The one thing we don't seem to get enough of is to spend a long time inside music without getting interrupted.
Therefore I have been staging marathon jam sessions with as many as 9 bass players both in Europe and the US since beginning of the summer. It is starting to take off and happens now on a regular basis. The next one happens in Fort Collins. We play for six hours. Bass Player magazine will mention something in one of their upcoming issues.
Below some original thought on the necessity and benefit of long term play.
On the merits of a music marathon 8/1/05
Having focused my attention for the last 28 years on comparing musical traditions, it became apparent what all cultures had in common and in which way they differed from each other. For instance all cultures on earth show two basic tendencies: One is oriented toward power and the other one is oriented toward connectivity. Power and Connection are the two polarities that keep the human race in place so to speak. You can observe any movement, habit or tendency in human behaviors and easily reduce it to these two basic principles, power and connection. The power to move, to talk, to create, to destroy, to control etc. etc. As well as the connection to friends, family, to things, the planet, to god, to yourself, etc. etc.
Once you understand this you will find that balance between those two principles is the best life one can experience. And the best thing one can do to serve the highest cause. The next thing you will notice is that the entire human drama with it's ups and downs, life and death, sorrow and happiness is a manifestation of imbalance. Like waves beating up against each other, creating turbulences, we get rocked back and forth between these huge collective currents of the mind.
There are dominant people who cling to leadership as a way of hording personal power for purpose of self gratification. There are people who are most comfortable in a sheepish role, happy to please the status quo. None of the two are evolving unless they are willing to challenge the habitual roles they play on a day to day basis. As psychological as it sounds, it has everything to do with music and you gaining an understanding of what is really going on.
We cling to anything we can at first by ways of identification. I identify with my mother, wife, kids, my music, my bass guitar, my social status. However, these securities are only temporary and can not give us the balance we seek on the long run. How do we achieve this? How do we find balance if everything in this word is constantly passing, changing and slipping away? The answer is: We don't. The balance finds us. Balance is what happens when we let go of everything. Balance is already there. It is important for you to understand that as a music- and a life principle: "The answer is already there".
If you believe that you have to do something to make it happen, your very doing is going to obscure the highest goal. Don't misunderstand this as a call to passivity. We have to work very hard to remove obstacles, burn excess energy, maintain our lives and replace bad habits with better ones. But all those activities belong into the realm of passing material existence. There is a more permanent mental world that extends all the way to the infinite principles from where music really comes. It is of those principals that I speak and those natural principals that I recommend you discover, observing them like a starry night in the wilderness. You can not do a thing to your higher self. It is what it is and music is our divine connection, the most beautiful, the fastest, the most direct way to reach balance and full potential on both sides.
Why a marathon Jam Session?
Because it provides us with a safe environment to probe into our untapped musical beings. The M - session becomes a "Musical Wild Life Refuge" No school, no regular jam session no clinic hangs in there long enough for the most valuable stuff to emerge, the stuff that only shows itself after all irrelevant concerns have exhausted themselves. It will answer many questions all at once and give you a sense of priority, direction and purpose in music. Attending this marathon is a positively subversive act to defy the mental blocks and misconceptions coming from a lifetime of mixing education with mis-education.
It has nothing to do with what instrument you play, what gear you use, how many chops you have, how many books you've read about music and so on and so forth. The same weaknesses we see in our human society come out in the way we play music. In general that is: Too much information, not enough meaning. Too many choices, not enough commitment. Too many notes, not enough space. Too much equipment, not enough sound. Too much brain, not enough heart and soul. This is about to change....Kai
Aug 15, 2005 - 6:59AM
Re: to all desciples of music
nice that I found your page. I still remember the sunday mornings at wolfis "quartier mayence" with all the several groups you performed (and still love your "old" sound with the fender jazz bass and the peavey amp, which wasn`t so clean and perfect as the glockenklang ...).
Playing within a group of different people, different knowlage for a long time gives us the oppurtunity to free ourselves from all the bondages of our social lifes. (even if there is no pinguin on bondage - for all the fans of frank z.)We loose the feeling of time (not the timing) and start to play from the "bottom" of our feelings - not braintech -.
But for me it's always a sad feeling that these moments accure only for short times and they are not reproducable (richtig für reproduzierbar?). And we always forget to record it because stopping and starting a tape would destroy the moment. But create a flow and to loose it afterwards makes it so unique and special.
I would love to get more infos about your marathon bass sessions. Do you tape it?
Even sometimes 2 bassplayers are enough - I remember your session with Decibal Badila at the Caveau. Das geht jetzt nur auf Deutsch - ich habe, obwohl ich jetzt auch 20 Bassjahre auf dem Buckel habe, keine Ahnung wie er seine Solostücke auf einem Bass live so hingekriegt hat ...
I'll stay tuned to your "zone" - obwohl du ja nicht aus dem Osten kommst...
I identify immensely with this post - and with you as a person. I have found you to be grounded, earthed, philosophical and balanced (these equate to 'Spiritual').
The comment alluding to balance reminds me of the premise of the closing tune (spoken word -"Ying/Yang") on the Victor Wooten Ying/Yang double album - where he draws the same conclusion about the concept of control.
I think your bass marathon is quite the platfom and look forward to one day being a participant.
As a participant in both a full length and a mini-marathon, I can attest to what a powerful and positive experience they are. The exchanging of various roles and the nurturing from both the Master and the fellow students is uplifting and helps break through internal walls that one is often not even aware of. It helps one find things in their own playing that need attention, and lets them attend to those with help and support from others around them without pressure or embarrassment, but inspiration. I look forward to more of them and the results they bring to music in general.