FB: Well, hello there. Welcome to the fifth season of the Berklee Oral History Project.
Today is 23 September, it is John Coltrane's birthday, it's John's birthday and we are
talking to a saxophonist of first rank who happens to be a member of the Berklee
administration, who's had a very interesting career between New Engand
Conservatory, Berklee College of Music and Tufts. Allan Chase, welcome to the band
AC: Thanks a lot.
FB: Nice to have you here.
AC: It's a pleasure to be here.
FB: We have a lot of material we could cover and before we get into your various
roles as a performer and band leader and faculty and administrator, perhaps you
could fill us in a little bit of your early musical childhood in Phoenix.
AC: I was born in Connecticut and I grew up in Phoenix from the age of about five.
My parents were jazz fans. I didn't realize how lucky I was in this field until looking
back on it I realized that very few people my age grew up in a household with
tonnes of jazz records. I mean, my parents went to see Monk and Mingus and Miles
Davis and all sorts of things. They were big hard-bop fans. My father's best friend
was a semi-professional pianist and singer, good singer and pianist who loved
Horace Silver and sang in kind of a Chet Baker-ish style, did gigs, he was an English
teacher, highschool English teacher. We knew him in Connecticut and then in
Arizona. I grew up hearing standards, records of Chris Conner and Sarah Vaughn
and Ella Fitzgerald. And also lots of Miles Davis records and Art Blakey records in
the house and stuff like that. And when I was nine they came around with the school
band pitch, "Do you want to play an instrument?" I eventually settled on the
saxophone with my parent's encouragement 'cause they didn't like viola or french
horn, which were a couple of my early thoughts -- I don't where I came up with
those, just randomly I think. They said, "Saxophone, that sounds doable." They didn't
really expect me to take it seriously but it was a nice addition to the school day and I
got into it and I was pretty good at it. By fifth grade I was doing well even compared
to some of the older kids. And so I was pretty into it. And I wanted to quit around
seventh grade but then I saw a famous TV show series, Jazz Casual, I think it was.
While I was visiting my grandparents in New York I saw the Charles Lloyd Quartet
and suddenly the saxophone took on a completely different meaning to me. Instead
of this being a nerdy thing to do at school, I saw it as a creative and hippy-ish thing
to do that was cool. I mean there's Charles Lloyd with his afro, his beads, his
sunglasses dancing with his tenor. And Keith Jarrett was in it and Ron McClure, who
I ended up playing with a little bit years later, Jack DeJohnette, who I played one
tune with in my life and never thought I'd meet any of these people. But just the
thought of saxophone being a cool thing. I went out and bought Charles Lloyd
records immediately. My parents took me to see Miles with Gary Bartz and Keith
Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette. And I thought, "Wow, there aren't very many jazz
musicians, I keep seeing these same guys. Like I have my Charles Lloyd records and
there's Keith and Jack again with Miles, this was 1971, I was fifteen. So I started to
get into the music, highschool jazz band, played my first solos, got more serious
about it, went to some summer jazz camp things in Mesa, Arizona that were very
good - a lot of LA (Kenton) veterans on the faculty: Pete Jolly, Lanny Morgan - good
bebop alto player, was a teacher there, Buddy Childers, lead trumpet player from the
Kenton Band. So I got to meet -- Art Pepper did a clinic, I didn't get to meet him, but I
was in the audience with twenty or thirty kids listening to him talk, he was right out
FB: More glamour.
AC: Yeah, he was borrowing a horn from the music store which he pawned after the
clinic and got on a bus and they had to track him down. I learned that later on. But I
had some exposure to some pretty hip musicians. My father took me to a club when
I was a teenager where it was okay to go. I went to a couple of clubs and heard local
musicians when I was sixteen or so. Then I started studying with a a guy who's not
really known as a recording artist, but he was excellent, Frank Smith, not the one
who is in some books, not the avant-garde Frank Smith. This guy played with (Ierto
en flora) and toured all over the US in the seventies, the early seventies.
FB: They were very hot for a while.
AC: So yeah, he wasn't on their records, they always used Joe Farrell and Wayne
Shorter and people like that on their records, but he played the gig. He came back to
Phoenix and was my teacher for a couple of years. He was my first real
improvisation teacher. Then I went to college and I was a music theory and
composition major and Dan Hurley, who's famously just retired recently from North
Texas, was our jazz teacher for a couple of years at Arizona State, studied with him.
And I was playing gigs from about the age of 18 to 19 with older musicians in
Phoenix. That was how I got into it, school bands into the nearby state university. I
wanted to compose, teach theory, play jazz and that's kind of what I've -- teaching
theory and playing jazz is something like what I've done ever since.
FB: Stylistically you moved from bebop to doing some avant-garde things as well,
how did that transition come about?
AC: It is interesting. I think that goes back to partly the time I grew up in and what I
was interested in and I would say that you could trace that back to around high
school, because I was listening to late Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, I kind of
stumbled on it and even the Art Ensemble at Chicago and Julius Hemphill's releases
from that time in the seventies, The Hard Blues and The Dogon AD were a big
influence on me. And I loved the stuff. Most of my college jazz band friends were not
so into it, they were more into Keith Jarrett's American and European bands, Pat
Metheney came out with out while I was in college with his first record and that was
a big sensation. Dave Liebman was very influential, like Dave Liebman and Steve
Grossman that way of playing saxophone, the post-Coltrane thing. But I was always
interested in that and earlier stuff and newer more avant-garde and radical stuff. I
listened to it. I wanted to play it. I found a handful of people to play it with. I didn't
really start playing anything that you would call free or avant-garde until around
'78, the last couple of years I was in Arizona. I had a duo with Lewis Nash, who
everybody would think of as -- we were very similar, we were from opposite sides of
town and met in college. We played in a duo for about a year and a half. Like me he
was very interested in history. He would study Baby Dodds documentary recording
and then turn around listen to Andrew Cyrille, he took lessons with Andrew Cyrille.
He was really into and listened to Rush (he'd ali)--
FB: --and a damn good composer as I remember.
AC: Lewis was--now he's probably known as the, he and Kenny Washington, the best
straight ahead, traditional drummers of around fifty years old or younger. He is
probably getting close to that. I think he might have just turned fifty. He was wide
open and into all sorts of things and he is. He's known for that professionally. We
played a range of things, we did cover versions of the Sonny Rollins and Philly Jo
Jones, starting with the fringe on top and then we would do a late-Coltrane thing and
we did some Roscoe Mitchell and Andrew Cyrille pieces. I had been to the Creative
Music Studio in Woodstock, New York.
FB: Karl Berger?
