Saturday, September 01, 2007

"Space is the place."

Sun Ra once said, "Space is the place." The less music you play, the more weight each note has, and the more spaciousness this creates in the overall sound.

I had the opportunity to see this celestial musician at the Temple to Music in Rhode Island back in the early nineties before he died. It was a mystical experience that led me to believe that this brother is from another planet. It amazes me sometimes that more musicians don't know this simple yet profound philosophy. You don't have to fill up every available space with a sound or note. It's just too darn busy with everyone jamming up all the time. Make it musical and play a melody not just bunch of scales. Slow down once in a while so that your speed can have some contrast and meaning.

My friend and musical mentor taught me this almost twenty five years ago. In the autumn of 1983 Jon Jelleyman arrived to the shores of Rhode Island just in time to astound all with his guitar pyrotechnics, skank & bubble, soulful vocals, frightfully funky bass, impressive songwriting, and expert engineering. Jelleyman became a musical mentor for John Guadagni and myself and led us on a musical trip to Jamaica for reggae with frequent syncopated stops in Great Britain for roots rock. It was essentially a musical Zen philosophy. The absence of sound in music was taught to be the most important of all. Rhythm is made up of the spaces between the notes. It is the sound of one hand clapping that allows one to appreciate the sound of two hands clapping in time.

Be good...

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