The Call of Nov 9th

There’s one thing that we can all agree on – this US 2016 Election cycle is a particularly crazy one. Whether someone is passionate or dispassionate about following the news, debates, private or group conversations, even the SNL parodies, whether you like the candidates or not the US is clearly divided in terms of future direction. After the dust settles regardless of concept or personal preference  we will all still be living in the same world together. When the post-election brouhaha dies down both those who agree with you and those who don’t will still have to work and live together to create a better life for themselves, families and friends.

It’s unfortunate that the dialogue has become personal between the presidential candidates instead of the ideas they represent. When it’s all over the ideas will be what prevails over the personal disputes. Underneath the unfortunate rhetoric there are legitimate concerns of major issues on both sides of the aisle. Are you prepared to listen to those on the other side?

What becomes clear is we are living in a world of increased communication and interaction where everyone’s needs are becoming more visible and equal. To deny that this fundamental shift is taking place only leads to frustration and isolation. The lines between one “group” and another “group” – us vs. them – begin to disappear and become fluid. Labels are disappearing and all that is left is one’s intention. What’s your intention?

As communication between different cultural and racial groups, age groups, men and women, socioeconomic classes, even concepts of independence vs. interdependence come into increased daily interaction, not just within the US but worldwide, the only thing that’s left is your intention. The labels are gone, or rapidly disappearing. Can you redefine yourself by your intention and not by your “group”? This is our collective challenge.

It becomes clear those who succeed in the future are those who see and offer solutions to the needs of others. The size of your circle will determine the size of your success. Do you want to succeed big or just within your current “group”? Are you going to wait for someone else to offer and execute better ideas or are you willing to expand now? Can you survive long-term if you do not? Can you risk getting out of your comfort zone and looking at something from someone else’s point of view?

The world is a wonderful place where often the truth is more fascinating than fiction. One aspect of Intentional Collaboration is to look at a problem or situation from someone else’s point of view. Use their background, knowledge, and cultural or demographic preferences to see what they see. Feel what they feel. Experience what they experience. You expand your awareness and become a richer overall human being by being able to walk in someone else’s shoes. Your level of gratitude increases.

ACTION STEP:
Find a people, point of view, or perspective that you don’t understand. The more it’s one that you don’t like, the more possible growth you can experience later. Take a moment and consider the history and present reality of that perspective. Ask, communicate and interact with those who think that way. Be non-judgmental and assume that you do not know the answer.

After doing some hands-on personal and experiential research you will see things from another point of view. You may not have to agree with it but now you understand why there’s a perceived validity to that perspective. The idea is no longer foreign. It’s now a part of your awareness. It expands your experience as a human being. You now have a greater understanding of your environment. You can react in a more informed way to changes or challenges and you are more of a resource to those around you for your family, friends, and in your career.

This is the way of the future. The labels are disappearing, the social distance between one people and another are becoming smaller, global interaction is increasing and all that’s left is your intention. What’s your intention?

Please share your experience here for all the readers of this community to enjoy!

Did you like this post and find it valuable? Take a moment and subscribe to the blog! As a THANK YOU I’ll send you an unreleased track from my latest CD showing intentional collaboration in action!

Welcome To Intentional Collaboration

The Band Is Ready to Play

The concert is about to start. The bandleader counts off the first song of the night …

  1. The audience waits in anticipation as the stage lights go up and the house lights go down.
  2. We know the music, we’ve done enough rehearsing to play it tight, we have the set list and music in order, we’ve done a proper soundcheck so all the instruments are at the right volume and balance …
  3. But we still don’t know what’s going to happen next, nor does the audience, what excursions we are going to take before we make it to the other side, it’s never the same from one night to the next …
  4. We’re ready, less than a second to go … Boom, the music starts.

 

The Journey Begins

We know the music but we’re open that anything could happen. We play while we listen – more heavily listening to each other so our individual playing is all a part of a whole.

Upon inspiration any band member can do something different at any moment and we’ll all, as a group, make music out of it. We play while listening hard – like riding a wave. Fully focused and concentrated but completely open. It’s a four-piece band tonight. One person leads and the other three instantly respond.

