Monday, November 17, 2014


GC: Son, let's work on the alphabet. Let's take a break from TV and work on our letters, OK?
GC: Why not? We've watched a lot of shows, let's just take a five minute break! What's the problem?
GC: But son, you need to work on letters so you can learn to read! 
GC: OK, OK.....what's the problem? Son, come and talk to me.
LC: Daddy, I'm only good at some of the letters! I can sing the alphabet song, but some of the letters I'm not good at....
GC: Ok, listen, daddy is going to explain. So, let's not think about letters for a minute. Let's think about construction workers for a second. Let's imagine construction workers building a skyscraper. How long do you think it takes to build a skyscraper?
LC: ....Mmmmmm, I don't know?
GC: A day? Two days?
LC: Maybe..... one hundred days!
GC: Maybe even longer than that. And, this doesn't take into account how long it takes to build the materials for the skyscraper. So, do you think that the construction workers give up if they can't finish the project in a day?
LC: No....
GC: Of course not. They work all day, and then they go home at night, and then they come back and keep working on it. Plus, during the day, they work, and they take breaks. And they know that eventually, they will finish the job. They don't get mad because it didn't get finished in a day. They didn't cry. It's what we call a LONG TERM PROJECT. Or we call it A WORK IN PROGRESS.
LC: Oh.
GC: So I'm trying to make what is called an ANALOGY.
LC: But I'll never have an analogy....
GC: No, you don't.....I mean I'm telling a story that relates to your letters. You are doing great with letters. It's a WORK IN PROGRESS. We don't get upset if you aren't perfect right away. We just do a little every day, and then eventually, you'll be able to read. How are you going to teach your little brother Ruger to read if you can't read?
LC: (laughs)....his name won't be RUGER!
GC: Ha, ha, maybe it will be....MILLARD!
GC: OK, do you feel better now?
LC: Yes. We can work on letters now.
GC: Son, I'm so proud of you, and I love you so much.
LC: Can I have pumpkin pie?
GC: Yes, you can have pumpkin pie.....AFTER we do letters.
LC: (sighs)....OK, Daddy.........

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Clickety Clack!

Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Bring that man's baby back.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
I want my spirit back.
Clickety clack
Bubble music being seen and heard on Saturday night
Blinding the eyes of ones that's supposed to see.
Bubble music, being played and showed, throughout America.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Somebody's mind has got off the goddamn track.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?
You didn't know about John Coltrane.
And the beautiful ballad he wrote—wait a minute—
And the beautiful ballad he wrote called "After the Rain".
You didn't know about Lady Day and all the dues that she had to pay.
The Beatles come into the country, they take all the bread,
while the police hittin' black and white folks upside their head.
Tom Jones and Humperdinck got everybody uptight.
They make people that can sing wanna get out and fight.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
What is this madness that Nixon has put upon us?
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?
Who will it be?
Who will it be?
It certainly won't be someone that says that they're free.
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?
Clickety clack . . . clickety clack . . . clickety clack

Rahsaan Roland Kirk was truly a unique musician. Blinded at an early age due to bad medical treatment, Kirk was known for playing not just one, but two and three saxophones at once. Adding flute to his array of winds, he also played lesser known instruments like nose flute, the stritch and the manzello( two  obscure types of saxophones). Historical texts put Kirk in the Avant-Garde category, which is a bit misleading; in some ways, his musical offerings are more conventional than one would assume. However, the above poem shows Kirk's political leanings during the turbulent 60's and 70's.

