Taming The Saxophone

Studies Mentors: Do/did you have one; Are You a Mentor?

randulo

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Yes, Grasshopper, another one of my philosophical posts to draw extra wisdom and experiences from the distinguished group.

My first mentor

We were looking for a drummer for the band I had with my brother on keyboards, me on guitar and a section: trumpet, sax and trombone. The guy taking care of the equipment thought of someone and set up a meeting. That meeting changed the musical lives of my brother and me.

It was obvious that Paul Lagos could play jazz, but we were a rock-ish band with horns. As we got to know each other, it becames obvious that Paul was a born teacher. He laso had been playing in L.A. for decades and knew people from Ray Brown, to Red Holloway and a lot of the Los Angeles scene. He was in the band Kaleidoscope. What happened was, that eventually, after the big band broke up due to lack of any future, Paul formed a band around blues violinist Sugarcane Harris. That band included me, and that's when the Lagos mentorship began. He was the musical equivalent of a life coach. His entire basement was covered in shelves in which there were nothing but jazz albums, plus a few soul, R&B and New Orleans things. He would drag us downstairs and pull out a few albums and put them on. One memorable moment, was when he put in Equinox. When the McCoy solo started, helooked up and said, "Church bells!" He was an inspiration at all times.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m2HN2y0yV8


He could play tunes he'd never heard before, with a big band; he'd ask for the trumpet chart. Paul had a great ear, could play in any time signature. We bought a trinome and did a lot of playing in 7/4 time. One of our most requested songs was in 10/4 time, and people danced to it! Having lived with and around Paul, who was a very much larger than life character, we (Victor Conte and myself) learned more about harmony, form, rhythm and every aspect of music, as will as cooking, as Paul was a great chef as well. Victor went on to play with Herbie Hancock and Tower of Power, and I doubt for a minute that he was at that level thanks to Paul's mentoring. For my part, Paul is the reason I listened to saxophone, jazz and classical music for the past 47 years. Most of the understanding of music I have today came from that experience.

What about you? Who, if anyone has had a significant effect on your music, or are you in a oi-sition to help other by being a mentor?
 

GCinCT

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There are two people who come to mind. One was my saxophone teacher in the early 90's, Ed Xiques. Hardly a household name, but he had a nice career including playing lead alto in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra in the 60's and 70's. Ed was great at inspiring and encouraging me. I had big self-esteem issues in those days and very shaky confidence. He always told me I had the ability to be a very good saxophone player and improviser.

Back then, I also had a lot of trouble playing in time at a consistent tempo. Ed used to plug a metronome into his stereo and the click would boom out of these huge speakers, so I couldn't miss it. It worked!

The other is Richie Hart, a guitar player. I was in his improv class during the same time period and he was the director of the big band I was in. He also encouraged me constantly and told me I had great potential in jazz. One thing he used to say all the time that I've never forgotten is: "Everything is difficult until you master it". He also used to warn us about not becoming a technician and playing one hot lick after another without saying anything.
 

tenorviol

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A mentor is a good idea if you can find someone... I would value one but don't have one. Ironically, at work I act as mentor to a number of people... but that's in the domain of financial services and IT...
 

Keep Blowing

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Yes, Grasshopper, another one of my philosophical posts to draw extra wisdom and experiences from the distinguished group.

My first mentor

We were looking for a drummer for the band I had with my brother on keyboards, me on guitar and a section: trumpet, sax and trombone. The guy taking care of the equipment thought of someone and set up a meeting. That meeting changed the musical lives of my brother and me.

It was obvious that Paul Lagos could play jazz, but we were a rock-ish band with horns. As we got to know each other, it becames obvious that Paul was a born teacher. He laso had been playing in L.A. for decades and knew people from Ray Brown, to Red Holloway and a lot of the Los Angeles scene. He was in the band Kaleidoscope. What happened was, that eventually, after the big band broke up due to lack of any future, Paul formed a band around blues violinist Sugarcane Harris. That band included me, and that's when the Lagos mentorship began. He was the musical equivalent of a life coach. His entire basement was covered in shelves in which there were nothing but jazz albums, plus a few soul, R&B and New Orleans things. He would drag us downstairs and pull out a few albums and put them on. One memorable moment, was when he put in Equinox. When the McCoy solo started, helooked up and said, "Church bells!" He was an inspiration at all times.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m2HN2y0yV8


He could play tunes he'd never heard before, with a big band; he'd ask for the trumpet chart. Paul had a great ear, could play in any time signature. We bought a trinome and did a lot of playing in 7/4 time. One of our most requested songs was in 10/4 time, and people danced to it! Having lived with and around Paul, who was a very much larger than life character, we (Victor Conte and myself) learned more about harmony, form, rhythm and every aspect of music, as will as cooking, as Paul was a great chef as well. Victor went on to play with Herbie Hancock and Tower of Power, and I doubt for a minute that he was at that level thanks to Paul's mentoring. For my part, Paul is the reason I listened to saxophone, jazz and classical music for the past 47 years. Most of the understanding of music I have today came from that experience.

What about you? Who, if anyone has had a significant effect on your music, or are you in a oi-sition to help other by being a mentor?
That's a great and very interesting story, I've never had a mentor,. I wish I had. If I could pick one from the past or present , musically it would have been
Yes, Grasshopper, another one of my philosophical posts to draw extra wisdom and experiences from the distinguished group.

My first mentor

We were looking for a drummer for the band I had with my brother on keyboards, me on guitar and a section: trumpet, sax and trombone. The guy taking care of the equipment thought of someone and set up a meeting. That meeting changed the musical lives of my brother and me.

