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Dr. Randy Weston, by T.K. Blue


Two great musical friends meeting for the last time in this realm, in August of this year.


    On Saturday Sept 1, 2018 we lost a true musical giant, innovator, NEA Jazz Master, and a warrior for the elevation of African-American pride and culture. His compositions disseminating the richness and beauty of the African aesthetic are unparalleled. Randy was born during the era of extreme racism, segregation, and discrimination in the United States. His life's mission was one of unfolding the curtain that concealed the wonderful greatness and extraordinary accomplishments inherent on the African continent. 


     I am blessed and honored to have been a member of his band for 38 years. Baba Randy was a spiritual father and mentor for myself, and so many people. Our last public performances were in Rome, Italy July 19th and Nice, France July 21st with Billy Harper on tenor sax Alex Blake bass Neil Clarke percussion and T.K. Blue alto sax and flute. 


     I will always remember his extreme kindness and generosity. My first four impressions of Dr. Weston reveled who he was and what he cherished:


   --Early 1970's Randy in performance at the East in Brooklyn with his son Azzedine on African percussion (a clear demonstration of   his love and mentorship for his children. I also remember Randy inviting the great James Spaulding to sit in on flute)


    ---Late 1970's I performed with South African legend pianist Abdullah Ibrahim at Ornette Coleman's Artist House Loft in Soho NYC. Randy attended this show with his father Frank Edward Weston and his manager Colette (his profound love, respect, and reverence for the elders and his admiration for other artists, especially from the continent of Africa)


----Late 1970's I had the first opportunity to perform with Randy at a fundraiser for SWAPO and to raise funds for support against Apartheid in South Africa (another demonstration of his commitment to struggle for civil and human rights world-wide)



 During the summer of 1980 I was overjoyed having my first hired performance with Randy and his African Rhythms group at the House Of The Lord Church in Brooklyn which again displayed his support and commitment to keep jazz alive in black community and his in-depth love for the African-American church) 


    Lastly when my mom Lois Marie Rhynie passed in 2014, there was a last minute issue with the church piano. Dr. Weston paid for the rental of a beautiful baby grand piano and performed gratis. 


    Randy Weston is the last pianistic link between Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk. His forays into improvisation are clearly a manifestation of the highest tier regarding a creative genius with astounding originality. His compositions are in the pantheon of renowned jazz standards. 


    Words are inadequate to express my love, admiration, appreciation, and gratitude for such an incredible human being. May his spirit rest in paradise for eternity. We will miss you Baba Randy!!!


    Sincerely, T.K. Blue





This beautiful text was written by T.K. Blue in the memory of his close friend and mentor Randy Weston. We are so grateful to T.K. Blue for sharing this with us and our visitors. Thank you, T.K., for putting this wonderful text for the giant, Dr. Weston, here.
Both Randy Weston and T.K. Blue are contributors to this site, something that we are needless to say extremely proud of.
Read Randy Weston's article HERE. Published in January of this year.

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How it first began...

   How do people first connect with music? Discover how. This is what a few of the contributors to this site said on this topic.

   When you read it you might realize that two of the most important people in this perspective could very well be our parents... And it may just be some food for thought to those out there who are parents to young children now, when music might have taken a back seat to other things that go on in their homes.







TK Blue:
 - There were several factors that influenced my early attraction to the saxophone. I used to listen to James Brown as a teenager and I love Maceo Parker on alto sax. I used to pretend that I was playing those sax solos with “The Godfather of Soul”.





Kris Bowers:
 - My parents got me started in music. They aren’t musicians, but they put me in lessons when I was 4 or 5. They let me try other things as well besides music.







Lige Curry:
 - When you are a kid you are trying to figure it out. I had relatives who thought that I should get into sports and others who thought I should be a doctor. But my auntie, one of my mother’s sisters, got me a toy guitar and she was right. I started playing with it like I did with the rest of my toys, but the guitar was more interesting.





Joey DeFrancesco:
 - It definitely meant a lot that I grew up in a musical family – it’s why I play music! It is also why I play the organ. I got the love for it at home. If I hadn’t been around it I wouldn’t have known about it.





Jennifer Johns:
 - My parents say that I was singing before I could speak. As a child I sang with my dad, who was my first voice-coach.