I've got to spend more time checking out Kirk's music. I had "Rip, Rig and Panic" many years ago, but I'm not so familiar with his discography, which is pretty large. Listening to to the music and poetry here makes me think about where we are as a society now. Who is the modern day equivalent of Roland Kirk? These days, most jazz musicians are trying to figure out how to water their music down so as to gain "wider appeal." We don't even have a forum to be political, because we don't even have a gig! My lament is not only the loss of interest in jazz and creative music in America, but the loss of the edge, the willingness to take a risk and put one's soul into the music. As the man said:
Won't somebody bring the Spirit back?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blue: Mostly Other People Do The Killing's Transcription Homework Assignment

Mostly Other People Do The Killing.....I mean, wait.....
Mostly Other People Do The Killing is quite a provocative name for a jazz group. I've been aware of them for a few years; I have heard a few samples from their earlier recordings( "This Is Our Moosic, "Forty Fort", and "Shamokin!!!"". Clearly, it's not all about the hype; these guys can play, and they combine a post modern sense of humor with a solid grasp on virtuosity and the jazz tradition.  I think this group is a great example of where jazz is today and how conservatory trained musicians can think outside the box in order to find their niche.

It was brought to my attention that Mostly Other People Do The Killing recently released "Blue", which is not a tribute to Joni Mitchell, but rather an attempt at a note for note reproduction of "Kind Of Blue", which is probably trumpeter Miles Davis' most famous album and one of the most important as well as popular jazz albums in history. I was curious about the project. I will say off the bat that I did not purchase the album, I listened to samples on Itunes, which many of us do before making the decision to buy music( if you actually still buy music......anyone?). I decided not to buy it; instead, I download some of Mostly Other People Do The Killing's earlier work and study it a bit more. I'm not saying that I won't purchase it in the future, but I have reasoning why and I'll get to that later.

I am very conflicted about "Blue"; the clips I heard were impressive, and the jazz educator side of me is always impressed with the technical ability to hear and reproduce solos(especially since many of my students have real challenges with that kind of activity. I wasn't going to mention that one of my student groups couldn't name the musicians on "Kind Of Blue," which is rather disturbing, to say the least.) Transcribing solos and trying to play along with the recording and trying to match every nuance is a great tool in jazz education; however, even the most "derivative" musicians rarely try to perform a transcribed jazz performance and pass it off as their own. ( I'm not saying that MOPDTK is trying to do that, exactly.) It is a little odd that musicians would spend so much time on something that they would never present in a performance; in this way, transcriptions are like etudes- they are studies. You can't play the entire solo of  McCoy Tyner's on Passion Dance whien you play Passion Dance. You could play part of it, you can be influenced by it, but you can't play the whole thing. EVEN IF YOU CAN! IF YOU CAN, YOU AREN'T SUPPOSED TO! In this way, jazz is like comedy- young comedians listen to the greats, but they MUST create their own material to be legitimate. Without Richard Pryor, there would be no Eddie Murphy, and without Eddie Murphy, there would be no Dave Chappelle. BUT, Dave Chappelle would NEVER release a comedy special called "Live On The Sunset Strip" or "Delirious." Why not? Because he has more than enough of his own jokes, and doing something like this would be an enormous waste of time and energy!

I read Nate Chinen's review of the CD, and he address some of the reasoning behind the project, and his own take on it seems just as conflicted as mine, although in the end he heartily endorses "Blue". Again, these are great players from a technical and creative standpoint. However, in my mind, this album has GIMMICK written all over it. The sad thing is, gimmicks work. This is especially true in the entertainment world, the music world, and the jazz world. Most of the time, it isn't about the notes, about the sound, about the artistic message. It's about the gimmick, the image, the sound byte, the selling point. It's not, "How can we make great music that will reach people and take an art form to a higher level?" It's, " how can we trick people into buying our product?" I've tried to stay away from gimmicks as a musician, mostly because it doesn't interest me, usually seems cheesy to me, and most importantly because I haven't found a gimmick that has made me rich and successful.....

