About two weeks ago I’ve received an email from Tom Sawada who granted me access to a pdf copy of the book Words of the Music Masters that he and his co-editor Federico Pereiro were about to release (www.wordsofthemusicmasters.com). Before writing a post about the book, I wanted to read it (that’s the least I can do) and I liked what I read. So here is a brief review of the book. Both editors are drummers first, and just like many musicians out there, they tend to look for hints and views about music from the music masters. Tom and Federico focused their attention on the principles behind the pathway of a professional musician. And who else would be the best witness to testify about this, if not the professional musicians themselves? So, they’ve asked the question.
Actually, they’ve asked a set of questions to 8 musicians from various backgrounds and music genres. So you will find there answers from the drummer Lenny White (who played with Miles Davis on Bitches Brew), David Ellefson (former bassist for Megadeth), jazz legend/guitarist John Abercrombie, drummer Chester Thompson (who played with Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, Weather Report, Phil Collins,…), and four other musicians who makes this book looks like the first chapter of the who’s who of live musicians.
The structure of the book is pretty interesting as it highlights the content. Rather than publishing a series of interviews, they’ve chosen to illustrate several topics with the questions they’ve asked to the interviewees. The questions cover a range of topics going from learning music and a musical instrument to the constant struggle of the professional musician to stay on top of its art via the principles behind acquiring your own style. I think anyone will find something interesting in this book either non professional musicians looking for hints or the wannabe professional musicians who will get an inspiring source of information.
As for me, I think I’ve found the most obvious and nice advice that a wannabe improviser would get:
Sing all the time, anytime you can. The car or the shower are great place because nobody has to hear you.
As I don’t have a car, I will restrict the singing to my shower… Dear neighbors, if you want to complain, don’t blame me… Blame the book!! I’m just executing!
Interviewees are: John Abercrombie, John Clayton, David Ellefson, Larry Grenadier, Thomas Lang, Michael Manring, Chester Thompson, Lenny White.
The Words of the Music Masters website where you can find a free preview to download and different versions of the book to purchase.
Tom et Federico interviewed him, so I here is a video of the awesome bass player Michael Manring performing Selene. Enjoy!