Steven Kroon:
 - At a very early age I became paralized by the music on the radio. My older brother Bobby started playing before me, and I chose to follow in his footsteps. He was a great inspiration to me and my first mentor.
When our parents discovered that we wanted to play musical instruments, they went and bought us our first drums, and were happy to let us practice in the basement.
I often tell people that music chose me. I felt like lightening struck me the first time I heard music coming out of the radio. From then on it was love at first sight.





David Murray:
 - Music was always in front if me.  My mother was a pianist and the director of music in a church, where she played the organ and piano, and directed the choir. My father played the guitar. I started taking piano lessons at five years old, for a local piano teacher. I started playing saxophone at nine. My brother played the clarinet by then.





Bria Skonberg:
 - My family were supporters of music, and there were musical instruments around the house. My brother played the fiddle. I picked up the trumpet in 7th grade, and then I joined the school band.

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--- Hangout with T.K. Blue! ---

Page in the listener-section at Musicians' Corner. If you are a listener check this and other posts in this section





  

Presenting Musicians' Corner's Artist Hangouts:


--- Hangout with T.K. Blue ---



   New York-based saxophonist and flautist T.K. Blue has a long and successful career as solo-artist, bandleader, composer and collaborator. Among the many many luminaries he has worked with you find Regina Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby McFerrin and Archie Shepp. He has released 10 solo albums to date, lived in Paris for 8 years, worked and toured extensively with Randy Weston, collaborated substantially with African artists and toured Africa, been a professor in music at LIU and given highly anticipated master cliniqs.


   Don't miss this opportunity to hang out with T.K. Blue in person, from the comfort of your own home or wherever you happen to be.

We will hang out with T.K. October 1st, and the time is 1PM EST, 6 PM BST, 7 PM CET. Check your local time if other.

There are only 5 (five!) seats available at this Artist Hangout, so make sure that one of them is booked for you!

Sign up now!









Date & Time: October 1st 1PM EST. 6 PM BST. 7 PM CET

Number of seats: 5

What you need to participate is a computer and a good internet connection.

Price per seat: $ 32  € 29  KR 270


What IS music?

 

 

 

 

 

   We are getting close to our first birthday here at Musicians’ Corner. This site, where musicians talk and write about music, opened at the turn of the month October-November last year. At that point the site was empty. But now… In less than a year 44 artists have contributed 47 articles in text, audio and film to the site, Musicians’ Corner has acquired a formidable artist-editor in one of our sections, and shortly we are about to give an award out. It has been an interesting year!

  So many things have been said about music, as an art form, a soundtrack to our lives, a life changer, a profession and career, as a reflection of us as people and a reflection of the times, and as an industry and a business, over this period of time. Many of our contributors have also addressed the same things, the changes in the business being one of the topics that many have spoken of, for example.

 


 

  Today though we recap what has been said on another topic.

What is music to us?

What IS music? In the first place?

 

Find out what 13 of our artist contributors express concerning what music is to them.

 

 



 

BRYAN BELLER: - Music, to me is a sound. To be sure, there is melody, and harmony, and rhythm, and tone, but in the end a collection of musicians will have a collective sound, or what some have called "one note."

 



 

TK BLUE: - Music is spiritual nourishment for the soul. It’s a sacred art that brings all people together, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, or ethnic background.

 




KRIS BOWERS: - Music is everything. It’s how we connect, both to each other and to our own emotions. Music reminds you of certain times and gives you a feeling instantly.

 



 

BEN CAPLAN: - Music to me is like water. It sustains me. I need to sip from it every so often or I feel faint. I need to bath in it to keep my soul clean. It flows over me. It does not flow out of me like a constant river, but if I drink enough of it, it comes back out. I sweat it out. I piss music. It often stinks, and I flush most of it away, but it's always a relief to get it out.

 



 

WILL CALHOUN: - Music is life. It is the things you experience. Life, love, stress, magic moments, moments that go down the drain. It’s no different than life.  I hear music when I’m not playing. I feel life when I play.  Music and spirituality came together in my life. Perhaps I wasn’t aware of the music at first.