Everyone in the band was born in a different part of the country, grew up in different ways and circumstances, and no one is the same age but we’re all equals in bringing our best to the table to shape what’s happening right now.

 

Leadership Becomes Fluid

Anyone can jump in with a leading idea if it’s good enough (maybe even great), relevant, and gives space for the other band members to give an interesting response that adds to the value of the music.

Sometimes an idea doesn’t work. No problem, move on. The game hasn’t stopped. As long as it’s game on every moment counts.

When leadership is required, the leader steps in, steering control of the moment to stay on course.

 

There’s one goal – success through collaboration…Welcome to jazz!

Why has jazz become such an interesting and intriguing art form? Because it reflects life. It reflects the apex of a mindset of intentional collaboration.

It must be the intention of the leader to want others to contribute to their vision.

A Forbes Insights report surveyed 321 executives with direct responsibility or oversight for their companies’ diversity and inclusion programs. The top key finding of the survey is that diversity is a key driver of innovation and is a critical component of being successful on a global scale.

“Diverse teams and companies make better decisions.” – Eileen Taylor, global head of diversity, Deutsche Bank.

The top, most innovative companies like Google, Apple, and Alibaba swear by including the diverse ideas of their employees to help drive the company. But here’s the key that makes it all work….listening.

So how do you listen? How do you collaborate? That will be the subject of this blog.

 

ACTION STEP:

Communication is an opportunity to expand what we know, not just confirm our own running thoughts. Take the opportunity to make yourself more valuable by expanding your awareness. In your next communication, don’t assume that you know the answer. Assume that you don’t know the answer.

Next time you are speaking to someone, listen to them.

Have you had a positive listening experience that helped you collaborate with someone? Please share your experience here for myself and the readers to enjoy!

 

Did you like this post and find it valuable? Take a moment and subscribe to the blog! As a THANK YOU I’ll send you an unreleased track from my latest CD showing intentional collaboration in action!

 

Inspiration vs. Intellect in Improvisation

Hearing vs. Seeing – Trusting Your Ear

 
After a standing ovation concert with Clifton Anderson’s Quintet in Schenectady, NY the band went back to the hotel to have some food, drink and cool off before the evening was done. A friend of Clifton was asking saxophonist, Eric Wyatt, and myself questions about how to learn jazz and improvisation.

It made me think about some the biggest challenges I went through and what my students have to go through to be able to get a handle on the experience of jazz improvisation. I’ve noticed that when we go to school almost everything we’re taught relies on memorizing something or seeing something. In math, writing, science, reading, history, etc. almost all the information input is originally presented as visual (funny enough except for foreign language and even that is 90% visual at the beginning – looking at words, reading them and writing them out). I experienced as a teacher (bass teacher, band director, or teaching workshops) that most of my students had almost a complete disconnection with being open to sound as a way of learning something or as a reliable information input.

So the biggest challenge for the student learning jazz improvisation is how do you get to opening up more of your ear and trusting yourself with what you are hearing? You can learn all the scales and chords you want but at the end of the day that’s only the mechanics, that’s not the music. The most important part of the music is what you can’t see, what you can’t write out. Even if you write out the notes you can only approximate how that particular passage is played. Even with the all the correct notes on paper the “right notes” are only about 25% of the music that you’re trying to make with those notes.

I’ll never forget the moment I learned to stop thinking and just trust my ear. I was at a period where I was practicing about 2-4 hours a day depending on the day in addition to performing and going to music school. I was playing all the right notes but I wasn’t really making any music yet. One Sunday afternoon I was on a church concert with a jazz quartet. The bandleader, saxophonist Leonard Hochman, was known in the Boston area (I was at Berklee College of Music at the time). We had rehearsed the music earlier that week and everything in the concert was going well and smoothly. Then near the end of the concert we played an original composition that Lennie had recently written. The chart (sheet music) was a little hard to follow and the piece was new so we barely knew it. Somehow at end of the saxophone solo I got totally lost trying to read the chart and I didn’t know where we were. Then the bandleader turned around and said “bass solo”.