AC: Karl Berger ran the school in the summers. It was a year-round thing, but I went
two summers, '78 and '79. There I studied with Roscoe Mitchell, Braxton, took one
private lesson with Julius Hemphill which lasted most of the day. Jimmy Giuffre
came once a week. Jerome Cooper from the Revolutionary Ensemble, I spent a week
with him. Jack DeJohnette was there. Leo Smith, George Lewis. So I got to spend like
a week, many hours a day with each of those people, and with Roscoe Mitchell it was
about six weeks.
FB: A tremendously broadening experience which could only inform your classroom
technique and appreciation for whatever kind of kid you run into.
AC: It was very mind-opening. And being from Arizona, I honestly didn't expect to
ever meet anybody like that in my life until very close to when it was actually
happening, or to ever make a record. I just thought it would be cool to be a music
teacher and have some gigs, some local gigs just playing jazz. That would be a great
balance of life. I could be not a jazz musician who doesn't know where my next meal
is coming from and yet not so academic that I don't have any creative outlet. I sort of
envisioned that when I was about seventeen.
FB: And you made it happen.
AC: I guess I have.
FB: No question.
AC: I am not a household name as a player player by any means, but I've been
successful in terms of finding great teaching opportunities and I've gotten to play a
lot of music with a lot of great people.
FB: Beyond having that goal, did you have any sort of compelling presets you
wanted to teach or what you wanted to do pedagogically at that point? Had you
begun to do any teaching yet?
AC: I do remember when I was deciding what to major in in college and I was
gravitating more and more towards music. Looking through a college catalog and
looking at the music theory and composition faculty and realizing, "That's a full-time
job. And they have the summers off, supposedly. They can be creative and have
some kind of job security." My father was always saying, "Do music as a hobby.
Go get a business degree." They were encouraging but not confident in the
sustainablity of a music lifestyle, which they were right about. It's very hard to make
your whole life out of performance. Almost everyone who can teach teaches because
they love it and because it helps them survive. I didn't know what I wanted to teach I
just liked music theory. I was good at math in school and I didn't want to be a math
major or a math professor, but I liked the systematic, logical, organised and
FB: --the form of structures.
AC: I was very interested in it. And I interested in everything. We studied some
Renaissance music and Medival music up to, I was interested in Stockhausen and
(zinakas) and very avant-garde stuff. I met John Cage when I was a student for a
short conversation. I was into everything in a way. I was interested in
ethnomusicology and world music and I thought it would be fun to turn students on
to the wonders of music.
FB: I couldn't agree more.
FB: so um.. lets .... lets ..track your move from Arizona to New York.-
AC: Yeah .. um... well it was from Arizona, to Boston- then New York, and then back
to Boston.- so I applied to a bunch of Graduate schools, I briefly went to Philidelphia,
for University of Pennsylvania, I did not like it - left, went back to Arizona, - did the
duo thing with Louis, I realized the pen - was .. . I was gonna be a musicolgy major.-
Doctoral,- Masters and Doctoral Ivy league program, - they had a silent music, -
building, there was no music in the music building,- it was very strange. -
AC: I don't wanna be too harsh here, but I didn't do the homework, - I didn't
understand what and Ivy league school's musicology really was,- what a
bibliography course was,- you know .. what the course load ,- it just wasn't a good fit
for me, and I didn't wanna go that direction- I would have been happier, probably if
I'd gone into an ethno musicology program at UCLA- but I didn't know about it..- I
was sort of fuddled by my professors into this direction cause I was good at the
academics and basically they said.. Oh go get a PHD at a top school- so I applied to
princton, and the University of Chicago, and I got into to Penn with a full ride, and I
thought I would enjoy that, but I left after a month, - um... I hated it .- and a h.. so I
looked for a Jazz Program, to get a masters in Jazz, and I applied to NEC and
Eastman, Miami, and I ended up at NEC, for a year,- and ah .. so that's when I moved
to Boston- summer of 1980, um... couple of friends from Arizona moved around the
same time.- Victor Mendoza, who teaches vibraphone here
AC: I knew him in Pheonix.-He had gone to college in Flagstaf Arizona, - A very good
Mallet Player, -taught there- and ah .. Tim Ray, came shortly after,
AC: he was like a child prodigy and was playing jazz gigs when he was like in High
School, -younger than me, -but came here within a year or so.- so I knew some
people here- a few others, and ah..but it was really the opposite corner of the
country, if my family wasn't from New York and New England, I might have felt
stranger about it, - very few people I knew from there came this far, most of them
went to L.A. and San Francisco, Portland Oregon, ah .very few Arizonans went to the
East Coast, - but Lewis Nash of course, moved to New York with Betty Carter, about
a year after I left Arizona, he came to New York so I would keep in touch with him,
um.. that was .. you know .. it was great to know somebody who was really on the
steep curve of the Jazz Career, he was the one person I grew up with that was really
making it in the Jazz World, you know.- in a way- so I got to be on the sidelines of
that a lot and see that world. of a top young New York drummer.-you know
AC: getting those opportunities, I think he was as startled by it as I was, -it was just a
phone call, - from Betty Carter, - send me a tape, - okay, I like the tape, come to New
York, what kind of suits do you have?- Let's get to work...
FB: yeah-she was always cutting edge, and she taught the bands a lot of music-
AC: yeah she was a super,ah strict and intense band leader and teacher, - and ah ..
great band,- it was just a fantastic, band with Curtis Lundey, and Lewis Nash for
years, -he with her for quite a while, so that was part of my Jazz education,-
somewhat vicariously, -but I saw them a lot, so I went to NEC for a year, I - was not
into borrowing money to college, -I was from a family where nobody did that, - we
went to state universities, and G.I. bill, and I decided I couldn't keep paying bills for
that kind of tuition, and there were,-Scholarships were not being offered, anything
like a sufficient amount, and I didn't have the money ... and I didn't even,- I didn't
even think about borrowing, -I shouldn't say this ... to you..- actually it was
somewhat foolish, in a way,- I was penny wise and pound foolish. -you know- I
shouldn've gotten the master's degree, and gotten it done, I postponed it for a long
time, -but you know one of my professors, at ah .- NEC Pat Holenbeck, who arranges
for the Boston Pops, is now president of the Boston Musicians union, brother of,
older brother of John Holenbeck, the Jazz Composer, and drummer,
AC: Pat is a percussionist, and a great arranger and orchestrator, I studied arranging
with him, and I was in his big band at NEC, and ah,he said, you could teach this stuff,
you know- I had a composition degree, I was um.. I was way ahead of some of the
students- not all of them, in orcestration, and arranging and knowledge of harmony,
-I wasn't -there were plenty of players who were ....you know, definitely keeping me
on my toes at NEC, but as a theory oriented writer, I knew a lot of stuff,- and he said
well you know know, this.- like a sax solo, you can, write a chart,- you should teach
this at Berklee, and I said, oh noI'm 25 years old, - I could..never.. they wouldn't hire
me, -0he said I'll reccomend you, so I said, -I applied, got interviews with Alex
Gilinovsky, and Ted Pease, who became my mentor, so when I hired, and how to
teach, and understand the Berklee System- and I was one of the last people hired in
1981, - I mean I got the job in August, I knew I was being considered maybe, in July
but it was dependant on enrollement, 15th or something , that I knew that I was
gonna be a college teacher, with 23 hours, a week of classroom, lecture, contact
teaching, -for 8$ an hour, ah, which was more than I was making in my day job at the
time, at BU, I was working in an office, running a little magazine, - it was a
secratarial job sort of, -and ah, playing gigs, so that's how I ended up here.
