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life's loops and open minds

- so many words . . .

- so little thought.

- i finally get it . . .y'all aren't joking !

- someone said:

"A 7 note thumb piano is not as capable of
expressing human emotion as a tenor saxophone."  

- IN WHOSE HANDS? - and judged by whose thought police?

- in the '50s i played at a lot of spontaneous sessions with drummers
like "Philly" Joe Jones playing the phone book with a couple of ashtrays
and  some cocktail glasses, someone else playing spoons - and one cat
used to whistle into a matchbook bent some funny way to approximate a
flute - and the music was so good it'd make your hair hurt !

- who called the cops?

- someone asked:

"Why are there more sax, guitar, trumpet or violin solos than other

- how about piano?  in the early '60s i was working and recording with
Vince Guaraldi, and we did a series for the tv - Peanuts, or Charlie
Brown or something,  (one of the tunes was  Linus and Lucy) anyway, i
noticed then, and it is still true, that you only need to hear a  couple
of notes to KNOW that its Vince playing the piano and everybody knows
that a piano  can't "bend notes, add vibrato, & play harmonics." or so
they say . . .

- and someone else wrote :

"'Kay, my mind's open... Show me any example of a DJ's work that can
me feel like, say, Ry Cooder's solo on "Lipstick Sunset" or Amos
Garrett's on "Midnight at the Oasis"-- please!

- try Q-Bert ! ! !  Over at Slims in San Francisco our band (marshall
arts) was paired with the Invisible Scratch Pickles, including Q-Bert,
and we played the last half of the show together - having never heard or
seen each other before that night - and they ARE real musicians - it was
beautiful - i call Q-Bert the Max Roach of scratchers and that's a
conservative description - they practice their ART "24-7".

- as to the solos by Mr Cooder and Mr Garret . . . i admire their work
and i appreciate something beautiful or powerful whenever it turns up
but its hard for me to imagine what it makes YOU feel like. 

- which brings to mind a story about George Bernard Shaw, when he was in
his 80's, at a dinner party. Mr Shaw's eighty year old sphincters
weren't exactly in his control anymore and he farted, as people
sometimes do. When the "sweet young starlet" the hostess had seated
beside him laughed, he turned to her and said " My dear you're so easily
amused - you should come to all of my plays".

- I DO know that having been raised in the disipline called jazz and
having played with guitarists like Wes Montgomery and Howard Roberts,
hearing them every night play hundreds of choruses on the same tune
without repeating themselves (them was the rules!) its sometimes hard to
keep the "snob wax" out of my ears. But then i remember that Wes gave me
my first pickup - Although i was the bass playe, i had welded up this
fretless 8-stringed instrument using re-bar and steel - and asked him
how to make it come out of the amplifier . . . he said "you got to have
a PICKup" and drove me over to a luthier in san francisco to get one
they'd taken off his guitar (Gibson was making him a special guitar) -
he did that because HE wanted to hear what it would sound like - which
started me down (or up) the path of study that is still unfolding -
making and playing things that haven't been on the planet before - i
received US Patent #3,447,412 for that one. (the Megatar)

 -  you can see it on p. 95 of a book that just came out - The Rock and
Roll  Hall of Fame's "I  Want To Take You Higher - The Psychedelic Era,
1965-1969" . . . at the top left of the picture is one of my early
loopers - the first one was in late '63 - i called them "Time Tunnels", 
a sony TC-220 that i modified - stereo loops - but you were stuck with
the tape length even if it did have 7&1/2, 3&3/4. and 1&7/8 speeds - the
young lady is my then wife and the mother of my children, including "the
tenor player i met in the delivery room" who is currently 1/3rd of
marshall arts - she had a hit record with WE FIVE. The song was "You
Were on My Mind" - next to her is Noel Jewkes who can play "Donna Lee"
on a one stringed Chinese violin OR on the saw, as well as any horn ever
made, plus some we made - next to him is Jerry Granelli who i worked
with for over 15 years - we also performed w/out the lights as "Sound" -
downstairs are Bill Ham and Bob Fine who were "Light" of Light Sound

- and i am eternally grateful for Wes's "open mind". 

- here we are . . .

fred marshall