This was at his first “comeback” gig in the late ’80’s/early ’90’s (I don’t quite remember the exact date) at the club Visiones in NYC. Some friends and I drove down from Boston spcifically to hear La Roca. I wondered why one of my favorite drummers, and one of the most prolific drummers of the ’60’s, had given up his career as a jazz drummer to become a laywer, so I asked him. I expected a gruff, cold response for some reason – I don’t know why. I actually got the opposite – a very thoughtful, warm, polite response, and someone who was willing to chat with this dorky little college student about some of the most important decisions of his life. His answer was simple. (more…)
I posted these videos to my YouTube channel today. Studying with Alan back in 87-89 was a very important period in my musical development. Twenty-four years later I still have his voice echoing in my head, as I’m sure so many people do who had the great fortune to study with him.
I’m heartbroken to hear about the passing of Paul Motian. Having only met him briefly a couple of times I can’t say that he was a personal influence on me, in the way that Alan Dawson was, but his playing was, and is, a HUGE inspiration to me. I’ve always thought of this quote from Picasso when I think about Paul Motian – “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”. Paul was like the Picasso of the drums, in my humble opinion. He was a true artist. He was more of a painter on the drums than he was just a “drummer”. He proved that you can be great without concern for “chops” or “licks”. He was 100% music. Have you ever heard of a drummer playing “Paul Motian licks”? If you have let me know, because that’s absurd to me. It’s impossible. The only thing you could try to copy from Paul was his concept or sound – maybe. That’s how unique he was – you can’t even copy him. You can’t say that about Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey, or even Tony Williams, as great as they were. (more…)
When Max Roach died in 2007 I was asked to write an article about Max for a certain publication. The article never ran, and the only two people who have ever read it are Jeff Parker & Hyland Harris. It’s just sitting here on my hard drive so I figured I’d share it now that I have a blog! (more…)