FB: Let's get you back to that harvard interview.
TE: Ok. I was teaching in western New York, Batavia New York. Went to Harvard for this interview ummm, what interest me about the Harvard job I mean I was twenty-five or twenty-six years old, I was pretty young for this kind of atmosphere. Was that it would give me access to the Boston area in playing. It was very attractive for the free lancing on the side as well as actually having a teaching job that gave me flexability in schedule, more so than a public school job. And I came up and interviewed for the position and later that summer it was offered, the position. Took it thirty-eight years ago and I'm still hanging in over there and still learning a lot. When I first got there, there was no jazz band or jazz progam. Now 1971, fusion was in, Weather Report was strong, Tony Williams and Lifetime and as far as more traditional jazz, you didn't hear much. And it was really a quiet for more traditional jazz. So...
FB: All the big bands were quieted.
TE: Very much so.
FB: Quieted down except maybe around here, they're were the student workshops and stuff.
FB: But those were all made up of people who'd split from rich and ya know, the dance bands uhhh...our faculty here.
TE: Absolutely. Well ya know Berklee has done a lot to keep that tradition, all the traditions alive as well as moving into new directions and thats always been very important, in fact thats what drew me into working with some Berklee people when I first came to town, which we can talk about. Starting the band at Harvard, ya know it was a rock drummer we started out with, it was a fender bass player we started out with had never played, was playing jazz-rock. So it was a little bit, and there were no charts, I fortunately had some charts I had collected or traded through the years, Cause there was no money for charts. I can mention I went to my superior at Harvard and my, the administrator I reported to, said ya know, over the last year, my first year at Harvard, I've uhhh, we've got a jazz band going now. And I'm putting these number of hours a week and I'm putting some of my own money for the music and ya know I like to negotiate the idea of being compensated for the extra time. And some kind of budget to buy some basic music for the ensemble. The respone was at that time well, Harvard has not had jazz here in three-hundred and fifty-something years, we can do without it right now.
FB: Meanwhile, WHRB had been burning up the airways since 1957.
TE: Oh for some time, since the late 50s.
FB: And they were dedicated to playing jazz.
TE: Absolutely. And I think its some of the orgies they've had where you have ya know, three days of Charlie Parker or the entire recorded output of ya know, Frank Roselino or some one who's not ya know, a big name. I mean it was.
FB: But they were, within the establishment they were tolerated but not, they were still disenfranchised.
FB: They were outside the pale of acedeen.
TE: Thats right, its always been a seperate entity and I think Harvard has provided a facility for them, and they have a board that raises money for them, but basically their self supporting and its student run. And ya know, a colleage of ours really was involved in expanding the orgy idea of having a, during exam periods, extended programs of all Bach's cantatas or all of Woody Herman's recordings from the 40s, whatever it might be, Bob Blueman Thought.
FB: Of course, ya.
TE: And has been a big influence out there.
FB: How did you crack that vicad?
TE: Well, for better or for worse, I just decided this music's important. I enjoyed working in it, but I thought it was really important that if the students we were working are Harvard are gonna be truly educated, if they're gonna be influential people in our society, they should know something American music, about improvisation had to help their problem solving skill and just the concept of not jazz improvisation, but admediate creative ideas.
FB: Absolutely. Its the other side of the brain than taking a math course.
TE: Exactly. And ummm, just decded it was gonna happen. So I just kept digging up music of my own, and we'd play, we actually played more gigs off campus than on campus and not being directly associated with the music department or the undergraduate Dean could basically do whatever I wanted to do.
FB: All the university was interested in at that time was that you play the football games and do a couple of concert band things a year.
TE: Thats right.
FB: Everything else ala' card.
TE: Right. And then also provide ceremonial music for the, whether it be commencement or dignitary coming to Harvard and playing their nation anthem for them, whatever, the band would do that.
FB: But you put your head down and blazed right through that and said, "we're gonna do the jazz anyway."
TE: Yes and I think because of, no one, we were'nt hurting anything that was there. The music department was not fond of, did not take jazz seriously at the time. Feeling its not notated, its minority music, its ya know, its made up and, you can't study it like you can renaissance music or baroque fuge or canon. And the people were very traditionally trained and that was thier focus. So there was really no one to stop because I wasn't using university funds, I was using the facility that was available for marching band and concert band.
FB: Nine Prescott?
TE: Yep, nine Prescott Street, it used to be the basement of what was the freshaman union and the varsity club. Yeah, your going back in time now man. And the kids eventually, I think the part that, jeeze we're doing something we're not suppose to be doing. I think they really got into it and, ya know these are smart kids, they should be exposed to nobel prize winners and politzer prize winners and the best in each person in their field, well by golly, they should be exposed to the best in the jazz field and contemporary music and the improvising field.