Greetings! As a long-time client of Carolyn’s, I appreciate all those who explore beyond the limits of this world. Whenever I meet with Carolyn online I’m reminded of how fluid our reality can be if we allow energies from different planes to intersect and interact with our own Earth plane. Even the simple (or not-so-simple) act of trusting my intuition is enhanced and strengthened by letting my small world grow into the finer and more subtle worlds that surround it.
I’ve been a professional musician and composer most of my 63 years. At five years old I began playing the accordion, but woodwind instruments were my secret passion so I switched to clarinet and saxophone soon after. My specialty is jazz and spontaneous composition – a term which some replace with “improvisation.”
The term spontaneous composition, in my view, is a far more accurate description of what it is that a musician does when elaborating, embellishing, and extracting elements of the given melody, harmony and rhythm of a song to create a brand new, spontaneous piece that is superimposed upon the original. Sometimes we play this way without any song as a reference point. That’s called “free improvisation,” but it is still spontaneous composition.
In order to compose on-the-fly, as it were, you have to perfect your technique to the point that you can express any idea that comes to you. Just like experiencing different energy states, sometimes music comes to me from I don’t know where. When that happens I just accept it, I don’t try to understand it, because who says we have to understand everything? Perhaps the idea that we have to “understand” things comes from wanting everything translated into our “intellect language.” Gurdjieff often spoke of the three centers (Intellectual, Emotional, Moving), each having its own language. I know that with music, you can only communicate in the language of music. And when you speak a language without trying to translate it, that’s when you’re really inside it. That’s when you can truly understand it.
My music has taken me all over the world. Several years ago I left New York and settled in Ecuador, in the middle of the Andes Mountain range of South America. Here I have my own recording studio, and am part of a band called Jazz de Barro that fuses Andean rhythms with jazz. I’ve been mentoring these guys for over ten years, and now they’re really good. Jazz de Barro with the Cuenca Symphony, Jazz de Barro at the Quito International Jazz Festival, Jazz de Barro on Sesiones de Contrabando (the Ecuador version of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts).
My previous reference to “different energy states” is no casual statement. If anything, it’s my whole raison d’etre. I’ve been exploring how energy moves in the Universe since I was fifteen, when my father gave me a copy of Carlos Castaneda’s The Teachings of Don Juan. Eventually I became interested in taijiquan (t’ai chi ch’uan) and qigong as more physical ways to explore energy, and I’ve been practicing those arts now for more than 30 years.
In April of 2020, when lockdowns started happening and all the gigs were cancelled, I started learning the shakuhachi, the 5-hole Japanese flute. I still play clarinet and saxophone as a soloist with various bands and ensembles, but the shakuhachi is my new obsession. Its origin as a tool of Zen meditation allows me to combine my skills in taijiquan with my skills in music. I’m grateful for the gift of music, through which I explore the mysteries of life and the Universe. I’m also grateful for my many teachers who helped point the way. If my work inspires and helps others transform themselves, then its purpose is achieved. I hope you’ll visit me on my website, my Bandcamp store, my YouTube videos, or my Substack blog where I publish new articles every Sunday. You also might enjoy my books For The Curious and Inside the Mind of a Musician. Gracias y abrazos!
You can connect with me via my website or email, links below.