Category Archives: Reviews of Other Artists and Musicians
Sir James Galway has a lot of really great videos that are extremely educational. They cover many angles of flute playing, such as tone, articulation, finger exercises, repertoire, and more. Also, you can join his new fan club, which will be a lot of fun. And, on his web site, there are very many sound files, where you can listen to entire pieces, and the audio quality is really good. Sir James is a wonderful educator. Many musicians just focus on playing, but Sir James is very gracious with his time, and the centerpiece of this is his annual masterclass in Switzerland. I watched a video last night in which he plays numerous flutes, of different makes and materials; silver, gold, in various K counts, and even platinum. This is a great resource for a flutist looking to buy a really good flute. Let’s see, the 24 K gold flute sounded pretty nice!
I just read that Eric Clapton once said ( true or not? )… “I don’t know why people like me, I suck. I just found what sounded good to me”
Yeah Eric, you do suck. Now would you mind playing a few more sucky tunes?
I got a good title for you… “The Electric Hoover Blues”
If you use that title, Eric, I get in on the royalties, right?
Harmonica players suck… and blow!
For any Jethro Tull fans, you, of course, recognize the tune.
On the official Tull website, their fearless leader, Ian Anderson, has a really nice section about flutes… everything, brands, miking them, twirling them…haha, and it is a very valueable resource for flutists. By the way, they are on tour now… those guys just don’t give up!
One of the world’s finest percussionists, Airto Moreira, came to the U.S. from Brazil, with his wife, vocalist Flora Purim. Airto has recorded on over 500 CDs, with just about every great jazz, and other genre, musician you can think of. The first album of his that I bought, is called “Seeds On The Ground”. To this day, it is one of my favorites. It is one of the recordings that made me know that I had to be a musician. I spent a day with Airto a long time ago, bicycling along Lake Washington in Seattle. He told me stories about everything! Playing with Miles Davis, Chick Corea and “Return To Forever”, touring with Simon & Garfunkel, and life and spirit. One story, somewhere in Europe with Simon & Garfunkel… The entourage was ready to embark on the next leg of their tour, and Art Garfunkel was nowhere to be found! Turns out, he decided to hitch-hike to the next show, and didn’t tell anybody! Art showed up just before the next gig, and asked if there was anywhere that he could take a shower! Crazy!!!
Airto is truly as great a person as he is a musician.
Check him out!
For those of you who have not heard the “Paul Winter Consort”, I would highly recommend that you do. Paul has been playing around the world for decades, has won Grammy Awards, and has released many fine recordings, mostly in the earthy, jazzy, world music genre. One of the first albums I bought was his “Icarus” record. This is a great record! The title tune was written by guitarist Ralph Towner, who after some time with Paul, went on to form the group “Oregon”. I helped out with a concert in Seattle by the Paul Winter Consort. Paul actually came to my home, and took a nap on my waterbed! ( Without ME! ) I also organized a workshop that he led, helping folks to learn to improvise, in a fun & friendly environment. Paul is a great guy, and plays a mean soprano sax! The consort plays every year at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, in New York City, for a Winter Solstice Celebration. I caught their show once on my way back to Seattle from Paris. Paul is known in part for his playing with wolves, whales, eagles, and other animal and natural sounds.
I would highly recommend treating yourself to some You Tube videos of essentially the most highly regarded jazz trio in the world. Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, & Gary Peacock have been playing together for over 25 years, and they play some of the best jazz you will ever hear. Fortunately, you don’t have to get to Carnegie Hall to see them. They have many fine You Tube videos. Gary was the main reason I wanted to go to Cornish. I was with Gary for theory, composition, jazz history, ensemble coach, private lessons, and friend. Many students came to Cornish because of Gary. In our private lessons, we would play tunes, mostly jazz standards, and work on soloing over the changes. Gary would stop me, and say ” The F# you just played is in conflict with the dominant 7th of such and such chord, and with the tri tone of the following chord” Yikes! Forgive the hell out of me! Gary also had me writing solos over tunes as homework. 72 bars a week sometimes. I would stay up most of the night on Sunday, preparing for my Monday morning lesson, often falling asleep on the piano, until my top forty playing roommate would come home and wake me up, when he came clumbering in, saxes in tow. One time, I wrote out Hubert Laws’ solo over John Coltrane’s “Moment’s Notice”. (I cheated, … I had a professional transcription, and just re wrote it!) Gary busted me in a heartbeat! Hubert sure can play! Now, if I could just get him to return my email… “Dave WHO???”
I have been dying for years to play Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo A La Turk”. You know, the 9/8 tune featuring Paul Desmond on soprano. It’s a tricky little ditty… not your average blues band jam tune. I’ve never heard a flute version of this classic. Is there anybody out there who would like to take a whack at this baby? I hear piano, bass, drums… and me! This is not a tune for the timid!