 



 

LIGE CURRY: - Music is everything to me. My priorities are my health and my family, but music is my anchor. It keeps me rolling. It’s also a love/hate-thing. The love is the notes, the style, the art. The hate stems from the business side. It’s about how much you are worth.

 




TERENCE HIGGINS: - Music is everything to me. It consumes a lot of my time, I need it like I need air. There is not a day that goes by when I’m not involved in music one way or the other, be it as a working professional or as a listener. It’s life to me. And it has been like that every since I can remember.

 



 

DIDIER LOCKWOOD: - Music is a way of life. It's something I need to expand myself and meet people and cultures. It's my transportation.

 




MAKAYA McCRAVEN: - To me music embodies a wide range of areas. To me music is a social thing. It is a language, and I really believe in music as a language through events. It’s unspeakable emotion that we have a hard time describing in words. That is especially true for instrumental music. We can play music together across language barriers. Music is played at weddings, funerals, celebrations, parties -- to express what we can’t say through words.



 

OZ NOY: - Music is like air really. A lot of us would be dead without it. Our soul will die! It sounds a bit dramatic but it’s true.



 

CHRIS SIMMONS: - Music is a necessary part of life to me, like air and water.  I love to hear it and I love to create it and perform it.

 




MIKE STERN: - On a very serious side music is food for the soul. I don't know what the hell I would do without it. There are times when I don't want to hear anything. At other times I hear music in everything, in the wind, in the traffic, in people talking. And I hear music in how people talk in different places, in India, Japan and throughout the world.


 

LAURA STEVENSON: - Music is the best way for me to communicate exactly how I feel.


 

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T.K. Blue on his nourishing journey



Music is spiritual nourishment for the soul. It’s a sacred art that brings all people together, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, or ethnic background.

There were several factors that influenced my early attraction to the saxophone. I used to listen to James Brown as a teenager and I love Maceo Parker on alto sax. I used to pretend that I was playing those sax solos with the “Godfather of Soul”.  Tenor sax man Billy Mitchell, who played with Count Basie, lived down the street from where I grew up. Once he saw my interest in jazz and the saxophone, he gave me lessons very early in my career. He was my teacher at the Henry Street Settlement on the lower eastside in NYC. Conrad Buckner, a famous tap dancer, inspired me as well. He also lived down the street from where I grew up in Lakeview, Long island. He loved jazz and played many albums for me. In fact, he played a recording, which featured Ray Charles on alto sax with Milt Jackson on piano. I never knew Ray played alto sax. John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders were huge influences. There is a fantastic organization in Harlem called Jazzmobile. They have a Saturday jazz program for young musicians. I was quite fortunate to study with Jimmy Owens, Frank Foster, Ernie Wilkins, Chris Woods, and Jimmy Heath.

New York means a lot to me. Many great musicians come to NYC to live and perform. It’s a cultural center and a magnet. It gives me motivation and keeps me humble, as there are so many excellent musicians who play on a very high level. It motivates me to practice, practice, and practice!!!!!

In my studies I doubled in psychology and that probably means something to my musicianship on an esoteric level. I have thought about combining the two, of healing people with music instead of chemical drugs. Music therapy is a very viable avenue that I hope to explore one day.

I lived in Paris for some years and it was a fantastic experience. It allowed me to play with people from many countries and experience many different musical styles. The lines demarcating different styles of music can be less rigid in Paris than New York. I find Europe a little easier to cross musical boundaries without being pigeonholed into one particular style.

I teach a lot, and what I look for in students are discipline and consistency. I look for seriousness, perseverance, and a strong work ethic. There are a lot of distractions in life and a student must be disciplined to keep their practice regiment intact.

When recording a new project, I try to keep things as natural as possible in the studio. Eye contact is essential as well as a relaxed atmosphere. It’s really all about love and communication. When musicians love and respect each other, great beauty is created!!!

 

T.K. Blue

 

The latest album A Warm Embrace (2014)

 

 


TK Blue is a saxophonist and flutist from New York. His many collaborations include work with Don Cherry, Abdullah Ibrahim, Randy Weston, Benny Powell, Jayne Cortez, Jimmy Scott and Randy Brecker. Blue has released nine solo albums and devoted himself extensively to teaching. He is currently full-time professor and director of jazz studies at Long Island University. Find out more HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

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