"Go live a full, interesting and varied life. It will come out in your art"
The above sentence is one often heard by artists in every field and culture - masters pass it on to their students as a mantra in one's quest to grow as a person as well as an artist.
I hear the saying above is true, but cannot actually attest to it...
I always felt the desire to get lost in my own world and imagination, choosing to not only focus on one genre of music (which is in itself only one form of art within many ways of human expression) but focus on even more specific extremes within the genre.
I pick and choose, mix and match certain moods, grooves, chords, and keys only to discover how much can be said with how little.
I often choose a small group of peers and mentors and work pretty much only with them, working towards long lasting musical and personal collaborations and relationships.
Some say "but why limit yourself"?
I say "why the hell not?!"
I feel that the deeper I dive into my own personal waters the more intimate i become with them, making every shade of blue really count.
And this way of working really works for me.
I say no to projects I would enjoy in other fields only to feel like making real progress in my tiny chosen field.
It might be a needle in a hey-sack, but hey-its my needle, and its a damn fine one :)
Every year or two I take on a project from outside my field-a drum and bass band, a classical chamber ensemble, or god forbid-a rock n' roll band- only to feel emotionally detached from the music real quick and swear to never stray from my beloved jazz till death do us part.
The only musical world I keep returning to only to never find a real format to grow with is the classical world.
I performed with different ensembles-from world-famous orchestras to small obscure chamber groups and always felt like a fish out of water...
Somewhere between the conductor throwing his hands or sticks in all directions as if to land a highjacked plane to the fact every note is already written therefore after the 2nd concert i feel like im 50 years old reading the same book over and over again.
And the audience drinks no wine, dresses funny and misses bingo night to hear the music.
Besides, none of my friends listen to classical music thinking it died with their grand-grandparents...
In short-I'm LOVING IT.
Last time I was invited to perform as a soloist with an orchestra I immediately asked If I could bring the trio with me. I figured that even if we can't make the 2 ends meet at least I'll see my buddies and we'll rock out on our own time later that night at some jazz club.
To my surprise , the orchestra people said yes...
But (there's always a but with non-jazz musicians) we'll have to meet midway-you can improvise on some of the music, and will have to play some of the orchestral music too. You can rock out on some of your jazz as long as you'll play our music elegantly enough...or so they said....
I must add that the marriage of such bastard children as improvised and written orchestral music almost never works. really. usually it sounds like cheap broadway BS at best or real sonic disaster at worst...
So why am I telling you this?
Because this week I been a part of a very special project.
The Israeli Stage Orchestra invited 3 soloists to perform music of their choice with them, and after 2 concerts this week, we all can't wait for the rest of the season.
The entire "band" is made up of classical musicians from all nationalities and all ages,
We turned the entire program inside out-they play bach and I improvise guitar solos over it, the drums play jazz brushes behind me playing Ravel, we play jazz samba behind Saint-Saëns, as well as each soloist performing an original composition of his choice.
After 2 somewhat-rocky rehearsals we were all amazed that the last 2 concerts at The Jerusalem Theater were fantastic, and to packed houses too...
This music is absolutely gorgeous and I find myself listen with great anticipation to what everyone is playing as it comes out so dreamy and pretty in the face...
We have 8 more concerts with this project (which I was just informed will continue next year) the next 2 will take place this coming saturday at the Tel-Aviv museum (rest of the dates are on the band's website) and I hope you can make it :)