The paradox of transcribing solos and playing them along with the recording is that it's nearly impossible to sound exactly like the musician who originally played the solo. It is impressive that MOPDTK  on "Blue" sounds at times exactly like Davis and crew. But even so, it's still not close enough. The recording quality is obviously different. As soon as trumpeter Peter Evans starts playing, you know it isn't Miles Davis. Maybe because he isn't playing on a 1947 Martin Committee trumpet? Is he using a Heim 2 mouthpiece with a deep V cup? Did they record on the same Steinway that was at Columbia's 30th Street studios? (I played that piano when I was recording at Clinton Studios years ago. It was a great piano, but I didn't sound like Bill Evans or Wynton Kelly, oddly enough.) I'm willing to engage in a "Kind Of Blue" challenge to test my own ears, if anybody wants to facilitate that.

I'm not saying that "Blue" is disrespectful of the tradition; indeed, I don't think MOPDTK would have spent all that energy on this if they didn't love that music. However, I would rather see them play their own music. This is why I'm not going to buy "Blue." I won't buy it, but clearly, I've already bought into the hype, and even this little blog will give them more press, so in the end, isn't that what matters? In an era when no one is buying music, it's not surprising that anyone would resort to extreme tactics.

In the end, the existence of a project like this reaffirms my belief that jazz is about innovation through imitation. Check out the greats, but in the end, do it your own way. MOPDTK, as evidence by their earlier recordings, already did this in spades. I guess they had a lot of extra free time to make "Blue". But I can't help what are some other records that warrant note for note reproduction:

A Love Supreme?
Birth Of The Cool?
Way Out West?
Duke Ellington Live At Newport?
Black Codes(from The Underground?
No Jacket Required?
Songs in The Key Of Life?
The Chronic?
Enter The Wu Tang(36 Chambers)?

Don't be offended, MOPDTK, but when my son's Bar Mitzvah rolls around, I'll know where to find a "Kind Of Blue" cover band.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Exercises in Sleep Deprivation, Part II

My son Liam was born December 19, 2009. I did not sleep again until December 19, 2010. Those of you with children can relate; some babies sleep, but some don't. Liam was a kid who just did not want to sleep. I was so sleep deprived that I started taking the bus to school after falling asleep at traffic lights. I thought that maybe I would never sleep again in life, that it was just a 39 year lucky streak and my luck had run out for the next few decades. When we went back to New York for the summer, we hired a sleep consultant, which worked out great for some lady who convinced me to give her 400 bucks in exchange for "sleep" information I could have found for free on the internet. Even at age 4 and a half, Liam still has lots of energy at night, but he sleeps pretty well( although he does com into our room during the night on occasion) once he gets to sleep.

I remember musicians who had kids always said they got more sleep on the road. I never could understand that until I had a son. When I travel, I miss my family, but it is nice to have a bit of a break from irregular sleep patterns. In fact, I think that the period after my son's birth has made me handle sleep deprivation a lot better than I did when I first started traveling. I remember after a few years of being jet lagged every time I went to Europe thinking, "Wow, this is not all that it's cracked up to be!" I don't sleep on planes- which is surprising, since trying to sleep sitting upright with a jet engine under your seat surrounded by strangers seems like it would just knock you right out.....

I always tell my students in my 9 am class, " If you are lucky enough to become a professional musician, you'll be getting up at all hours to make flights, trains, buses, and so forth. Missing a flight is an expensive lesson that you don't want to have to experience." I find I am better at mentally pushing myself through sleepiness. It can be tricky if I need to drive.

This past Friday, I had a good test of my tolerance for sleep deprivation. My son kicked me awake at 3:30 AM, which beat my alarm by 30 minutes. I left my house in Portland at 4: 15 and picked up bassist and former PSU student Jon Lakey at 4:30. We were planning on participating in Eugene based saxophonist Adam Harris' live recording; however, I wanted to make some recruiting stops along the way. We arrived at South Eugene High School at 6:45. I worked with Director Steve Robare's jazz band for about 30 minutes and then Lakey and I played some duo and we talked about the program at PSU. After a nice leisurely breakfast of omelettes, waffles, and gallons of coffee, we headed over to the University of Oregon to crash their Friday jam session. This was obviously not a recruiting stop but more of a chance to observe what goes on at other programs in the area. Lakey and I were invited to play a few tunes, which was of course a lot of fun.