FB: Why don't you talk a little bit about the was Alex Ulanowski and Ted Pease
indocrinated you into the Berklee mindset or way of teaching.
AC: I was hired with a great group of people, we really bonded and spent a lot of
time together and it was very intense - learning to teach here. Only a couple of us
were not Berklee alumni: me and Bruce Thomas, who still teaches piano here; Dave
Weigert was one other, he's a percussion teacher and ensemble and he was one of
the group; Jeff Stout's brother-in-law, Jeff Putterman, guitarist, was one of them and
there were several others who taught here for a while and then left. I think there
might have been somewhere around eight of us teaching core, classroom subjects
for the first time that year. And we met four or five days a year for lunch with these
very bad palony sandwiches and drinks, and were instructed for one hour a day in
how to teach this stuff and then practiced teaching it to one another with feedback
from either Alex Ulanowski or Ted Pease. And they were consumate, like the
ultimate conveyors of this information. We had a good group of people. We all
caught onto it quickly and about five or six of the eight of us had studied it at Berklee
and were A students, and that's why they were teaching there. But a couple of us
were new to it, me and Bruce. They laid it out so clearly, Alex was very logical. It
didn't seem arbitrary. I came out of it very convinced that the Berklee harmony,
chord scale, brackets and arrows, parentheses kind of analysis system was musically
useful, it was really powerful at explaining how things worked, was worth teaching
and learning, there was nothing arbitrary--the symbols are arbitrary in a way, but
they were really useful. And he was able to demonstrate everything on the piano,
talking about Alex right now first. I think we had Alex as a teacher more than Ted,
but Ted was there also. I am trying to remember exactly what their titles were then,
these things change, but I think Ted was like the division person. He was Alex's boss
and Alex was the harmony chairman, that's how I remember it. Alex certain had
authored most of the harmony books that we were using. But we were also teaching
ear training. I had to learn movable do solfege for the first time in my life. I studied a
lot of ear training but not with that system. So I was standing on the corner right out
here on Mass. Ave., between my hectic schedule of classes, singing, 'Do-Mi-Re-Fa-Mi-
Sol,' trying to get the syllables right for all the leaps and not get confused in front of
my students. I kept ahead of them. The good thing was we started by teaching level
one of everything. So I was teaching, I don't remember exactly, but three harmony 1
classes, two arranging 1 classes, and a course called 'listening and analysis.' We
were just emersed in trying to learn this stuff and be ready to teach it ahead of the
students. They system then was all transparencies, all over head projectors and
students had workbooks that had all the musical examples but no words, and what
you did was write the words, then you had some leeway to do it in your own words,
very neatly with a certain kind of marker, erasable marker, on the plastic, using
colors and stuff. And then the students would literally copy the stuff down, which
took a lot of class time, this is how everything was taught at Berklee. There was an
educational reason for this and an economic reason for this. The educational reason
was the idea that the students would internalise it and get it from the teacher
gradually, if they did it this way rather than just buying the book and cramming.
They actually had to think about each thing, write it down, take it off of the board
and then this would seep into their minds in a better way, more effectively if you did
that. I am not sure if that is true or not, but we did it for at least five years, and it had
been going on before I was here. The economic side was that Berklee was afraid.
This was really clearly stated by some people, the upper administration. They were
very worried about other people stealing the innovative curriculum. It was a
copyright issue. Photocopy machines were a kind of a new thing, having xeroxes
that weren't wet and didn't fade in two weeks. There were these rumours, that were
probably true, there is a guy in Germany selling all the workbooks. He's copied
everything perfectly, it's all correct and he's selling them. And so people aren't going
to come to Berklee from Germany 'cause they can get all the information. The part
that bothered me was that it devalued the teacher. It was as if all we were really
selling was this information, rather than our ability to teach the information through
creative interaction with the students, and homework and critiquing.
FB: It was a proprietary hoarding in a mentality. And that held true also with
recordings. They wouldn't record stuff. There wasn't a Berklee Press yet.
AC: Right, so it was a maturing process about realizing that the information market
place is not the only thing that we have to offer here. It wasn't just the secret
FB: As to the content, Allan, coming from down the street here, the other side of
Symphony Hall, could be a million miles away conceptually. When you were exposed
to this material did it strike a chord or did it contradict anything that you'd learned
at the conservatory?
AC: That is a great question. I didn't really talk about the content at the
Conservatory. When I was at the Conservatory I did a weird mixture of things
because I was kind of not sure that I was going to complete the degree. I took an
improvisation class Jacki Byard, I took private lessons with Joe Allard on saxophone,
who is an amazing force on sound of the saxophone. I didn't mentioned something I
told you elsewhere which was that I chose NEC for a few reasons: one was I'd met
people at Creative Music Studio who had recommended it, Janet Grice, the
bassoonist, was one of them. She introduced me to Jaime Baum and Jim Hartog,
baritone sax player and Jaime is a fine jazz flute player and composer. She just
placed second in the DownBeat critics' poll. I was in whatever the other catagory is. I
thought was really nice, the flute. They were the people who introduced me to the
faculty when I visited. And then Dave Liebman, I was going to go to San Francisco
and study with Dave Liebman, he was living in San Francisco around '78-'80. And he
wrote me a letter, which I still have, and said, "You should study with my teacher.
You're main issue is your sound. Go to Joe Allard. I don't know if I'm going to stay in
San Francisco. Don't come here to study with me 'cause I think I'm going to split. I
don't like San Francisco. It's not happening." Something like this. "Go study with Joe
Allard, he teaches at Julliard and NEC and lessons in (tee en eff) New Jersey and find
FB: You'll always get the straight dope from Dave.
