Chick Corea's Return To Forever, Romantic Warrior (Columbia, 1976).


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