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Take Five With The Music Upstairs Project

AAJ Staff By

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Meet The Music Upstairs Project:

Feast your eyes on that Spin Doctor's mixtape.

The Music Upstairs Project is the brainchild of 4 MILES Records founder and recording artist Cameron Turner. A well-traveled, self-produced multi-instrumentalist, Turner combines his knowledge of modern recording software and groove-based programs with his 60's and '70s-era psychedelic fusion influences. Following the release of his self-titled debut EP, Turner released "A Cry for the Dying," a song that raises money for cancer research with each download. This fall will see the release of Rayna J's solo debut album, produced and engineered by The Music Upstairs Project, and also the release of TMUP's sophomore album Retrospeak under his own 4 MILES Records imprint.

Instrument(s):

Guitar, fretless bass, keys, percussion.

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers...any musician and songwriter I've ever known.

Influences...Miles Davis, John Scofield, David Gilmour, David Foster, Jaco Pastorius, Joshua Redman, Dave Holland, Herbie Hancock, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Roy Wooten, and so many more!

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I first heard harmonic sounds! My background is a lifetime of musical exposure of all types and direction from truly inspirational people. Choosing the exact moment...impossible.

Your sound and approach to music:

My approach is a like a painting...each influence I find brings a new color to the palette. One of my favorite quotes—"A painter paints on a canvas, a musician paints on silence."—Author Unknown.

As far as my "sound" goes, I think that comes down to the listener; what they hear and sense from it.

Your teaching approach:

Just like your children you can teach them to do what is needed, but they will have to find their own way through their journey.

Your dream band:

I would love to work with so many people...David Foster, John Scofield, Joshua Redman, David Gilmour, Tracey Thorn, Massive Attack, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Esthero, Sting, etc., etc...

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

I was once on a tour where, one night, my bags went in the wrong bus, and we ended up sleeping on a hard floor. I had no bedding or change of clothes, and it was cold! When I woke the next morning, someone had thrown a light jacket over me...thanks, but that didn't really help.

Favorite venue:

The Big Chill...made some great music there with some really great friends!

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

A song called "Sister Gaia." It was inspired by one of the most beautiful people I have ever known, and shows what I believe to be a culmination of all of my influences into one moment.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Miles Davis—Kind of Blue.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

I like to think that I am "outside the box," so to speak. I don't tour, rarely perform live, and create on my own instead of having a band. But I hope only that people enjoy listening to my music, and hear something good in it that they have not heard before.

Did you know...

That I once had a pet gray squirrel that lived in the house?

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

I think it is flourishing in all new creative ways. Too many would say it has gone astray from where it began (just like they scoffed when Bitches Brewwas released); but is not the definition of Jazz so broad as to encompass other forms and influences...I say yes. It is, and should remain a global art.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Funding for music in schools, for one. And people not forgetting what it is to be human...to feel something. All great music comes from a feeling in someone that must come out! "Music expresses that which cannot be said, and on which it is impossible to be silent."—Victor Hugo

What is in the near future?

TMUP is currently completing an LP called RETROSPEAK, and producing a Trip-Hop/R&B album for 4 MILES Records artist Rayna J. And then...who knows?

By Day:

I make Italian food in a kitchen, and do production work for other groups. But most importantly, raising a family.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Terribly depressed individual!


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