I started to fade a bit, so I head over to saxophonist Joe Manis' house to try to nap on his couch for a few minutes. Lakey and I didn't so much nap, but we did play with Manis' 2 year old for a while. "George......Piano......Jon......Bass...." Ellery is a smart kid and we were having fun, but then it was time for a recruiting stop at Lane Community College. One of my combos from PSU, The Park Avenue Group, met us there, and we played some tunes and answered questions. The kids at LCC are very enthusiastic and it was a really good vibe. I took the PSU students for dinner at a small cafe in downtown Eugene, right before the soundcheck for the live recording, which was taking place at The Jazz Station, a wonderful non-profit venue. I was surprised at my ability to get through the concert, since around 10 pm I started to feel like I was running on fumes. After some quick goodbyes, Lakey and I got back in the car and drove back to Portland. I got home around 1:47 AM. I felt like I had just flown around the world and back.

Ironically, I am about to do something to that effect; tomorrow night, I begin my voyage to
Novasibirsk for one concert with the Lenny White Group. My flight path is Portland-New York-Moscow-Novasibirsk. Most of my trip will be on an airplane. I'm trying to bring as much reading, listening and watching material as I can. I'll keep you posted on whether I get any sleep or not. Wish me luck and I promise to take a lot of pictures.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Coryell, Bailey, White, Colligan: Four NIghts At Jazz Alley

Larry Coryell
One of the downsides of playing a lot of gigs with my students has been, you guessed it, that I'm no longer the youngest person in the band! In all seriousness, I have been very fortunate to be able to learn jazz, mostly on the bandstand,  from older musicians who had way more experience than I. Indeed, my very first steady gig was at a the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore, MD, with saxophonist Phil Burlin and bassist Larry Kindling; it was supposed to be MY gig, but they were the ones showing me what to do, being at least a decade older. This is part of the jazz tradition in terms of jazz being a folk music, the art form being passed down to future generations by master practitioners. It's wonderful to be part of a great music curriculum and have classes and have a college experience. However, when you are on a stage and Gary Bartz starts playing a song you don't know and expects you to figure it out, that is a very different kind of learning process. In the real world of music, there are no letter grades- only "PASS" and "FAIL."
Victor Bailey

So when I get a surprise call to join three elder masters on stage at Jazz Alley for four nights, I get not only the thrill of feeling like the young'un on the bandstand, but I also get the thrill of learning through doing. In some ways, playing jazz has infinite variables. You cannot say, "OK, I have learned 60 tunes from the Real Book and transcribed a lot of solos and learned all of my scales and modes and I practiced with a metronome so I'm ready." Every grouping of musicians is going to present different challenges; every combination of bassist and drummer is a different feel than another. It's almost like saying your metronome is going to be different every day you turn it on.

Lenny White
It's especially challenging walking into a situation where you have three legends who have been playing together for decades, and your presence, even if promising, is possibly superfluous. Nevertheless, my first night with jazz fusion legends Lenny White, Victor Bailey and Larry Coryell was extremely positive.( I think it should count towards a Doctorate of Musical Arts. Can I get college credit for this?) We played a mixture of originals by Bailey, White, and Coryell( I had to sightread a tune call Spaces Revisited, which was fun-good thing I went to Peabody Conservatory!). We ended the set with a great arrangement of Led Zepplin's "Black Dog." Hopefully I can continue to learn and imrpove as the weekend continues.

These men aren't just practitioners of the art- they ARE the art!
We have three more nights: two sets Friday and Saturday and one set Sunday. Come down if you are in or near Seattle.....

