Chapter 9 FB: What are the challenges that you offer your students these days? How do you pique their interest? How do you make them listen and play sharper? Herb challenged you, the bands challenged you, you have to pass the gauntlet on to your students. What do you look for, what do you try to bring out? MP: Through my experience I have come to realize that students coming from different backgrounds might bring to class different experiences. So I ask my students to introduce themselves, the first class, so I see where they come from, I see what their interests are their experiences musically, then I try to choose something, which is musically close to them so that they can relate to it, and at the same time it contains information, some topics that is new to them. FB: Excellent, I like that, I do that too. I make them introduce eachother, find out information about eachother, and do a questionaire also, to get some real details. That's great. MP: Because if I have to talk about a two five, playing a Charlie Parker song, and they don't know who Charlie Parker is, they might get bored. They might get interested, but they might get bored. So maybe wait to talk about Charlie Parker until later, but let them do something of a two five nature, using music and styles that they are familiar with. So they feel confident, they have fun, and at the same time, they're challenged to do something new. And then, from that you step backwards and say, you see what you just did? It was also done by this Jazz master. And they go, ah, interesting. So it's a way to get them interested through what they know already maybe, or they are a little bit familiar with. FB: Cool. Um, we're running out of time, yeah, maybe you had some interesting stories about working with Toshiko when you went first went to Manhattan? When you used to go to her and Lou Tobbacan's apartment for jam sessions? What was that like? MP: Oh that was fun. Ah, Toshiko once called me to play a gig with her, in Toronto which unfortunately I couldn't do. Ah, but then I became friendly with Lou when I first moved to New York, coming, and I was going to his place to have sessions, periodically, once twice a month, and we were playing in this basement. FB: Who else was there? MP: Oh Don Friedman, who else? Some young bass players, Doug Weiss maybe. It was so long ago I forgot. But you know he called some of his old friends sometimes, and sometimes young lions. Now we were playing in the basement. The basement is next to wine cellars. Toshiko and Lou are heavily into wine. They are wine connoisseurs, so I asked, so what are you gonna do with all this wine? You know we have a yearly dinner every time, right after the new year and we invite all of our friends to play and eat. It's mainly eat, then play, and drink. So that's when Toshiko opens up the bottles and she cooks up a storm. She's a gourmet chef. FB: Like ah Italian, French... MP: Uh it's a variety of different things. FB: Continental... MP: Yes. Ah and so there I met Pete LaRocka, which doesn't go, Pete LaRocka was a stage name. What was his name, Pete Simms? Anyway he's a lawyer. FB: Yeah but he was also a legendary drummer. MP: He was a legendary drummer. When I met him I was like (appears amazed). A lot of other New York cats were there. That was fun to do, and of course the wines, you are a wine connoisseur, the wines are amazing. Like a treasure. FB: The last time I was talking with Lou we were talking about Barrolos from Pimonte. El Rey del Vino. MP: I do have a very small wine collection. One of my best ones is a Barollo Stravecchio from '55, which now is probably, you cannot drink it anymore. FB: Well, they hold up pretty well, I had some '64, '68 not too long ago, that were not bad shape, gentle old ladies. You know? But still with a little elbow, you know? Anyway, we'll have to continue this over a glass of wine. MP: Absolutely. FB: Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your tales of your world travels in music, a real pleasure. MP: Thank you. FB: A la prossima. MP: Arrivederci. Ciao.