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Anonymous asked: how did you get out of the insecurities of wondering how you "sound" to other people and how did you get comfortable with your true language??
man, that’s 1 of the best ?’s abt artlife, i’ve gotten here so far on tumble world.almost made me want to do a video response, only bc im not sure i can communicate this in writing, but here goes:
For the record securities abt your “sound” never completely go away. I’m still tryng 2 figure out what my language is; frankly I think I’m always going 2 b on that search, it keeps it fun for me. But wht helped me i think is i realized at a certain point that I didn’t want 2 a “musician’s” musician, or an improviser’s improviser or a saxophonists saxophonist…. i wanted to be a musician/sound instigator 4 the collective people(s) ( that also includes all the sound makers mentioned, but that is not inclusive to them). I also was luckier than most when i started developing my sound, i was around a lot of older musicians who already had a very personal thing going on. 3 saxophonists I can think of off top were Lin Halliday, Fred Anderson, Von Freeman. The latter two I spent the most time with but when Lin Halliday was still living I would go hang with him and his band, and Lin, tho obviously a bop devotee, really made the language his own. Fred Anderson was a huuuuuge bird head bt yet he never sounded like that evn tho he held charlie parker in such high esteem, particularly sound, and he would have discusssions with me abt sound, but wouldnt do lessons, saying I just need to keep listening. Von Freeman I would beeeeeeeg for lessons on sound from too, and he would always refuse like Fred,—just said “keep listening to me,come hang out, keep playing, keep dreaming and your sound will come.”. And then for a moment in Chicago a few people showed up who were definitely going for something different than what was hanging around—Steve Coleman wld pop into town on occasion, and one person in particular, kind of coming out of the Steve corner, but in a new way, was Rudresh Mahanthappa who was getting constantly trashed by so many local musicians bc he wasn’t playing ” to the tradition”. He wld just smile widely, look them head on and just keep it moving. All those people, I feel like I learned alot abt the grace that is neccessary 2 just be yourself. That combined with just being coming up during the whole riot grrrl era, where gender assertation reached new heights, i think really gave me an anchor. In the end life is just way to short to try 2 recreate someone else trajectory, whether it sound or life path ( one in the same to me). It’s a very personal thing and really, I feel at this point should be seen as a spiritual practice. But it took me a long time to get to this point on it, and perhaps I’ll flip my whole game in whatever is next for my life/my sound. You never know. But thats the best thing abt living, is being alive 2 experience the surprise of struggle and it’s offshoots. Thanks for the great question. xm