While I was a student at Cornish in Seattle, I played in a percussion ensemble, doing contemporary music, mostly from Europe and the U.S. We devoted an entire semester to the music of the late, great, John Cage. Mr. Cage was in residence for the last two weeks of rehearsals, and in the audience for our performance. I stood side by side with John, while he fine tuned the prepared piano. This is something he invented, whereby you insert various objects, a washer, a pencil eraser, a piece of wood, etc., between various strings. Then, when you hit certain keys, you get an altered sound. John would say to me…”Oh, this needs to be a number two washer, not a #3″ Things like that. Crazy! This was an amazing life experience. Mr Cage was a legend, and an extremely influential composer. One of his compositions… “Three minutes and thirty Seconds of Silence”, involves a piano score, with detailed notations, in which never a note is played! Also, while John was in town, a large group of us went mushroom hunting. John was an avid mycologist. Guess who found the most mushrooms? Kids!!! They go places where mushrooms grow. They act like little mushrooms. Those kids found species that had not been yet identified, baffling the park rangers. Those were sent to the University of Washington for identification.
John Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, also did a workshop with John Cage. I heard that she got famous in a whole new way through this experience. A funny story about Yoko… When I lived in Paris, I knew an author by the name of Jim Haynes. Jim is truly a charachter in Paris. He has been hosting dinner parties for some thirty years at his place. I used to go to them frequently, and meet people from all over the world. The first sixty people to call and sign up could come. One hundred or so in the summer time when the garden opened up. Jim published a journal while he was living in London, which was read by the Beatles, and Brian Epstein, their manager, among many others. He also did theater productions, and hosted an event by Yoko, when nobody else would touch it. Jim was invited to the release party of Sergent Pepper’s. While waiting to be invited in, he met Linda Eastman, who was a photographer assigned to the event. He actually had a date with Linda, but he didn’t show up! Of course, Linda later married Paul. So, Jim knew Linda before Paul did, and Yoko before John! One time, Jim received a letter from Yoko, berating him for not calling her while he was in New York for a speaking engagement!
G of course, Kenny G…
I have a few things to say about Mr. G. I hope I don’t get in trouble with his legal team!
Well, it must be true, as I read it on his web site, that he is “The Greatest Instrumentalist Of All Time”
Oy Veh!!! Years ago, I was in a recording studio in Seattle, and during a break, one of the musicians said to me…
“Dave, I’ve played with Kenny G, and you are as good of a flute player as he is on sax. It’s just that he has industry backing, and you don’t” So, if I had backing like Kenny, could I be worth over $100,000,000 as well? Would I have to play “Smooth Jazz” at wineries across the land? Make 40 CDs of the stuff? Ahhh, there is a balance I guess. Artistic integrity, and financial success. I think you can have both. A lot of things in the creative arts just don’t seem to make sense. The late, great, trumpet player, member of The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Sun Ra (Space is the place!), and countless other groups, Lester Bowie, once said… “I have a problem with any society that pays Elton John more for his music, than it does me for mine” It just doesn’t always make sense. R.I.P. Lester! Lester and myself, along with bassist Eddie Gomez, and guitarist John Abercrombie, partied once together, at their hotel in Seattle, amid power outages, and cheap red wine, while watching the world series. These amazing musicians were in town with the great Jack DeJohnette for a concert with Jack’s group “New Directions”. Jack plays with one of my main teachers in music… bass player Gary Peacock, in a trio with pianist Keith Jarrett.
I studied with Gary at the Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Gary is one of the greatest jazz bassists of all time, having played with many of the world’s great musicians, such as Miles Davis, Ravi Shankar, Chick Corea, and many others. In my private lessons with Gary, he would sometimes get a call from Chick’s manager, or Keith, about an upcoming recording project, or concert tour. I’d say… “Talk as long as you like, Gary!” I asked Gary once “Why did you let Keith make all those noises on your CD?” Gary said “Keith can do anything he wants” Keith is known for his vocal utterances, bodily gyrations, and sometimes for rebuking his audience if somebody coughs or something. I got all kinds of Miles stories. Gary’s first gig with Miles was at a club in L.A. He was replacing the wonderful Ron Carter. I met Ron at a jazz club in Boston when I was 17. Nice Guy! Gary had rehearsed with the rhythm section; Herbie Hancock, piano, and Tony Williams, drums.
When Gary entered the club, he noticed immediately that everything was black. The floors, the walls, the ceiling, and everyone in the club! Herbie told Gary… “Let me introduce you to Miles” Miles, barely turning his head to acknowledge Gary, said… “Peacock, I don’t care what you play, just don’t play any of that white s#*t!” Gary said it was a moment of truth for him. In fifteen minutes, he had to figure out what “White S#*t was, and make sure he didn’t play any of it!
Miles had all kinds of things he liked to say, such as “If you don’t know what to play, don’t play!” A referance to players who like to play a million miles an hour. Mozart would have said “Too many notes!” I don’t want to say too much about Kenny G…
By the way, ask Pat Metheny about Kenny G sometime!