AC: Yeah, ,Janey Grice said, "Well, Joe Allard, yeah. Come to NEC, study with Joe
Allard." And then I saw this picture, we're jumping back to when I was in Arizona,
picture in DownBeat '78 or '79, Jackie Bayard conducting the Apollo Stompers
which had a lot of student in it. And it was his NEC big band with some professionals
and some alumni. And I thought, "Jackie Bayard!" I knew his playing from Eric
Dolphy, Charles Mingus--
FB: Maynard Ferguson?
AC: I didn't know him from Maynard Ferguson although my father had Maynard
Ferguson records I think that he was on. Maybe some of his own records at that
point, I think I had one of his own records the thing (russuhn) where they played
Makin' Whoopie, I think that's them. So I knew that he was a really versitile player
who knew everything from Stride and Ellington to border on avant-garde, very
creative, funny. I thought, "This is the ultimate jazz teacher." I was being mentored
in Arizona by older musicians who were really pretty hip, although not well-known
at all, like from this one guy Prince Shell, who is a great arranger and pianist who
toured with Gene Ammons and Gene McDaniel's musical directory, toured the world
with them, so he was a R&B and jazz guy and studio arranger. He even played with
Aretha, he knew Bird, he'd played with Wardell Gray and all these kind of people. I
grew up playing with these older musicians, about thirty years older than me--
another guy, Charles Lewis, who Lewis played with a lot, pianist from Philiadelphia,
sort of Horace Silver style, who led a quintet. I thought, "Well, I'll go to Boston and
maybe Jackie Bayard will teach me like all these older guys of his generation that
taught me, he's even greater." I didn't end up having a lot of interaction with Jackie
Bayard at NEC, it was he last year and it was his last year, but Joe Allard really
changed my sound. George Russell, I played in his big band and I bought his book. I
didn't take his class, but I tried to learn the Lydian Chromatic concept from the book,
which is not good. You needed the class. But I was interested. I took some classical,
new music analysis course and arranging with Pat Hollenbeck.
FB: Any contact with Jimmy Giuffre?
AC: I didn't. Jimmy Giuffre was a somewhat neglected person at NEC. I liked to his
music and had listened to him since high school, and I bought one of his records
when I was a junior or senior in high school called 'Music for People, Birds,
Butterflies and Mosquitos,' I think something like that. It got a five-star review in
DownBeat and I went down to the coolest record store in Phoenix, downtown and
found it, amazingly, Choice Records LP. The had one copy, I bought it. I remember I
bought that and The Cape Verdian Blues by Horace SIlver and the second Weather
FB: I didn't write the Giuffre review, I wish I had.
AC: And I am not sure who wrote it, I'd like to look it up. It must have been '73 or '74
or '72 even. I don't know. I brought it home and my dad said, "Jimmy Giuffre! We've
heard him. We like him. He's great. We like the same music." I would get a Coltrane
album and I'd realize that my father had Giant Steps. My father even had the record
with Coltrane and Cecil Taylor, the one with double clutching and shifting down
these different car (titles son). Kenny Dorham. So I had heard this stuff growing up.
So when I get to Boston I think that Jimmy Giuffre is this chamber jazz guy, he's kind
of weird, he's cool. On the back of that album they are wearing these matching vests,
which I thought was a little strange. It's true, he was like a modernist, but he was
kind of in his own world. At the Conservatory, people didn't appreciate him as much
as they would have later on. It was around time he put that trio back together with
Paul Bley and Steve Swallow and they were touring everybody realized, "This guy is
one of the greatest geniuses of this music." And then he had to retire because of the
Parkinson's disease. I was actually hired--my teaching job at NEC started as a last
minute replacement for his ensemble and private lessons. So I ended up in a strange
way, not replacing the great Jimmy Giuffre, but getting a job because he retired.
That's later. So I didn't have much interaction with him, but what I would say about
NEC--your question was about that related to Berklee's curriculum. Berklee had a
systematic curriculum. It was organized. The arranging program agreed with the
harmony program almost entirely. The ear training fit in, movable-do solfege, fits
right in with roman numeral analysis and scale degrees and thinking in a key all the
time. The three areas are totally locked together and somebody had thought it
through and it worked, Alex and Ted, for example. I think there were other people
involved, Michael Rendish. One of the weird things about Berklee is Berklee has not
taken--this Oral History project is great--Berklee did not preserve its history
carefully. I was asking, "Who invented this?" And I never got a complete answer.
FB: Maybe LaPorta was involved.
AC: He might have been involved, although he was always kind of a slightly on the
outside of this core, he didn't go to Berklee, he joined a little later.
FB: Maybe Pomeroy.
AC: Herb Pomeroy must have been involved. I never really got to talk about it. I
played with him a little bit.
FB: Paul Schmeling possibly.
AC: Paul Schmeling would be another person. I am not sure I know all of the story
and I hope that's coming together as I check out the other Oral Histories.
FB: There's a lot of them and they don't inter-relate. We haven't indexed them yet.
AC: Well, I think it's important. I am starting to realize I'm not the young guy. I have
these fairly long memories, almost thirty years now. But it was a system. NEC had a
bunch of creative, iconoclastic people with completely incompatible personal
systems. I mean on some level all music systems have things in common. George
Russell's system is a self-contained universe, it's very open-ended--maybe 'self-
contained' is not a good word, it's an open-ended--he has his own terminology for
FB: It's in its own galaxy.
AC: Yeah, he made sense out of music and he created a theory that allows for
spectrum of individual choice and creativity, but a way of thinking about it. He
renamed things. Other people called it this and he doesn't call it that. His whole
thing of moving to lydian as the home rather than major as a reference point, and
dealing with certain ideas about the overtone series, trying to look to nature. It is a
logical and complete and almost an infinite theory of its own, but it's also the
product of a self-educated person who didn't go through the academy and who
didn't study Schenkerian analysis and traditional theory.
FB: He's the wizard and he has the key, the golden globe that unlocks it all.
AC: You needed to get it from him. He was protective of information too, very much
so. His books are not a complete self-teaching guide to the lydian chromatic concept.
You need a lot of help to understand what's in the book and turn into musical--
FB: Mark Rossi has intimated that to me.
AC: --even the second edition, which is a little more digestable. There are authorized
teachers and unauthorized teachers of that material. And since he recently passed
away, it will be interesting to see what happens with that information. I hope it's
made permanently accessIble to future generations. So there is George, there is Joe
Maneri, with his microtonal system, which was a little underground within the
Conservatory, very influential later on people like Chris Speed and certain
generation that came along in the later (areas).
FB: That carried it along?
AC: Yeah. There were a lot of people coming out of jazz traditions and straight-ahead
creative--they didn't really have a system. I don't think Jackie had a system. In my
one lesson with Jackie, I spent about an hour an a half playing tunes with him out of
the fake book. He would just turn the pages. Towards the end we played Giant Steps.
