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... FB: ummmm 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, FB: right 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... FB: ahahahahhhaaa 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, FB: yeaup 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. - FB: yeah 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 FB: haha 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. FB: yeah AC: um.. but I won't go there right now.. FB: hahaha AC: um... So I started to teach some more I taught almost all the Harmony electives by the time I left Berklee.