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 material. 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 him. 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 Report album. 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 things. 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.