Arts Global

02 September 2012

Update from Marcus Miller, Jazz Saxophone

Getting ready to head over to Europe but I have an actionpacked week coming up! Instead of listing everything here in the email, I will direct you to my website. Yup I have a website now and you should check it out. I would like to highlight the Mike Scala Band Album Release Party on Thursday at Drom (Ave A btwn 5th and 6th), as well as the Wave Music Going Away Party tentatively scheduled for Friday (details to come).

This has been a good summer. One of the highlights has been reading The Tracker by Tom Brown. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an autobiography focusing on the author's experiences growing up in rural New Jersey. The special thing about him is that he loves nature and his curiosity leads him into the tutelage of an Apache Elder named Stalking Wolf, who shows him how to find natures secrets.

The summary sounds distastefully stereotypical, much like a 1960s Disney movie, but the book’s value isn’t in the plot. It’s in the boundless curiosity that Brown exhibits. Every day he goes out and studies tracks, looks at them for their variations, their subtleties and what they say about the animal he is tracking. Every day he develops his survival skills by stalking animals, fishing, building cabins and making tools, and mapping the territory. He spends everyday with his best friend, Stalking Wolf's grandson Rick, and they share in different adventures, epiphanies, conquests, and dangers, all driven by their desire to know more.

I would like to say that his relationship with nature is like my relationship with music. But that would be false; instead his relationship with nature is what I would like my relationship with music/life to be. I strive to adopt that attitude. The attitude of wanting to know more about the smallest details of my crafts. The attitude of looking for greater challenges as tests of my understanding. The attitude of wanting to improve not just my art but the ‘state of the art’ as a whole. And finally to draw on the boundless curiosity exhibited in that book as a source of strength to overpower the drag of life’s daily and necessary tedium.

One of my saxophone heroes, Kirk Whalum has a phrase ASTWO. Always Something To Work On. I think mine will be ASTL. Always Something ToLearn. We’ll see if it catches on, but anyway both of them are better than YOLO.

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