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Matt Jorgensen Interview

Drummer and Record Label Entrepreneur Matt Jorgensen is a Seattle native who lived in New York for a number of years before moving back and settling in Shoreline, Washington. I've known Jorgensen for over a decade, and since my arrival in the Pacific Northwest, we've gotten many opportunities to work together. I also got to record for his label, Origin Records, which is one of the best indie jazz labels in the world. I recently sat down with Jorgensen to talk about how he got started and his thoughts on music and the jazz biz.

GC: What are your earliest memories of music?

MJ: I started out playing piano in the first grade. My mom always wanted to play and we had one at home. Then there was a kid who would babysit me when I was around 8 and he would bring over records or browse my parents’ collection. My mom had lots of Beatles records and the White Album was my first musical exploration. I’d  listen to side after side, transfixed. High school was the next musical era for me. Freshman year I started drum lessons with John Bishop.The next year, I began playing in marching band, concert band and formed a rock band with my friends.

GC: How did you get into Jazz?

MJ: My senior year of high school they started a jazz band at the school. I can't lie, it was awful and I  later, he went to the New School and convinced me to go with him.
didn't really know what I was doing. The summer between high school and college, my Dad signed me up for a Tuesday night community big band at Shoreline Community College where I was planning on attending that Fall. I went to the first rehearsal only able to play a swing beat and that was it. The band director Jeff Sizer came to and said, “I can pretty much tell you don't know what's going on.” He summed up, from a director’s standpoint, how to play big band drums in 4 minutes. I called John Bishop for a crash-course lesson on reading big band charts and spent the summer practicing. In the fall, I auditioned for the big band [for music majors] and got in. I met a bunch of musicians; one of them was bassist Tom Abbs. A year and a half

GC: If you decide to go to the New School, people there KNOW they're going to be a jazz musician or at least try. Where in your short amount of time did you KNOW you wanted to do that for your life? Or did you have no other option like the rest of us?

MJ: Looking back on it, I don’t really know. It’s funny, I've always been really driven on certain things and music became one of those things. And it slowly became what I did.

GC: That was your identity.

MJ: Yeah, I don’t know if it was set yet though. My friend Tom went to New York and I tagged along because that sounded like fun. I auditioned for both William Patterson and the New School but was waitlisted for both. I already committed to moving to New York though and Tom got an apartment on 30th and Lexington. I moved there two weeks before the term started at the New School and showed up to update my address. Fortunately, a spot had opened up and they let me in. When I went in for auditions at the school, I got placed in one of the higher up combos. The summer between my audition and the start of school I had started to figure out what I was doing on the drums. Then meeting all the great students at school, playing in groups, it was exciting and new. After a while it [music] was just what I did.

GC: You didn't graduate?

MJ: No. I had a certain amount of money saved up and I knew if I went there part time, I could get through two years before it ran out. My mission in school was to meet people, play, and be in the city. I knew when I was about to go that I wasn't going to graduate. Then I stayed in New York, played gigs and took odd jobs.

GC: How long were you in NY?

MJ: 10 years from 1992-2002.

GC: And we never played together.

MJ: No, that was after I moved back to Seattle. Pretty much everyone I work with now on gigs, with Origin or the [Ballard Jazz] Festival, I met during the time I was in New York and the New School. I've always said to kids who are in school that you need to meet people and be active because throughout your career you maintain relationships with all these people.

GC: Do you regret not having a bachelor's degree? Do you think it's important?

MJ: Part of me wishes I had finished, but I don't teach and I don't envision myself teaching. I'm not going to get fired from Origin Records for not having a Bachelor's degree! But, if it was my kid, I'd say, “Yeah, you should finish.” But everyone will have their own path. One of my friends wanted to be a musician and when he was young his mantra was, “do anything possible you can to be a musician.” For him that translated into living as cheaply as possible and doing whatever it took to get by and keep making music. Since school is so expensive now, I don’t think it matters if you go to one of the most expensive schools. I went to Shoreline Community College for two years first, which had an incredible music department. If it wasn't for the band director, Jeff Sizer, I wouldn't have a career in music. He showed me so much.