This was all duo, I wish to God that I'd had a tape recorder to hear myself playing
with Jackie Bayard. I was trying to change my sound and open up my sound,
working with Joe Allard, I wasn't sounding timbrally what I really wanted to be, but
I could play. My level at that point was I was a good graduate student. I could play all
these tunes, I could sound competent, I could play jazz. It wasn't embarrassing, I
wasn't getting lost or falling apart or playing wrong notes. But I felt, "I've a long way
to go to be on the level of my heroes." And I thought he would help me with that.
And he said, "Well, you can play. What do you want?" I said, "I want to take lessons
on more advanced things and I want to explore dissonance, more harmonically
complicated things." There definitely were things that I didn't know about, choices
about how to alter certain different dominant chords and different styles of jazz and
things like that that he totally knew. He was a great arranger too. He said, "Just use
your ears. Be creative. You've got it, man. Just play. You just need to go out and play,
use your ears and be creative."
FB: He hadn't systematized his own genius.
AC: No! My interpretation was he was more comfortable teaching people to get up to
the advanced/intermediate level I was at, then to deal with the artistic problems of
beyond that of being a really great player harmonically. And also that he was on his
way out of the Conservatory. He was a little disgruntled. He'd been having some
trouble. His big band he directed was given to somebody else. He wasn't that
enthusiastic about buliding new relationships with new students. So he wasn't
systematic. I don't think Jimmy Giuffre was systematic. The students who studied
with him told me he did a lot of counterpoint exercises. He felt people should learn
traditional counterpoint. He had studied classical counterpoint as an adult after
writing Four Brothers. A lot of people of his generation felt like the key to being a
hipper, better jazz musician and composer was to study counterpoint and study
with a classical composer. Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy, all those kind of west coast
arrangers. I think many of them studied with Schoenberg. I can't remember which
ones, but a lot of the people (Runford Kenton) and a lot of the west coast (Manny
Allbum) and the people like that. They would study with a classical composer, Dave
Brubeck with (Eeyo). That was what you did. I had been studing classical theory. I
had a degree in it. I was a theory and comp. major at Arizona State with good
teachers not superstars but excellent. So I had a pretty good background in that stuff
and I kind of wanted the jazz information. In a way, I got what I wanted, I got things I
didn't think that I needed from teaching at Berklee. I learned, like that stuff about--
this is getting into technical stuff, it is of interest more to the musicians who play
this music--but in styles from Ellington and the swing era into bebop and Dizzy
Gillespie and Monk, more modern very rich, harmonic music like Herbie Hancock--
through Bill Evans and up and into Herbie Hancock and Andrew Hill. There is a lot of
tiny, little variables about what kinds of thirteenths and ninths you use and where
they lead and how to voice-lead them and what kind of scales they imply and how to
use cromaticism to approach things. That stuff was a little incomplete in my
knowledge. I would know what that was, but I wouldn't know how to use it in
different styles and I wasn't hearing all the detail of it. I learned that from teaching
at Berklee. By spending those--at one point I had twenty-five hours a week of
classroom teaching, thirty hours was full-time. I did twenty-five hours. What was
unusual about me is that I did almost no ensembles. I was in the classroom teaching
all day, everyday. And my piano playing got better and I was demonstating things,
and while I was demonstrating I'd go like, "Oh yeah, flat thirteen wants to go to nine
of this. Oh yeah." I'm learning hip things as I go. And I am bringing in tunes as
examples and I am playing the examples and I'm going like, "My voicings are getting
better." Through teaching the more advanced arranging stuff my voicings got better
on the piano and I started to get to where now I can play modern jazz voicings on
any tune on the piano well with interesting choices of voice-leading and I can hear
those when I am improvising on saxophone. I learned that from teaching at Berklee
not from going to school at NEC.
FB: so possibly you're experience the transition, from New England Conservatory to Berklee, -that you experienced, was emblematic of some of the major differences between the schools, the ah .. focused individual brilliance, of the faculty there, and over here more of a marketable commodity,-a systemitized, cohesive, body of knowledge, which you could tap into, but you learn from it, and helped develop it, -
AC: yeah I mean you could trace it back, I think this is not a stretch at all. To... The Schillinger system, as I understand it, which was the root, of what I was doing at Berklee, and I think
FB: mm hmmm
AC: but what Alex and Ted created is not the schillinger system, but there is some kind of growth out that into the Berklee Harmony and arranging system, -part of the idea of that was that there are principals, almost mathematical principals, of music, with western tuning system and everything with the 12 equal principals, of music, with the Western tuning system, and the 12 equal notes, that can be explained and that work, -and that are logical, -and they apply to many styles of music, - the approach at NEC, was - and so if you go back to Schillinger, and probably Larry Berk, and the students and teachers through the 50's and into the 60's and Seventies, when I got here, I think you trace it to that, - at NEC the Jazz department was put together by Geor.....Gunther Schuller, in 1968-9 he was hiring people, he was working for rebels, neglected geniuses, iconoclastic, brilliant, under recognized people, he either was a High School graduate, or high school drop out-I'm not sure, he did not have an accademic background, -he was an incredibly brilliant, self taught background and learned, on the Job and through interaction with people, you know but - Gunther was like one of the best French Horn players in the world when he was 17 and he was playing with Orchestras in Ohio, and then the Met Opera in New York, and people were blown away by him, and then he started arranging and hanging out with Jazz musicians, and composing, his father was a classical Violinist, and he was not .. he did not have a doctorate, - or anything like that, you know, I don't know that he ever went to college,
AC: I'm not sure
FB: and he wasn't looking for people who fit that mold, -
AC: no he hired...
FB: looking for individualists....
AC: he hired people who never went to college to teach music theory, - Joe Penary, you know- George Russell
FB: Rand Blake?
