People ask me sometimes...
1 What's your favorite cd of the ones you've made?
When I sell my cds at performances, people like to have them signed. I usually sit down behind a table. I often have a helper (in Oregon recently, Rita Beigh helped me a lot, taking the money and giving change, so I could focus on signing and personalizing cds).
I like people, and there's a lot of smiling and touching going on, and good vibes seem to be everywhere. And someone always asks me 'What's your favorite cd?'
I always say the same thing.
I say that I never allow anyone to release something I hate, and that now that I have my own cd company (Red and Blue) my musical standards are such that the output is pretty even. I really don't have a favorite. I have a few that I listen to a lot, though, because they are calming and sweet and relaxing. Some Ballads Some Blues, Jessica Plays for Lovers, Solo Compositions, For John Coltrane, Offering, Blue Tuesday, Millennial Meditations, and Without Walls are way up on my list. I think Steps is the hippest, and Now is the swingingest.
I'm too close to my work to judge it. I try not to judge too much anymore.
2 How do you remember all of that music? You don't use sheet music!
Most of what I play happens just once, when you hear it, and then it never happens again. It comes out of me and it never comes out twice the same way.
Eric Dolphy said 'it's gone, in the air', and he was right.
Increasingly (and excitingly) I'm moving away from 'tune-based playing' and getting into improvising out of nothing. No platform, no particular form. But it takes a form. And it's NOT FREE JAZZ. It's meditation music, sometimes very rhythmic and sometimes not; it could be called event-oriented improvisation as it works off of ideas that come and go like events in space and time. But no words can catch it.
A new cd of mine, in the cooker as I write this (Dec 2005) is just this kind of thing. Inspired improvisational event-oriented music. My working title is 'Blood Music'. That could change but probably won't unless someone steals it from this web site and makes it before I do.
3 How did you sleep? What did you eat today?
Unfortunately, no one EVER asks me these questions. I live in a house, in a state, in a country. But most of my work is in another state, or another country. Yet everyone seems to think I just drove up and started playing.
(I don't drive anymore. The last time I did was a trip between Santa Cruz and Sacramento, California. I was on 680, and a rock flew up and cracked the windshield. I was driving a Geo Prism. I decided to stop then. I was always terrified behind the wheel. My vision started to really get bad about 5 years ago, and now one eye is almost useless. It sees shapes and colors, and it's all very pretty and Monet-like. But to drive in America one must be awake, alert, with 20-20 vision and lightning reflexes. And at least a minor streak of aggression. I traded my driver's licence for something much better: a DMV identity card. To get to a concert that's near my home, my partner drives me there in style, in our big new behemoth Ford 4 door 150 truck, which gets 21 mpg in the city! But since we live very near everything we need, we walk everywhere and don't use it or think about it for days on end.)
I usually haven't slept well at all because the flight in was very tiring, the hotel bed was lumpy, or the vagaries of air travel have left me unable to sleep; I sit up in bed all night watching HBO or Showtime. This way I get to see all the great and not so great movies. I've developed various weird affections for actors and actresses that I would normally have dismissed as horrid, simply because I've seen their best and worst work. Alan Sandler is not someone I would have thought I would enjoy. Or Ben Stiller. Or Uma Thurman. But Kill Bill, Volumes One AND Two, kept me up all night long! My own fault.
And eat? Who has time to eat. And eat where? I'm a vegetarian who refuses to eat sugar or chemical-ridden junk. I usually get the person that picks me up at the airport to stop at a health food store on the way to the hotel, where I buy 5 or 6 BIG bottles of Evian Water. But there's no way to cook in a hotel room, and no refrigeration either. So I'm stuck with 'road food'. Sardines, bananas, chips, nuts, cereals (out of the box), crackers. Try finding sugarless food in a Safeway or QVC; there are about seven items in there without sugar. One of them is water. Soon, I am sure the government will want to put sugar in our water supply. Fluoride is certainly in it already (that's a whole OTHER topic... I won't go there) and sugar's probably next. Why sugar? It causes cancer. And that runs the billion dollar cancer industry with the gamma radiation and tamoxifen citrate and the 50/50 cure rate.
So someone invite me to dinner. Please!
4 Where are you going after the (ahem) gig?
Oh do I so deplore the word 'gig'.
gig 1 noun:
1 chiefly historical a light two-wheeled carriage pulled by one horse
2 a light, fast, narrow boat adapted for rowing or sailing
verb [ intrans. ] travel in a gig. ORIGIN late 18th cent., apparently a transferred sense of obsolete gig [a flighty girl,] which was also applied to various objects or devices that whirled.
gig 2 informal noun: (here it is, I love this one)
a live performance by or engagement for a musician or group playing popular or jazz music; a job, esp. one that is temporary or that has an uncertain future
gig 3 noun:
a harpoon-like device used for catching fish or frogs. verb ( gigged , gigging ) [ intrans. ] catch fish or frogs using such a device. ORIGIN early 18th cent.: shortening of earlier (rarely used) fizgig, probably from Spanish fisga 'harpoon.' (FIZGIG is a word that really fits many jobs I played years ago!)
gig 4 noun:
informal computing short for gigabyte
TAKE NOTE: a job, esp. one that is temporary or that has an uncertain future
I personally prefer the harpoon-like device used for catching fish or frogs. It at least is not so transitory in nature and seems to serve some purpose. 'Gig'. As Dr Watson would say, 'Harumph.' If one has a gig, one is giggled. If one is without a gig, one is gigless. If one has many gigs, one has gaggles of gigs. And if one has a small gig, one has a giglet. A big gig is a ... BIG GIG. I used to have gaggles of giglets. Then I was gigless. Now I am so hostile to the word that it makes me work that much harder to NEVER, EVER have to play a concert that could in any way, shape, or form be considered a (gasp) gig.
What was the question? Oh.
No, I won't be going anywhere afterwards. I'll be going back to the boring old hotel straight away (as the Brits say). Since I neither drink nor smoke (nor hang out with any conviction), I'm not a whole lot of fun for the jazz crowd. I am more comfortable around software designers.
I actually just really like NICE people. I can sit and talk for hours about stuff I know nothing about, like agriculture or dry-wall. The secret to this is to be silent. You'll never learn anything at all if you talk all the time.