GC: Let's talk about drumming. The first things I hear when I listen to you play is Philly Joe, Jimmy Cobb, and Bill Stewart. Who are your top 5 drum heroes?

MJ: Everyone you mentioned are my heroes. If you asked me top 5 of yesteryear it would be Philly Joe, Jimmy Cobb, Elvin, Tony Williams, and Arthur Taylor. If you asked me today it would be Bill Stewart, and Brian Blade. Also, I've listened to a lot of John Bonham and Keith Moon-

GC: And you've listened to a lot of Ringo Starr.

MJ: [Laughs].  Bernard Purdie and  Motown records. The big thing for me, which didn't happen in Seattle but did in New York, was that people hung out and listened to records. As a drummer, it's important to listen to as much as you can. People who play chordal instruments learn the changes, while drummers learn the arrangements and song forms. So if you're playing Moment's Notice, which version of the first two bars are you going to play? And knowing the different arrangements on different records by different guys is important. I was lucky enough that John Bishop was my instructor in Seattle. Before I moved to New York, I read an interview with Kenny Washington in Modern Drummer about him being a hardass as a teacher. I looked at the New School faculty and saw he was on the list. My first semester there I called him up told him I wanted to take lessons from him. People told me that I was crazy and that he was super tough. Kenny was really cool but very demanding that you do the work and listen to the records. He has an amazing record collection and an encyclopedic mind. But what stuck me was that he was teaching me what John Bishop had been teaching me, I just wasn’t ready for it yet.

GC: Do you think that some of the trends in jazz education are leading kids away from listening to records and having things under their belt to execute? Do you think jazz is moving away from that [listening] tradition? Is there a way to move jazz forward without chucking the tradition away?

MJ: I think there are different ways to approach it, depending on what instrument you play. As a horn player, you're usually out front leading groups. As a rhythm section player, you're hired by a lot of different people to be a sideman and you need to be familiar with a lot of music history as well as different ways of playing. It's tough because there's so much music to check out and you need to do it or else you limit yourself to only playing certain gigs. I've done a gig where it's bebop one night and the next night is John McLaughlin fusion stuff where I was playing like Billy Cobham. You need to move from gig to gig; I personally like to be able to play the music in a way that would be appropriate. There's no real substitute to listening and checking out the music. It’s like explaining a foreign language, right? You can learn French from a book but until you hear it spoken, you're not going do it right. You can learn music by the numbers, but until you hear someone else and see them play- that's the most important part. When I was in New York, Arthur Taylor, Max Roach and Elvin Jones were still alive and I got to see how they execute things I've heard on records and that always gave me new things to practice.

GC: You also said you've been inspired by fellow-students like Joe Strasser, who was maybe more advanced than you at the time. Do you think it's really important to draw inspiration from the people around you?

MJ: When I got to the New School I was just amazed at the level of drummers and I also realized there was a lot I needed to learn. My first semester I show up and there was Joe Strasser, Stefen Schatz, Ali Jackson, Chad Taylor, Brian Floody, and I think Adam Cruz was there or he had just left. But there was always a cool vibe between everyone. I remember hanging at Strasser's place and talking drums while listening to records I'd never heard. Watching Strasser and seeing how he comp'd was different than what I was doing, so I applied what he and others were doing and it opened up my playing. I also took a couple of lessons with Bill Stewart - he’s so creative how he works an idea to the infinite possibilities and he got me thinking more creatively.

GC: Do you miss New York?

MJ: Certain parts for sure. I like going back and playing but I knew after I’d been there for just a couple weeks that I wouldn't be there forever. It changes you. There are certain things I miss, but there are a bunch of ex-New Yorkers in Seattle and we commiserate. The thing I miss is the consistent high level of playing. You’re also able to call some of your musical heroes to see if they want to play a session. You have to be the best all the time there, or else there are people who will take your gig out from under you. When everyone is of such high caliber, it naturally brings you up to that level.

