Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tyshawn Sorey on playing "Free" music...

Up-and-coming New York jazz drummer and composer Tyshawn Sorey was recently interviewed in Modern Drummer magazine. Tyshawn is a musical force and everyone in jazz circles will soon be talking about him (if they aren't already!).

I thought I would include a portion of his interview which I found particularly inspiring. In this day of jazz-related dialogue, argument and commentary in regards to playing "free" vs. "straight-ahead", etc. I think that Sorey puts things in a very thoughtful perspective.

MD: What's your approach to free music ?

Tyshawn: Well, I like to believe that I play free all the time. [laughs] In other words, I don't consider myself an avant-gardist, jazz purist, or any kind of stylist. I guess I'd call myself a traditionalist - not in the way we think of what a traditionalist is, but there is a tradition in all of the great masters we study that makes them great masters. I mean, they were "free" players also - free in the way they expressed themselves whenever, with whomever. Freedom for me is having enough resources in your drumming that you can do anything you want to do, coupled with discipline and the willingness to bring the best out of the other musicians you play with. Listen to Louis Armstrong recordings, and then to the stuff that Kenny Clarke and Max Roach did with Charlie Parker, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown - I mean, to me that shit is just as free as what we call avant-garde. I don't think there is any qualitative difference there, in terms of how free they play themselves. So I would like to think I can have this kind of freedom, where I can be as creative as I can be and be able to play with anybody, in any style. And it comes from within yourself, and from discipline. It's like what Elvin Jones once said: "If you don't know what discipline is, then you don't know freedom either."

[from "Tyshawn Sorey", story by IIya Stemkovsky, Modern Drummer - September 2009]

That's deep !

Here's a great clip of Tyshawn being interviewed at Drummer World in New York and him talking about his role as a drummer/composer:

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