I freaked. But of course taking the advice of the old deodorant commercials –  “Never let them see you sweat”. It was a sold out concert with about 150 people or more in attendance at the church and all eyes and ears we on me. I didn’t know where we were. And there was no backing out. The chart was useless to me at that point and the guitar player started to accompany my solo. I had to listen to my inner inspiration and to the guitar player to figure out what to do. I couldn’t stop, thinking about it wouldn’t have done anything, there was nothing on the paper to analyze or think – I didn’t know where we were. So it was the guitar player, me, a sold out house, and my inspiration – that was it. So I played. I don’t know what I played. I played what I heard for the first time because there was nothing visual to follow. At the end of the solo it got a huge applause.

We did one more song and the concert was over. I was totally embarrassed. Before I had a chance to apologize to the band, people were coming up to me and saying that bass solo was the best moment of the whole concert. One after the other, compliment after compliment, and even the band members were saying saying, “Wow, I’ve never heard you play like that. You outdid yourself!”. i admitted to the guitar player I was totally lost. He turned to me with a smile and said maybe I should do that more often.

Lucky for me the song was a ballad. As it turned out I had played it perfectly or at least I had covered my mistakes extremely well. That moment made me think. That was the first time I trusted my ear. My ear was so much better than what I would have played if I knew where I was. My ear was on a completely different level than what I was normally doing when I “knew” every note that I was playing. I took the guitar players advice. I tried to find more moments of going with the ear and not thinking. My playing completely opened up.

It’s a fine line because you still have to follow the music and play the “right notes” that go along with the music. But what happens is you get heightened inner instincts so you can “let go” more often. Over time music-making becomes an interplay of thinking and non-thinking/sound-only inspiration. The less you can think and still follow and be in the music the better. This takes time. This takes listening to a lot of recordings too. This takes bandstand experience. This takes letting go in the practice room too. I doesn’t happen overnight. But it can happen and little more every night and every day.

Trust your inner ear. Refine the “grey area” that you’re hearing in your head into the notes on your instrument. Always listen. Listen to recordings, listen to the other band members on the bandstand, and listen to yourself. That’s where the music is. It’s not on the paper. The paper can help but it can never really give you the music. And at the end of the day the audience responds to the music, not the notes 🙂

Keep listening and practicing!

Paul

Dee Daniels at Smoke!

Dee Daniels is featuring a stellar, all-star band at Smoke Friday, Feb 14th and Saturday, Feb 15th, 2014. The weekend at Smoke is celebrating a CD Release Party for “State Of The Art”, her debut on Criss Cross Jazz Records. “State Of The Art” is also the first vocalist-led album for the famous Criss Cross Jazz Records label, who have been releasing recordings for over three decades. The band features vocalist, Dee Daniels, with Antonio Hart on saxophone, Paul Beaudry on bass, Alvester Garnett on drums, and Cyrus Chestnut on piano for Friday night (Feb. 14th) and Helen Sung on piano for Saturday night (Feb. 15th).

Dee Daniels is world-renown for telling stories with her songs along with her amazing voice and vocal range. The new release “State Of The Art” features her ensemble’s interpretation and arrangements of 12 jazz standards. This weekend’s performance will feature mostly songs from the new CD but will also highlight a few others from previous releases.

Sets are 7pm, 9pm and 10:30pm at Smoke, 2751 Broadway (at 106th St), New York, NY 10025. Reservations highly recommended 212-864-6662. See you there!

Pathways at The Kitano Feb 7th!

Paul Beaudry and Pathways will be returning to The Kitano on Feb 7th, 2013 with some new music and arrangements of jazz inspired by popular and folk songs of the Americas and South and Central Asia. As “your jazz passport to the world” Pathways will play their version of songs they’ve experienced on the road as U.S. State Dept cultural ambassadors or songs of internationally acclaimed composers not well known in the U.S. Featuring music from Brazil, Cuba, Argentina, Suriname, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and many others it will be a unique, unforgettable and global musical journey.

Paul Beaudry & Pathways is Paul Beaudry – bass; Tim Armacost – tenor sax, soprano sax, alto flute; Bennett Paster – piano; and Tony Jefferson – drums and vocals.

Sets are 8pm and 10pm at The Kitano, 66 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016. Reservations recommended 212-885-7119. $10 cover, $15 food/drink minimum. See you there!