AC: ah ..Rand Blake... had it was ..had a ..great education at Bard college but not as a traditional music educator. -he was sort of an outsider in music at the Bard college.- yeah I mean Rand Blake is a perfect example, I mean he hired, brilliant person, who has real deep educational ideas, and he's a great musician, but he's like a style unto himself, he's not part of anything, he's very unique, very independant, -he's very connected to Jazz History, but he is unlike any other person,
FB: yeah he's like Alice Springs, or El Capitan, he's.... hahah
AC: yeah .. he's like his own Mountain you know, or .. or , Area or something.. and he was known to other Jazz Musicians,- but he was never very defineable, -he was loved by critics, and still is, but you know, but not defineable as a member of a school, - you can't kind of lump him together with Blue Note, or Miles Davis alumni, or you know he's more of a solo, and duo player, and a band player, and he
FB: he so recognizable,
AC: yeah .. he was a .. there was like a scandal, of positive, no not a scandal, but exciting development, where he played at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival, with Gene Lee, and competing against all these college RaRa big bands, and they won, the critics, -you know the panel, which was probably, I don't remember exactly, I think maybe, george Russell, and Gunther were involved, maybe John Lewis, I'm not sure who was,-I'd have to research this, somebody should, find out if I'm - I might be totally wrong don't base anything on me, but .. something like that, - The judges were like that's interesting, and this other stuff, we've heard it before, - These peole are different, and good, - and they .. that's how they got to make their first RCA record,- The Newest Sound around, and Rand was .. you know builiding connections and living in New York, and it was really, struggling, -I mean he was not a Household name, he made a VSP record, he had another record, the blue potato, but he didn't - he was respected but I wouldn't say he was having a giant career, - but he had gigs, and then Gunther's like -dude come be part of this team, you know what I mean? - I mean he would hire these very unique individuals, -It would be like hiring a composition department ,and hiriing... I think We'll have Charles IVes, and Brusoni, and Messien, and you know...
AC: you know they're not gonna agree on a system, it wwas just like that
FB: but you're gonna get some explosive results...
AC: I mean .. I never thought of that before, but that's -yeah ..you get amazing results, but perhaps not agree with eachother, -some one or two of them might say things, that are not so positive about the others, although most of the people at NEC, -George and Rand,very respectful of each other, and Jackie, it was
FB: mmm hmm
AC: it was a lot of positive stuff, -there wasn't a lot of negative back biting, just a little couple of people I haven't mentioned, but - um.. but there .. they're not teaching the same thing ,it doesnt' fit together in a system, which is both good and bad....
FB: that's right
AC: the student has to be really mature- I think it's great for graduate students, - you can go through there in an undergrad, and in those days, with gaping holes in your traditional knowledge,
AC: or you could be brilliant, and sythesizing things yourself, and figuring it out, and choose the right teachers, -
FB: yeaup- where as here it you're an undergraduate, you're gonna get a really solid shaping in broadly based,-useable, musical knowledge, that you could apply, to GBB bebop or rock-n'roll,
AC: that's true, Gospel, and Pop arranging, and movie scoring, and - you know, there's a vast amount of - you know, almost like 90% of the music from sort of film, Neo Classical, - to Rock N Roll, that is digestable, with the Berklee System, only danger of it, is that it can be -It's almost such a perfect system, that it has an edge on it, - you know? - like there are wrong notes, - George Russel's system has no wrong notes, it has a spectrum of wrongness that just goes out into space, and you are encouraged to explore dissonance, - you know where, the Berkee system, especially as it was taught in the 80's , - has these like avoid notes and black notes- like don't go there, -you know.- and that's to sound good and correct, -
FB: So like .... (inaudible)
AC: yeah .. it would be something like that, - it would be like- not very subtle pressure to not go there, - sort of like, - and it's to help people get to a level of competency in organizing music, but what it most .. the hip people, understand what that's for, and know how to go beyond it, but it can create a sense in the student of right and wrong.- rather than infiite possibility, - infinite possibilites are dangerous for undergraduates - I mean they might need a little right and wrong to get started, in music you know, and not that many people are ready for day one. - There are infinite possibilities, - you can do anything you want- there are no rules, - well how do I start writing a ...I've never writte a tune before, - what ..I just wanna make it ,-get to the end and sound like it's over you know.- - haha.. and you.. and so .. Berklee offers a lot more help that way. -
FB: mmm hmmm
AC: you almost can't function at NEC if you can't already play. -
AC: you know like the undergraduates now play - about.. you know many of them play as well as I did when I came as a graduate student, cause of the ... just propogation of jazz information,
FB: you know a raised bar ...
AC: there were no books..
FB: you know the 4 minute mile is now the 3:50 mile, -
AC: yes... so around the mid 80's I was .. I had ..We went through that groupd of new teachers that I mentioned before- we learned the system through ,ah.. a year of teaching level one and two, and then the next year started teaching 3 and 4 and sort of joined in with the other faculty on faculty meetings, - so we had that mentoring process, so after a couple of years, -I had taught all the core harmony-1-4, Ear Training, 1-3, I had taught many times, - and ah, a course called listening and Analysis, and ah.... which I will come back to in connection with John LaPorta, -at some point, - and ah ...Arranging, up through Chord Scale Voicings, for arranging, - like Arrangin 1-2, and Chord Scales, which got into voicing for up to about 6 horns and all the different Voicing Combinations, -those were things where I was learning, a lot of stuff, that hadn't been taught to me as an undergrad, and as a young musician in Pheonix Arizona,- and then I started teaching a few electives, and I got an Ensemble, - I did a Free Improvisation enesemble, - and it was listed as, large Avant Garde ensembles, for some reason that already was in the course listings, that was an existing course that had been latent-
FB: mm hmmm
AC: actually George Garzon, had a group called the Avant Garde ensemble, and mine was called Large Avante Garde ensemble, and ah .. It was .. usually about 8 or 9 students and we did ah .. the kinds of things that i had learned at the creative music studio, like rosco mitchel was a big influence on it, - sort of experimental improvisational structures, - so I was bringing some of my Avante Garde stuff, into Berklee, a little bit, if only there, -something I wanted to say about teaching the core subjects is. -That thing ... about .. that I mentioned about them, - students sometimes getting the idea that are definite right and wrongs, - in music
FB: mm hmm
AC: I made it part of my style, and I'm sure I wasn't the only one, - but I definitely, worked towards this, of reminding students that it was all contingent, on what they wanted to do as an artist, - so I would try to phrase things, and I ..I learned this from some of my teachers in school, and - I studied counterpoint with a composer, and he would say, these are the conventions of the style, -it isn't wrong to write, perfect pralell 5ths, it was distasteful to people in this period, because it sounded like ....old fashioned and .. .and that because they had an idea of independance of voices, and they sound like they're shadowing each other. -One is subserviant to the other, and there was an ideaology, and a taste associated with it .. so he would say.. like .. now .. you may have other reasons that you like that, and that is fine, but we're trying to pretend we're palestrina, that's why we're not .. we're looking at what his ideals were.
