Clear the decks, uninstall the software: Brass and woodwind instruments are making a comeback. Why? Because they tell it like it is – with no bullshit.
“A genius is the one most like himself”: Thelonious Monk’s typically incisive statement is a fascinating lens through which to consider genius in jazz music. Here are three jazz moments that resonate with an astonishing unity of person and performance. Continue reading
Most jazz lovers have had friends ask what it is about this often unapproachable-seeming music that speaks to them. For me it is closely tied to the culture of the standard: Compositions that are only very loosely attached to the artists who created them, instead belonging to a common pool – melodic resources, free-to-use. Continue reading
Improvising on the saxophone has transformed my life forever. It has awakened me to a completely new level of spirituality – hard words for me to type, as a rationalist. Improvisation is a religious revelation. It is meditation, red mist and the soul. Playing music without a plan showed me the full dignity of the human consciousness and the hot power of the mind. It made me question everything that had gone before, and opened up unlimited possibilities for everything that lay ahead. It very nearly never happened. I want to share my story, and my elation, about how it did. Somebody showed me how. Continue reading