Free concert July 11th!

We’re doing a free concert at 6:30pm at Waterfront Park, Dobbs Ferry, NY this Wednesday night as a part of Jazz Forum Arts’ 13th Annual Dobbs Ferry Summer Music Series. We’ll be featuring music from our latest CD “Americas” as well as a few from our self-titled debut “Paul Beaudry & Pathways”. We had a successful tour in Venezuela recently and added a new song from there “Alma Llanera” to our repertoire.

Here’s a recent review that just came in of “Americas” from the Critical Jazz blog.

Jacques Schwarz-Bart will be joining us again on tenor sax along with myself, Tony Jefferson on drums and vocal, and Bennett Paster on piano.

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Waterfront Park, Dobby Ferry, NY
6:30-8:00pm
Free parking at Metro North train station during concerts
(Indoors at Embassy Community Center, 60 Palisade St. if rain)

40th Birthday Party at Smoke

Well what do you know I’m turning 40 this week. It’s been a long up and down road but I can’t think of a better way of celebrating than to play some of the greatest music in the world, with some of the greatest musicians in the world, at one of the greatest places in the world, celebrating with some of the greatest people and my favorite friends in the world. May the Creator bless everyone and let’s continue working toward and hoping for a brighter future for all. In the meantime we can stop and celebrate the journey.

Come by even if it’s just for a moment and be a part of the celebration (and bring a camera). Here’s the info:

Dee Daniels Quartet:
Dee Daniels – vocals
Bob Kindred – tenor sax
Carlton Holmes – piano
Paul Beaudry – bass
Dwayne “Cook” Broadnax – drums

Smoke
Thursday, July 5th sets at 7pm, 9pm, 10:30pm
2751 Broadway (and 106th St.)
New York, NY 10025
7pm & 9pm: no cover, two-course dinner prix-fixe available for $29.95
10:30pm: no cover, $20 minimum (dinner optional)
212-864-6662
www.smokejazz.com

Hope you can make it!
Paul

CD Release party at the Kitano!

Paul Beaudry & Pathways will be releasing their second CD Americas on May 17th at the Kitano. Released by the Soundkeeper Recordings label the music features some of the songs we heard and played on our 2010 Rhythm Road tour to Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Nicaragua and Honduras as well as songs from four other countries in the Caribbean and South America. Songs included are: “Every Time Ah Pass” (Trinidad), “Maria” (Suriname), “Nicaragua Nicaraguita” (Nicaragua), “El Bananero (The Banana Vendor)” (Honduras), “D’leau” (Haiti), “El Panuelo De Pepa” (Cuba), “Zamba Alegre” (Argentina), “O Que E Amar” (Brazil) and lastly “Harmonia Mundi” (USA) written by our pianist, Bennett Paster. Many of the songs are popular folk tunes but played using our original arrangements and keeping their Caribbean or South American flavor.

The music we play on May 17th will feature mostly songs from the new Americas CD but we’ll also play a few from our first release (Paul Beaudry & Pathways) and some we learned from our latest tour to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh and India. It will be a mixed bag of music and definitely a night to remember! Also we’ll be signing CDs and it will be the first opportunity to get one in person.

Sets are at 8pm and 10pm and the address is The Kitano, 66 Park Ave (at East 38th St), New York, NY 10016 featuring their new jazz room! There is a $10 cover and a $15 food/drink minimum per person per set. Come party with us, this release has been highly anticipated internationally since our return from our 2010 Latin American tour.

 

“Americas” Paul Beaudry & Pathways new CD!

The quartet, Pathways, recorded a new CD for the Soundkeeper label last spring called “Americas”. It will be released in May of 2012. It will feature many of the tunes we learned on the road from the Latin America tour last year and our jazz arrangements of a few more Caribbean and South American songs. More on that as it comes closer.

 

Kickstarter CD Fundraising Campaign

The Kickstarter CD fundraising campaign for the ‘Paul Beaudry & Adam Rafferty – New Tomorrows’ project was successful. It looks like that CD will be ready for release by the summer of 2012. By that time it will have been 4 years in the making, that project started in 2008.