FB: this was at Arizona state-
AC: so would try to take that to the Jazz and Pop Harmony and say - a student would write a diminished chord that doesn't go anywhere, and isn't one of the seven or so functioning, recognized kinds of diminished chords, -and I would say- you know there's no right or wrong, in music, but in the style in which we're writing, this kind of Pop Gospel ballad,- this chord sounds strange, because no one uses it like that ,- in this style, and if you wanna use diminished chords in this style, here is a page with like all the different ones ,and sit at the piano and hear them, - this one is kind of lame, - you know it sounds
AC: you know for Pop Gospel music,- to my ear, - you know I would always make it about, -what am I .. - you know you might like it, maybe you've got some sound in mind, - maybe you didn't quite get the sound, you meant, -
FB: so you keep the door open
AC: you keep the door open, yeah.. I would say like, - you know you can do anything you want, - you can pile all 12 notes on top of each other, or you can ,spread them out, -or you know.. -
FB: There were no red alerts,
AC: yeah but .. but .. if you want .. you know, if you're trying to play a pretty Bossa Nova, this note is not ... don't make this a long note, - don't make it a loud note, - don't make it the last note of the song, because it really clashes with the chord.- However, there are styles, where, you want to clash with the chord, - and I think sometimes, different parts, of Berklee, started to not be in synch, because the improvising side would get into like, say outside playing, you know in the post-coltrane way, and the theory didn't really talk about that,- the main body of the theory, -didn't ever deal with that as a possibility, -
FB: does does,the stylistic, states follow, political directions..- I mean you know the great, black music ear...
AC: yeah you know I would say that, within Berklee, -It was more, if there were like little minor clashes, it would be between people who were more obsessive and systematic, and people who were more lucid...and improvisational...
FB: fair enough...
AC: you know ..I just think it was more like a personality type or , - what you want out of music, and when you're teaching, - like , 30 hours a week in a classroom, -you just want your students to learn the stuff, and do it right ,you know, sometimes it can be a little numbing, and now the situation, is so much , it allows for so much more individual reflection, and individual attention to students, and so on..
FB: I can think of a parallel in Liberal Arts, if I have students write a five paragraph, essay am.. you know it's gonna have ah .. some topic sentences, and development, and an intro and a conclusion, -what look for sometimes is for somebody with a dissenting voice who takes, an argument which others avoid, or who hammers home something which is a little bit, maybe a little thick headed, or unique- just to pique, interest, -
AC: yeah !~ right. and exactly,- and certainly you can be creative, within the traditional 5 paragraph essay, and its important if you're gonna master that, if you're gonna write,- you know. get control of your writing.-
FB: mm hmm..
AC: but on the other hand you don't wanna you know pound some student who is creative, and say you know.. you're no good you didnt do... you know.. you wanna somehow bridge the gap, and keep ....themm
FB: embrace it ..
AC: yeah .. keep them interested - so I've had some students who were very rebelious and have done well, and some that have who just didnt get it .. and you know all kinds .. - I mean really, really very .- I could do a whole interview on alumni you know? - think of the people that you meet teaching here it's unbeleivable, - and the ... they had it at NEC also.
AC: um.. but I won't go there right now..
AC: um... So I started to teach some more I taught almost all the Harmony electives by the time I left Berklee.
FB: Before you leave - ah... tell us something about the Large Avant Garde Ensemble.-George would take something like the fringe-just bass and drums..
AC: his approach was like the Fringe...
AC:Yeah, he would turn the lights out sometimes.
FB: Golani or Lockwood were students- okay.-
AC:I remember walking by his room, and the door was
FB: not a Lava Lamp in the corner, maybe?_ haha
AC:Intense-freaking out going on in there.-My thing was very composer oriented, and very Rosco Mitchell, influenced,- you know he was a real hero of mine, ah.. in terms of ..because he would explore extremes and focus on one thing, I mean he.. his pieces like.. there's a piece of his, it's not one of my favorites, but it's like .. a great example, he has two examples, which consist of things that can only be played on the soprano- on the curve soprano, that can't be played on the straight soprano.-
AC:So like he would think of something like that and do that. Or he would do something that's like only the lowest and highest, notes of the bass and sopranino saxophone.- or something like that,- you know - so he would create these problems and they are very composer like new music composer ways of thinking, but used in improvisation with a Jazz background, and so I would do things like that.- I had - this was my.. one of my very simple pedagogical things, I got this from somebody at creative music studio- not Carl Burger, maybe Garret List, -
AC:everybody do a one minute improvisation. - he had us do that once and I thought it was the greatest thing- I got to know all these people.- It was amazing to do like .. twenty, 1 minute improvisations as a getting to know you, as first day of music camp
FB: I like that
AC:So I would have them every week do a one minute improvisation. -just to explore, improvisation, I quickly realized that some people would play for 9 minutes. and think that it was one minute.-
FB: you didn't tell ...you didn't set the clock.
AC:I didn't show them the clock. I watched my watch sereptitiously, and I would write down what happened, and then at the end I would say, how long- do you think you played for one minute, and one person would say- well I don't know - I think so, and then I would say- no it was 9 minutes. -
FB: everyone was laughing or appreciating..or
AC:yeah but I mean an hour would go by to do these 8 one minute improvs.- So they had to learn what time is- and I would say- think about. and then I started to realize they had trouble stopping, because,they're embarassed, and dissatisfied, and this weird things starts happening, like, - no I didn't say what I meant, - let me fix that.
FB: I can top that... hahaha
AC:and ha it would probably happen if you asked somebody to speak for one minute. too. like a psychological thing was happening.- - and so I was teaching them to geta sense of form, that was an important thing to me and timing, and then I would create a challenges for them.. play an A BA - improv as a group, I'm not gonna tell you what, is different between A and B we're just gonna make it happen, -
FB: uh huh
AC:see if we can do that you know start with the opposite, -do the opposite of that, start with something - then lets go to a contrast, let's try to go cometo the first thing.
FB: you do anything with colors or cards like Butch Morris or Cage would do?
AC: a little bit of that, I did a little bit of conducting, but alot of times I would break them into trios and quartets and have them do little projects, and then we did some totally open ended free things, sometimes they would get really crazy, -I mean , for some of the students - it was like letting them out of the cage - it was the class where there were no wrong notes, - I had a guy bring a red kids wagon and a candle to class, -and his solo improvisation was that he wanted to have somebody cart him around while he held the candle silently.-
AC: another guy played the contrabass clarinet in the fetal position in the corner of the room.- was whimpering, - I mean these were not great works of art, but they were -
AC:they were like, - those were some of the extremes, - but I mean they were like-okay- you know.-
AC:but I ... a couple of people who were in that micro varde, - who,- is a prominent, in the Boston Area,- this group Club Delph,
AC:I mean he's a pretty succesful band leader and Bass player, was in it- a composer who was on the faculty of Manhattan school- Susan Botti, -B O T T I - has written for the clevland Orchestra and all sorts of things,
FB: mm hmm..
