…While Listening To Myself In The Mirror #18

Around 2002, Vibre´ started as a bass and vibraphone duo; we were both working at St. John’s Music in Calgary, at 4th St. & 10th Ave SW. We started with a series of Thursday Nights at The  Second Cup in the now deserted (demolished?) Gaslight Square. What started as a casual musical workout, turned into a gigging, touring and recording experience that I will always treasure…

Around 2003, I acquired The Gold Monster: The Most Fun Anyone Can Have With 3 1/2 Octaves! I Also Became A Yamaha Canada Artist Clinician Through An Unusual Sequence Of Events.

About 2003 we added a sax player to our duo on a casual basis. He would come and sit in; the thing was, his main sax was a soprano. I fell in love with that sound mixed with the vibes. We started putting arrangements together that allowed everyone to play their brains out! At that time I had two musical objectives; liberated playing within an arrangement and that the tune should sound different every time we played it.

The Second Cup In South Centre Mall Calgary. Who Knew; We played There Quite A Few Times 01-02. Musicians Used To Come And Sit In.

Sometimes, musical situations evolve so naturally, you don’t even realize it. I had no clue what was to come and what was to become one of the most fulfilling musical experiences of my life.

a career in music? Don’t be silly, you won’t make a living. That’s no life for a son (daughter) of mine. That’s that! I don’t want to discuss it again!

Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!

We used to pick tunes that like Chick Corea‘s Sea Journey that had forms we could distort and play on forever; each time different!

Personnel as determined: Pat Metheny guitar; Gary Burton vibraphone.

*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.

Solo Musicians: Like Trapeze Artists Working Without A Net

Solo artists have had a very profound effect on me through the various stages leading up to my musical adulthood. Like swimming outside the breakwater, they are susceptible to any and every lurking hazard; with no way to protect themselves; with nowhere to hide and, no way to escape accountability for the presentation they put forward. I would like to share with you a few of the artists that I have admired so.

Gene Krupa was arguably the man responsible for bringing drumming into the forefront and out of the shadows of back-line performance. Because of him, drum solos became expected, anticipated; the audience waited for it kind of like the grand finale of the concert. A drummer soloing, was to me, like a goalie coming out of his crease, taking a skate around the ice and then scoring a goal by the element of surprise! A real event to be remembered. Emulated, honored and influencial, he single-handedly created a musical buzz in his generation which I am and always will be awe-inspired. When I was 12 years old, I got to see an unforgettable drum clinic including him in a function room at Toronto’s Lord Simcoe Hotel (demolished in 1981).

Gene Krupa: For me, A One Man Band.

For me, Gene Krupa was all about making music (not just about technique) on a drum set; listen to his phrasing, his tones and his cadences. His solos were crafted spontaneously; very complete, a living, breathing entity…

Lenny Breau: This Is How I Will Always Picture Him.

Lenny Breau offered virtuosity, music and innovation on a platter for me, with my voracious musical appetite, to devour. I just couldn’t get enough; I still can’t and will never get enough. I always tell people how much I love guitar; I love the sound(s); the thought process. However, the thought of actually going after learning how to play, makes me run and hide! I am too keyboard oriented and a fretboard scares me! I wouldn’t say Lenny made it look easy but, I will say he made it look interesting and doable. It was his focus, and imagination that impressed me so.

The Claw (Jerry Reed) made me think in so many directions at the same time; different genre implications, technique AND imagination emanated from HIS take on this tune. I say HIS take because when he played this tune, HE owned it…

Joe Pass: Smooth, Fluent AND With Conviction; Just Great Music.

Joe Pass was a conduit to the generation of jazz that came before me. He represented an approach to standards that I could really connect with. I respected both his ability and integrity AND how he made it work for him in that particular era of music. I loved how his solo approach worked so well for him when he accompanied other masters like Ella Fitzgerald in duet settings.

Notice Joe‘s demeanor as he entices, cajoles and weaves us through his own Joe’s Blues

Bobby McFerrin: Perhaps The Epitome Of Solo Vulnerability.

Bobby McFerrin makes great music! Being your own instrument may be handy going to gigs but, his connection to that instrument, his sincere delivery and controlled output is a HEAVY proposition! I have learned a lot from Bobby; musical integrity, humility, work ethic AND conviction come to mind every time I witness him work.

Click and be amazed

I AM NOT A Jazz Musician; I AM A Musician, Who Loves Playing Jazz!

I grew up with The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones. I did not grow up with Charlie Parker, John Coltrane or Miles Davis. I am however, infused with The Beatles, The Who, and the Rolling Stones while I revere Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Miles Davis.

This Is Why I Became A Musician!

