|Dale Fielder Tribute Quintet|
So with all this forward looking agenda, why would I put out a CD that is a throw back to the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Quintet of 1958-1961? The answer, at least for me, is to move forward, one must assimilate the past. Otherwise what you build in the future will be fleeting because it lacks a firm foundation. I often think of John Coltrane and what made him so unique. It was that he mastered what came before him first. He was a master bop player who mastered the rules first so that he had the best ideas of how to break them. The unfortunate fact of learning jazz today is that it is primarily learned in school in an structured technical manner. This is problematic for an intuitive artform that had traditionally been learned through osmosis and through master/disciple apprenticeships. With today's unprecedented learning resources, today's saxophonists have master Coltrane, -even note for note, but wonder why they aren't even close to sounding like him or their impact isn't the same as Trane's. My theory is only those who did as Trane and was FIRST a bebop master had any impact, ie. Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Charles Lloyd etc.
In 2013, we now live in a 'quick get rich' society built on total selfishness that fosters an attitude that says: "Let's succeed while the going's good and get out before it crashes". Success in music is now measured in how much money you make and the 'simpler' the music like any kind of dance music or smooth jazz etc. is what makes the most money. Certainly not mastering and playing bebop. And so we build things and create music that doesn't last and have come to believe this is normal and is just how it is. How many artists have come out in recent years to much fanfare only to be forgotten 2 or 3 years later? How many jazz clubs have you seen that are here one day and gone the next? We've developed a belief that success is short-termed, for nothing can last forever. Certainly something good if at all. And in music, jazz in particular, the lasting, timeless music is not created in the current era, for the long-lasting stuff was created in the earlier eras. We now have several generations of musical artists who create this way: creating musical success for the moment, not because they're focused in the present (which is actually alright), but because the musical economy, the music business and associate powers-that-be, will not tolerate anything else. I am proud of the fact that every one of my 14 CDs from 1992 on still sound fresh, current and relevant.
http://youtu.be/hhzFrE5FMK0 and "Each Time I Think of You" http://youtu.be/l-WEmRxm7H0 which you can now see on YouTube. Back in LA, the DFTQ continued to do a variety of local gigs and finally the big day came for us to go into Nolan's studio and record our CD. We knew we were ready, and every cut except the title cut was done pretty much in one take. We did 3 takes of "Each Time I Think of You" and each take was better than the last! They were so good that we decided to release Take 2 as the master and Take 3 as the alternate take. This band continued to perform at venues such as the Howard Hughes Center, LACMA where the entire 2 hour performance was recorded and broadcast over NPR radio with interviews. Our CD release was at the Crowne Plaza and we also did a phenomenal concert at Soka Performing Art Center where we taped our first video of this wonderful band. You can see a sneak peak of it at this link: http://illtakeyourpicture.com/p500457547/h5ac63e1e#h5ac63e1e
Well, for me I guess I've become a sort of anachronism, -a man out of time. And am proud of it. If nothing else, I have stayed true to the path and mission I first stepped out on when I began playing jazz music professionally at age 19 back in 1975 when the great master jazz drummer Joe Harris called me to sub for his regular saxophonist. For me, mastering bop first will provide the foundation for me to move beyond and hopefully discover something new that has never been played before in jazz. That's my hope and vision. There are others out here who have accomplished that, -Vijay Iyer, Geri Allen, Steve Coleman and Greg Osby comes to mind and there are many others. But I guarantee you, to the last person, they are also bop masters. I can only work on mastering bop when I have the opportunities to perform it. In the old days, these things were worked out in the jam sessions. The more opportunities I have to play, the better I get at it. And the opportunities to do so are extremely limited. This more than anything is perhaps the main reason for my Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Project. Without sessions to go to as in the old days, we are forced to create our own situations as its hard to simply just get a simple booking. We have to have an angle or hype of some sort these days. Choosing the Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams material was absolutely perfect for me, especially as a baritone saxophonist.
The Donald Byrd/Pepper Adams Quintet of 1958-1961 was one of the great unsung groups in jazz history. Over shadowed by a golden age of great jazz groups, they were a favorite of musicians and fans alike. Donald Byrd and Pepper Adams were each a product of the fertile Detroit jazz scene of the late 1940s and early 1950s.