Originally Posted by badhatharry
You smoked cigarettes, other jazz musicians shot heroin. What made the difference? the experience was the same.
my experience was not the same. i always describe myself as “a jazz-man”, not a jazz musician:
- i stopped performing after high school. my experience with the “R&B” convinced me that i didn’t want to become a professional musician. i am not a good “band-boy”( nor “locker room boy” for that matter). people thought that i was a good musician, but after hearing Clifford Brown, i knew that i wasn’t much of a trumpet player.
- the “jazz-man” label came about from the fact that after 13 yrs of age, i increasingly took refruge in music(all kinds, but especially jazz). music was and is my meditation. i was able to work things out in my head through music. dyslexia seperated me from my previous elite academic peer-group in every way, except for music and conversation. i was a monster listener of music. my mother had a huge collection of “78’s”(the real albums). i started collecting “45’s”, and then “lp’s”. my mother also had this great old combination record player(“78’’s only) multi-band radio.
at one time, i could only hear (“both kinds of music”) “country&western” during the day-time on am radio. at night i listened to “clear-channel” stations(wwl,new orleans, wlw chicago , what philadelphia for jazz, and most infamously “WLAC NASHVILLE TENNESSEE” after mid-night for “R&B”, “RANDY’S RECORD SHOP”. on shortwave, i listened to WillIs Connover,s Voice Of America Jazz, and odd and ends from Voice Of The Andes, Quito Ecuador. limited classical music was the fare of “FM” in those days. after 1957, KOKY(rhythm, blues, gospel, and news) brought all-day african-american music to Little Rock. Leo “JACKO” Carter, followed by Al Bel(of Memphis Stax records fame), helped me “blow my blues away”.
- i started “band” at 13 yrs. i could not do straight-up book reports, so i cheated with classic comic books. but in band classes, while warming-up, my horn would blurt out these wonderful melodic lines, automatically, to everyone elses and my surprise( kinda like automatic handwritting). hence-forth, i became known as “the jazz-man”. so, while i was losing ground academically, nobody bothered me, because i was “a jazz-man”. but dyslexia, caught up with me in music eventually, because reading music, imho, is critical for success. i have a great “ear”, but you can only go so far(and some have gone quite far) on that! musicians are a strange lot, i am not a “musician”. a lot of musicians i know, would hear my music and say “wow but you don’t look like a musician”. and such is life!!
-i was a wage slave/closet musician/avid listener to jazz and latin music until i was 39 yrs old. then for some reason or another, i got my own attention, and started writing 329 2-hour “SYNTHPHOONIES”. it is the legend of the bloody chicken( i have laid 329 square eggs), and have spent the rest of my time seeking relief by sanding them into parabola’s. keyboards, computers, and “protools” are my tools. pretty much, i’ve not been out to “the clubs” since then. one of the few times i went out to hear some friend from new york, and some stranger sits down next to me, and says “wow, where have you been, i thought you had died!”. i looked at him strangely, and he said “you don’t know me, but i haven’t seen you for 15 yrs, but before then every musical event that i attended in the bay area, you were there! i thought that you must have worked in all those clubs”. i explained to him that “i don’t get around much, anymore(thank-you Billy Strayhorn)”.