This Is Why I Stayed In Music!
Photo: A Great Day In Harlem -Art Kane

1Hilton Jefferson 2Benny Golson 3Art Farmer 4Wilbur Ware 5Art Blakey 6Chubby Jackson  7Johnny Griffin 8Dickie Wells 9Buck Clayton 10Taft Jordan 11Zutty Singleton 12Red Allen  13Tyree Glenn 14Miff Molo 15Sonny Greer 16Jay C. Higginbotham 17Jimmy Jones 18Charles Mingus  19Jo Jones 20Gene Krupa 21Max Kaminsky 22George Wettling 23 Bud Freeman 24Pee Wee Russell  25Ernie Wilkins 26Buster Bailey  27Osie Johnson 28Gigi Gryce 29Hank Jones 30Eddie Locke  31Horace Silver 32Luckey Roberts 33Maxine Sullivan 34Jimmy Rushing 35Joe Thomas 36Scoville Browne  37Stuff Smith 38Bill Crump 39Coleman Hawkins 40Rudy Powell 41Oscar Pettiford 42Sahib Shihab  43Marian McPartland 44Sonny Rollins 45Lawrence Brown 46Mary Lou Williams 47Emmett Berry  48Thelonius Monk  49Vic Dickenson   50Milt Hinton   51Lester Young   52Rex Stewart  53J.C. Heard  54Gerry Mulligan  55Roy Eldgridge 56Dizzy Gillespie 57Count Basie

When the Beatles hit, I was mesmerized by their on stage appeal but even more so, I was most interested in the drumming. As time went on, I started to wonder how they came to the end result and what was involved in recording that result.

I then started to get interested in all styles of music strictly based on my aural curiosity; Sure, some spoke to me more than others but, I developed this ability to recognize great music even if it didn’t actually connect with my soul. I take great pride in this ability to this day.

Recognizing the trail blazers above, appreciating their musical contributions and what they went through blazing that trail, has given me my personal depth; that is a depth I will continue to develop until I can’t.

I believe that whatever one music generation leaves behind, becomes the springboard for the next generation to launch from and carry on the prowess, philosophies and evolvement of the music (regardless of genre).

Emulation is futile and aggravates me to no-end; snobbery, at any level of competence is intolerable; egotistic hoarding of knowledge is unforgivable.

When I create or perform, I am interested in the here and now as well as what’s coming. Because I have a very healthy respect for the past, I take great pride in saluting and teaching it (after all that’s where we come from). But, I don’t care to go back there (other than occasional visits).

For example, I love Be-bop. I will never be able to play it the way I hear it; I love Classical; I will never be able to play it the way I hear it. I wasn’t there and I didn’t live in those times.

So… I simply move on and hope for the best.

A man’s got to know his limitations” – Dirty Harry

Personnel: Arnold Faber vibraphone; Ali Berkok piano.

Thelonius Monk’s Misterioso; My Ears Are Black & Blue But I’m Smiling!

Thelonius "Sphere" Monk

Thelonius “Sphere” Monk

I love this particular version of Thelonious Monk‘s composition Misterioso more than any other. For me, it’s the imperfections of the performance (which really translates to sincerity and chance taking) that I find really amazing.

The tune is interesting in a kind of walking backwards up a steep hill kind of way and will remain in my ear forever. This is not about Monk‘s genius; for me it’s about his connection to his music through his musical being and how he gets his point across to me, the listener.

The stellar line-up has immortalized this recording forever in my music mind. Do it to me TSM

Personnel as determined: Sonny Rollins tenor sax; J.J.Johnson trombone; Thelonious Monk piano (comping Rollins); Horace Silver piano (comping Johnson); Paul Chambers bass; Art Blakey drums.

As far as the creative side of my musical persona is concerned, I am the sum total of what I have experienced musically. The emotion, the energy and the memories of music collected in my ear have shaped who I am as a composer, player and dreamer.

…While Listening To Myself In The Mirror #17

Around 2002, Vibre´ started as a bass and vibraphone duo; we were both working at St. John’s Music in Calgary, at 4th St. & 10th Ave SW. We started with a series of Thursday Nights at The  Second Cup in the now deserted (demolished?) Gaslight Square. What started as a casual musical workout, turned into a gigging, touring and recording experience that I will always treasure…

My Deagan Commander II Vibraphone. Built-In Pickups, Portable. My Weapon Of Choice In 2002.

While  I was working retail in a musical instrument store, this thought occurred to me; why not form some kind of band with the staff. We all had families; we worked the same hours; we had similar musical interests so why not?

When 6:00 rolled around, I wheeled my vibes next door (in good weather) and we set up in 20 minutes. Playing next door to where we worked, every Thursday was convenient and seemed to work out well. We started attracting some regulars and our format was easy going jazz. With my vibraphone, we had a built in signature both visually and sound-wise. After a few months we started playing other coffee settings and started to let people sit in. It was fun and it kept my music machinery well-oiled!

Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!

We picked tunes that were easy to play on, so we could invite other players to jam with us. One of my faves, which I use to this day to warm up on in a club, is Charles Lloyd‘s Sweet Georgia Bright. I happen to love this rare instance of HIM playing it!