It was obvious that Paul Lagos could play jazz, but we were a rock-ish band with horns. As we got to know each other, it becames obvious that Paul was a born teacher. He laso had been playing in L.A. for decades and knew people from Ray Brown, to Red Holloway and a lot of the Los Angeles scene. He was in the band Kaleidoscope. What happened was, that eventually, after the big band broke up due to lack of any future, Paul formed a band around blues violinist Sugarcane Harris. That band included me, and that's when the Lagos mentorship began. He was the musical equivalent of a life coach. His entire basement was covered in shelves in which there were nothing but jazz albums, plus a few soul, R&B and New Orleans things. He would drag us downstairs and pull out a few albums and put them on. One memorable moment, was when he put in Equinox. When the McCoy solo started, helooked up and said, "Church bells!" He was an inspiration at all times.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m2HN2y0yV8


He could play tunes he'd never heard before, with a big band; he'd ask for the trumpet chart. Paul had a great ear, could play in any time signature. We bought a trinome and did a lot of playing in 7/4 time. One of our most requested songs was in 10/4 time, and people danced to it! Having lived with and around Paul, who was a very much larger than life character, we (Victor Conte and myself) learned more about harmony, form, rhythm and every aspect of music, as will as cooking, as Paul was a great chef as well. Victor went on to play with Herbie Hancock and Tower of Power, and I doubt for a minute that he was at that level thanks to Paul's mentoring. For my part, Paul is the reason I listened to saxophone, jazz and classical music for the past 47 years. Most of the understanding of music I have today came from that experience.

What about you? Who, if anyone has had a significant effect on your music, or are you in a oi-sition to help other by being a mentor?
That's a cool story, I've never had a mentor, I wish I had., It could have made a big difference. If I could choose someone from the past or the present, i think it would be Thelonious Monk
 

thomsax

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I've got what I presume to be the original of this on my Jukebox,
Yes, And the legendary Lee Allen is on one of the tenors. A single from the Argo label recorded in New Orleans 1956.

I have some mentors but we just don't call mentorship. I can call them for thier opinions. Or send a MP3. I would call it more friendship instead of mentorship.
 
OP
randulo

randulo

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I would call mentor a person who educates and inspires intentionally. That's the basis of this post, anyway. I could have listed many musician friends who were far above me in every way musically who inspired me and even taught me things, but they're not mentors. I think mentors of this kind don't even do it consciously, but simply share their knowledge without being asked.
 
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randulo

randulo

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Interesting post, I would consider some of our members here a mentor on a personal level @aldevis and through the forum I've been educated and inspired by @Nick Wyver @David Roach and @jbtsax though not on a regular basis :)

Jx
I agree that there are many who have offered support and I believe if approached would give their time, do give their time to helping.
 

MikeMorrell

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My experience has been that part of a (good) tutor's role overlaps with that of a mentor. She/he wants you to progress, provides encouragement and personal tips, is available as a 'counsellor' for any questions you may have about gear, practice, technique, etc.

My first tutor was private one and he was a better mentor than my second one (a music school sax tutor). My first tutor's main focus was on me, my playing, my technique and my the kind of music I wanted to learn to play. My second tutor (having more students) was more methodical and routine in his approach and went more 'by the book'. He wrote 'corrections' down in a little book that I had to practice and perfect before being allowed to play a different piece.:). Don't get me wrong, I learned more from the 2nd tutor. But I never considered him to be a 'mentor' in the sense that I had considered my 1st tutor.

For the past 3 years or so, I've been lucky to play in 2 Big Bands with other sax players who play way better than I do. There's no real 'mentoring' relationship but I have picked up tips from them. If I'm not sure how to play something (tone, embellishment, solo ...), I have no hesitation in asking them and they're always happy to help me improve.

In the same period, I've also been fortunate to rehearse/play under really good 'professional' MDs. They give the bands as a whole, individual sections and individual players (including myself) feedback and tips that have really enhanced my sense of 'musicality'. The difference between these professional MD's and my previous amateur MD's is enormous! Professional MDs are more expensive than amateur ones and our membership fees have had to increase but this has been well worthwhile. Everyone learns so much more at rehearsals!

Over the years, I too have learned a whole lot from the more talented/experienced members of the Cafe. Sometimes from various threads, sometimes from their own recordings and sometimes from their personal feedback and tips based on my recordings. I've said it before but it's well worth repeating. One of the things that IHMO makes the Cafe unique as a forum (apart from the general friendliness, jokes and banter ;)) is the willingness of many seriously talented and experienced sax players to help beginners start out. In my view this is true (on-line) mentoring. So my personal thanks to all you seriously talented and experienced sax players who make this Cafe so unique!

Mike
 
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randulo

randulo

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Ironically, Mentor, OH is what comes up if you search on saxophone mentors



But more appropriate, http://www.musicalmentors.org/#our-story-1
 
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randulo

randulo

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Another thing about my own mentor experience. He brought many opportunities to me in the form of gigs and meeting and playing with great musicians. These meeting were not limited to the occasional jam session. They would result in friendship: a lot of hanging out, playing but also listening to music, talking about playing and music theory and appreciation. This goes far beyond a teacher, especially a teacher who is paid by the hour or gives lessons of a finite time. Of course, we need good, motivated teachers and they need to earn a living. I count many music teachers as friends, because it's the most common way to earn a living. When they're good at it, that's great. But the experience of having a mentor or being one is a different thing.
 

Ne0Wolf7

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I both have and am a mentor.
I get an hour long lesson (which often slips into more like an hour and fifteen minutes because I'm the last student of the day and who looks at the clock) once per week at his place.
Because I am one of the most advanced players at school (largely due to my mentor) I've been allowed to help an beginging elementary school student learn and prepare for NYSSMA.
 
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randulo

randulo

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Who else has stories about mentors or about being one? Are we islands of knowledge and experience, sharing it only online?
 
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