GC: Ok so you came back to Seattle and what happened then?

MJ: In 1997 John Bishop started Origin Records when there were five different projects he was involved with where he both played drums and was designing the album cover. He decided to put the recordings under one record label. I was talking to him on the phone and told him I was getting into building websites. At the time, I had a project that I was doing with saxophonist Alex Graham, pianist Whitney Ash, and Gary Wang on bass. We had a CD we were going to put out and I traded doing the cover art [with John] for doing the website and that was the start of my involvement with Origin Records.

By 2002 the label was building a lot of momentum. I moved back to Seattle and we got our first office. John and I were doing everything for the label and in 2003 we started the Ballard Jazz Festival. From there we've been doing the same thing every day and everything keeps growing.

GC: How do you balance the music with the entrepreneurship? You were saying last night that it's a new thing for musicians to be doing everything. How do you negotiate that?

MJ: We started doing everything for ourselves because no one would do it for us. I think the balance for us is we do what it takes to make the music happen. If guys are coming through town, I usually help set up some gigs and make a tour happen. We had an opportunity in front of us with an organization that wanted to put money behind the Ballard Jazz Fest and we reverse engineered what it would take to make the festival happen. Once things get going for us, it’s hard to stop. I don’t know if I truly have balance between the two but I do the record label and festival stuff to be able to make music. For me there’s no real line between the business or music side, it all goes hand-in-hand.

GC: Do you think that’s the way of the future for all musicians?

MJ: Unfortunately I do and I tend to think that’s not a good thing. There are people that have specialties in all kinds of things. Look at Spike Wilner who is an amazing piano player and had the opportunity of taking over Small’s. What he’s done with it is great. Not all of us can do all of those things well.

GC: Or do them well. I know for myself, sometimes it’s like I need to slow down and focus on one thing but it’s life in the 21st century. You can kiss goodbye the idea that you can do anything well because there’s so many things that need to get done.  And nobody is going to do them but you.

MJ: Yeah and I think the danger in that is you’re going to burnout. For years there were record labels and radio promoters and now that’s all fallen on independent artists. Those artists don’t necessarily have all the experience or know how to do it. Fortunately with Origin, we have 16 years of experience and we know how to get from point A to point B. There has been a lot of frustration along the way, as well as success, but I feel fortunate to have John Bishop to share the burden of the business side.

GC: When you and I were coming up, everything was compartmentalized. I came up at a time where people that put out their own records were seen as going around the system and couldn’t get on a label. It telegraphed that they couldn’t make it in the real world. Now, no matter how good you are, from bottom up, it’s a completely different story. Sonny Rollins has his own label. Artists you’d never think would have to do [independently release] are. With me, coming from this era and transitioning to the new era it’s hard to catch the new paradigm. If you present this new paradigm to young musicians from the jump, do you think that will yield better results?

MJ: If you’re teaching music business in a college course with a textbook that’s more than 2-3yrs old, you’re teaching useless info. Things are changing all the time and I don’t know where things are going to be filtering out in the next couple of years. I don’t know if everyone can do it all. Sometimes I just want to write tunes or play the drums and not do all of this other crap. But you can’t now. I don’t know what the answer is. Part of it goes into technology. You can pay $5 a month for Spotify or $0 for Spotify and have commercials. As musicians, we should have conversations about giving away our music for fractions of pennies. Overall, the amount of money we’ve gotten paid has gone down and the infrastructure has gone away. Is that good? These things are not set in stone and there are discussions about royalties. If Spotify can charge $5 a month for music, then as musicians we should decide what a fair wage is and demand it. I think the future is obviously in flux and it’s changing week by week, month by month. If we’re churning out these kids in jazz school and not making them aware of what the future has in store for them, we’re doing them a disservice. Music business class in college needs to be rewritten every year. But I also think kids need to know that while there are a lot of avenues to market yourself, I keep coming back to rule number one: sound good on your instrument and do everything possible to make the music happen.