AC:taught at the university of Michigan
FB: no relation to chris?-
AC:NO- she came here after having a career as a TV actress, - wanted to sing, studied voice with my wife privately, - and went to Berklee and did her first writing, here- she was in that ensemble, and explored -.. and now she does all this extended vocal technique, - new music and stuff,- I mean I didn't teach it to her, but she- it was a venue in which she could explore, - and experiement,- and she was very good at it, -so I did have some people who went on in this field,- - Gene Lake,- Oliver Lake's son was in it once
FB: uh huh
AC:the drummer from the Spin Doctors, was in it, -
AC:They were like a one hit rock stars-as far as I know. -
FB: uh huh but it is good to offer them something which is a contrast to what is going on elsewhere.- and this was certainly way outside the spectrum of Ear Training 1-4 and the Harmony-
AC:yeah- all my other ensembles were straight ahead tune playing ensemble, - and this was my one,-- it was .. ah moment of fresh air for me,- like getting out of the classroom and doing something totally - of my own and unique different thing,- and it also seemed to do that for the students as well.-
FB: During your ten years here as a teacher, -81-90
FB: approximately- were you able to develop any curriculum?_ Or ? -
AC:I was involved in ah.- some projects- I did after a few years on the faculty - become like a - there weren't assistant chairs, or I wasn't - officially an assitant chair,- but I was like an assitant chair.-I had hours off from teaching, and things I'd do administrative work, when Barry Nettles, became chair of Harmony, so - I taught - like maybe three quarters or two thirds of a full time load and then spent, -maybe 8 or 10 hours a week, -working in the office,- for him.- I did a lot of student counciling, -but I also did curriculum development with Steve Euchinsky we did - we rewrote the harmony- used to call it Harmony 5 - reharmonization and modal harmony- materials,- and our version was used for a while. and I developed a lot of materials, -I did a lot of transcriptions for song examples I used to use in class- cause they wanted more contemporary material to fit all the topics in Harmony,-so I was transcribing everything, from Cindy Lauper, to Chet Baker, and Bill Frissell, and Paul Motion, and
AC:Al Green, it wasn't all really contemporary, but it was more updated than what had been in the folders that we were given back in the 70's - so I did some curriculum development, - I didn't create new courses at Berklee, but I taught some of the most advanced Harmony courses, ah.- then other people would retire and pass them along,-
FB: Um,- Could we ah - wrap up this session- Alan- maybe by addressing any overviews you might have as to the ah- evolved - the evoloution of - mission statements,- or ,- grand plan- or - say the conservatory jazz department vs. Berklee.-
AC:yeah - um.- well in 1986 aft... you know about NEC I'll just try to say this quickly,- Gunther Schuller's presidency was 67-77 he hired, Carl Atkins, to be the administrator and runner of the program for most of that time and Jackie Bayard, George Russel, Jimmy Geoffrey, Rand Blake who then created the third stream department, which was adjoined to the Jazz Department,- um other people came in, John McNeil,- Trumpet, and
AC:jazz theory, - bringing a more addition al approach to jazz theory,- to the school -very excellent teacher. Um- and trumpet teacher- Hank is ... there was a series of chairs between 77 and 86 and things were quite.- the reason I didn't continue there was ...it was very chaotic
FB: Miroslav was there for a bit
AC: I was spending all this money- Miroslav was the chair, Miroslavetus, - Pat Hollenbeck was chair for a while, Tom.. William Thomas McKinley the composer was the chiar of the jazz department, - there were people who were chairs for as little as one semester, - I think Ernie Wilkins and Thad Jones came through and like very breifly...
FB: oooh yeahhh..
AC:it was a little chaotic
FB: Tom Macintosh
AC:yes... well he was there a little later I think.
AC: Well maybe he was there then and then came back,- I don't remember - um..
FB: great composer but didn't work as an administrator-
AC:yeah so there were different things that happned where there was no continuity, or .. during the Miroslav years I'll limit my details right now but - it was like, thanks to some student workers that Ensembles were formed and things happened, it was not ,- administrative style that you would want to repeat in general. So ah . Hankus Netsky was kind brought it at first Temporarily, - and he was briliant at it, -he was a great re vamper ofthe curriculum and of the faculty,- he hired Dave Holland, he hired Stanley Cowell, Geri Allen,- Danilo Perez, Jerry Berganzi,
FB: Fred Hersch
AC:Fred Hersch came and went , Fred Hersh was there in the early 80's then he came back.- actually I hired him back, that was after Hankus, um- ah.- but there are more, I'm not quite thinking of everyone, - Bob Moses I think.- probably Hankus hired right away,-at the beginning of his time.- Um.- he had a good ability to pick people who were great original, interesting, players, sort of like Gunther would respect, but who also were responsible, communicative, giving- good teachers.- It was still on the model on everyone does whatever they want,- no real..- there is one difference- Hankus spread- he propogated Rand Blakes philosophy of very intense ear training being the core.- and not playing - ear based playing. - so he actually put into place a very strong curricular idea, within the first two years, -of intensive hard, ear training, and also admitting students based on their ears as a very strong factor, no matter how well they played, - if your ear was really weak you would not be able to get in. and ah.- pretty much true.- and ah.- bu he kind of left all the ensemble teachers to do their own thing in ensembles,- you know he hired aritsts and he said be artists, and teach artisticly in private lessons and ensembles, - there were no rules, - like you didn't have to go through seven levels to graduate, -or prove that you could play your scales at this metronome marking, you know it was very, -loose, and the way you get away with that is by admitting people who can already,play the fundamentals, and then just dealing with them as young artists, -
FB: mm hmmm
AC:so that was the approach, - Berklee started changing a lot after I .. well afterthe strike in 86, there was a freshness to the new hires, - my good friend Bruno Raeburg is a good example you know. People who were hired after 86 didn't have the grudges that lingered after the strike, - you know they were - and I'm not saying, - many people changed their, - developed a healthier happier attitude as a result of changes and are still here doing great but there was a different generation that came in, and ..okay.. but the curriculum at Berklee I think really changed while I was away, like in the 90's and I guess we'll get into that another time.-like my perceptions of it coming back a year ago.- It's a really different place from the 80's and it has a lot of the good things.-= have been preserved well, but there are new majors,- the students are different, Liberal Arts is far far, more developed than it was
AC:haha.- and ah .. many .. there are many things that are different now at Berklee, - and yet it is still recognizably the same...you know continuous, and connected to it's past I guess.
FB: thank you Alan, let's hold that thought and continue at a later date, and we'll get into more of your career, and more of your administrative, ah .-capacities and reminicies about Boston's clubs and scenes and gigs and all that.-
AC:okay .-There's a lot of stuff I guess.-
FB: Yes there is
AC:Thank you.- Thank you for asking me to do this I appreciate the opportunity.-