Charles Lloyd tenor sax; Jason Moran piano; Reuben Rogers bass; Eric Harland drums.

*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.

…While Listening To Myself In The Mirror #14

I believe all of us, like Blues Legend Robert Johnson near Dockery Plantation at midnight, come to our own “crossroads” where we make our “pact” with the devil; less ominously, at the very least, arrive at our “point of no return” with what we are going to do with our lives…

My Crossroads: Mass Ave & Boylston St, Boston's Back Bay.

At my crossroads, I decided to give up playing Top 40 or commercial cover grind and start “creating” music. Although I wouldn’t turn down a wedding or Bar Mitzvah, I would not actively go after that kind of work or club gig.

My nine semesters at Berklee were spread over an eight year period. Around 1981, my seventh semester, I formed my first band, Conception. Shelly, Henry and I had a house on the South Shore in Braintree Mass where the band practiced; we played a nice blend of originals and standards. In Boston we played Ryles and The 1369 Club. We traveled as far north as Portland New Hampshire to play Horsefeathers and as far south to play Dr. Watson’s in Philadelphia.

I Understand Ryles Is Still Happening. Everyone Loved Ryles. Shelly & I Saw Pat Metheny There With Danny Gottleib, Drums; Rufus Reid, Bass; Michael Brecker, Tenor Sax.

I Never Played Paul's Mall. I Did, However, Get To See Milt Jackson, Steps Ahead, Betty Carter And The Gary Burton Group With Pat Metheny Guitar, Danny Gottleib, Drums AND BOTH Steve Swallow & Eberhard Weber On Basses!

Talk about being inspired! I got to see/hear so many of my influences up close and personal. I even took Henry (on my lap) to see Weather Report at The Orpheum. Studying, Playing and catching my many influences was really shaping my ears and intellect for the coming years!

a career in music? Don’t be silly, you won’t make a living. That’s no life for a son (daughter) of mine. That’s that! I don’t want to discuss it again!

Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!

One of the tunes that I composed during that period was my Walk In Tune! I had the pleasure of recording it with my group Vibre´many years later on Our Maximum Jazz/Universal Group enhanced CD, Blue Comedy. I loved the album and  the group!

*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.

…While Listening To Myself In The Mirror #13

I had one week to register at Berklee, find a place to live and, suss the lay of the land enough to establish a routine for learning, honing and exercising my musical passion…

Berklee & I Go Way Back!

Berklee really did it for me. The school gave me a very singular insight into my creative process that simply doesn’t quit. Any genre, anytime; personal or business; I just don’t seem to hit any brick walls and, I only seem to be getting more excited as the years pass! Needless to say, the lifelong friendships and memories established during our eight years in and out of Boston, are absolutely priceless.

If You Were A Drummer/Percussionist Going To Berklee, You Knew Jack's Drum Shop. Going From The Mass Ave Building To The Boylston Building, You Had To Pass It (you went in, even just to drool!).

My program was The Jazz Composition & Arranging Degree and my instrument major was percussion. I had to change my instrument major to mallets exclusively because that was my whole thrust for being there as far as my main axe was concerned. I did however, get a lot of excellent drum set instruction that first semester.

Our First Home Was In Weymouth Mass. On The South Shore. I Used To Park The Van In North Quincy And Take The Red Line Train To The Green Line. Then I Took The Green Line To Boylston.

1976 was a very pivotal year for me, with Shelly in her final trimester, staying with her parents, waiting for Henry to arrive and me starting college so far away. Every Friday, after my arranging class, I would hop into our van and drive the 883.2 km, Mass Pike, then New York Thruway to Toronto (3 times until our first of three beautiful sons actually arrived!).

a career in music? Don’t be silly, you won’t make a living. That’s no life for a son (daughter) of mine. That’s that! I don’t want to discuss it again!

Hey! Turn the radio up! I love that song!

I had been on the road three years before coming to Berklee, so I knew the ropes and set out to find a working band to make some extra cash when I wasn’t in school; I answered an ad for a drummer. We were to play a series of Chinese food restaurants within 100 km radius of the school that featured music for dancing. The band consisted of a female lead singer, a guitar player, who is a dear friend to this day, a Cordovox player who punched bass as well and myself on drums (I still dragged my vibes along to play ballads). We played all over Massachusetts and New Hampshire. That era makes me think of Year Of The Cat, Al Stewart; Cold As Ice, Foreigner; Blue Bayou, Linda Ronsdadt; 9 To 5, Dolly Parton etc.; lightweight MOR of the times was our thing. We played together 2 years.

Interesting contrast to the music I wanted to create; I was either in school or playing and balancing my family life; interesting times!

*The Series …While Listening To Myself In The Mirror, chronicles the milestones, influences and progression of the musical career and times of Arnold Faber, Canadian Career Musician/Composer. The intent is strictly to inform, entertain and chronicle a 38+ year career in Canadian music history.