Monday, March 31, 2014

Charlie Patton (1891-1934)

Charlie Patton was the first great Delta bluesman; from him flowed nearly all the elements that would comprise the region’s blues style.  Patton had a course, earthy voice that reflected hard times and hard living.  His guitar style - percussive and raw - matched his vocal delivery.

    He often played slide guitar and gave that style a position of prominence in Delta blues.  Patton’s songs were filled with lyrics that dealt with more than mere narratives of love gone bad.  Patton often injected a personal viewpoint into his music and explored issues like social mobility (pony Blues), imprisonment (High Sheriff Blues), nature (High Water Blues), and morality (Oh Death) that went far beyond traditional male - female relationship themes.

    Patton defined the life of a bluesman.  He drank and smoked excessively.  He reportedly had a total of eight wives.  He was jailed at least once.  He traveled extensively, never staying in one place for too long.

  Patton’s standing in blues history is immense; no country blues artist, save Blind Lemon Jefferson, exerted more influence on the future of the form or on its succeeding generation of stylists than Patton.  Everyone from Son House, Howlin' Wolf, and Robert Johnson to Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and Elmore James can trace their blues styles back to Patton.

    In a since, Charlie Patton, in addition to being a bluesman of the highest caliber, might also be the first rock & roller.  Patton was far from passive when he performed in front of an audience.  It was not uncommon for him to play the guitar between his knees or behind his back.  He also played the instrument loud and rough.  Patton jumped around and used the back of his guitar like a drum.  He was a showman and made histrionics part of his act.  Patton was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1980.

If the Delta country blues has a convenient source point, it would probably be Charley Patton, its first great star. His hoarse, impassioned singing style, fluid guitar playing, and unrelenting beat made him the original king of the Delta blues. Much more than your average itinerant musician, Patton was an acknowledged celebrity and a seminal influence on musicians throughout the Delta. 

Rather than bumming his way from town to town, Patton would be called up to play at plantation dances, juke joints, and the like. He'd pack them in like sardines everywhere he went, and the emotional sway he held over his audiences caused him to be tossed off of more than one plantation by the ownership, simply because workers would leave crops unattended to listen to him play any time he picked up a guitar. 

He epitomized the image of a '20s "sport" blues singer: rakish, raffish, easy to provoke, capable of downing massive quantities of food and liquor, a woman on each arm, with a flashy, expensive-looking guitar fitted with a strap and kept in a traveling case by his side, only to be opened up when there was money or good times involved. His records -- especially his first and biggest hit, "Pony Blues" -- could be heard on phonographs throughout the South. Although he was certainly not the first Delta bluesman to record, he quickly became one of the genre's most popular. By late-'20s Mississippi plantation standards, Charley Patton was a star, a genuine celebrity.

Although Patton was roughly five foot, five inches tall and only weighed a Spartan 135 pounds, his gravelly, high-energy singing style (even on ballads and gospel tunes it sounded this way) made him sound like a man twice his weight and half again his size. Sleepy John Estes claimed he was the loudest blues singer he ever heard and it was rumored that his voice was loud enough to carry outdoors at a dance up to 500 yards away without amplification. His vaudeville-style vocal asides -- which on record give the effect of two people talking to each other -- along with the sound of his whiskey- and cigarette-scarred voice would become major elements of the vocal style of one of his students, a young Howlin' Wolf.

His guitar playing was no less impressive, fueled with a propulsive beat and a keen rhythmic sense that would later plant seeds in the boogie style of John Lee Hooker. Patton is generally regarded as one of the original architects of putting blues into a strong, syncopated rhythm, and his strident tone was achieved by tuning his guitar up a step and a half above standard pitch instead of using a capo. His compositional skills on the instrument are illustrated by his penchant for finding and utilizing several different themes as background accompaniment in a single song. 

Charley Patton 58 Videos

His slide work -- either played in his lap like a Hawaiian guitar and fretted with a pocket knife, or in the more conventional manner with a brass pipe for a bottleneck -- was no less inspiring, finishing vocal phrases for him and influencing contemporaries like Son House and up-and-coming youngsters like Robert Johnson. He also popped his bass strings (a technique he developed some 40 years before funk bass players started doing the same thing), beat his guitar like a drum, and stomped his feet to reinforce certain beats or to create counter rhythms, all of which can be heard on various recordings. Rhythm and excitement were the bywords of his style.

The second, and equally important, part of Patton's legacy handed down to succeeding blues generations was his propensity for entertaining. One of the reasons for Charley Patton's enormous popularity in the South stems from his being a consummate barrelhouse entertainer. Most of the now-common guitar gymnastics modern audiences have come to associate with the likes of a Jimi Hendrix, in fact, originated with Patton. 

His ability to "entertain the peoples" and rock the house with a hell-raising ferociousness left an indelible impression on audiences and fellow bluesmen alike. His music embraced everything from blues, ballads, ragtime, to gospel. And so keen were Patton's abilities in setting mood and ambience, that he could bring a barrelhouse frolic to a complete stop by launching into an impromptu performance of nothing but religious-themed selections and still manage to hold his audience spellbound. Because he possessed the heart of a bluesman with the mindset of a vaudeville performer, hearing Patton for the first time can be a bit overwhelming; it's a lot to take in as the music, and performances can careen from emotionally intense to buffoonishly comic, sometimes within a single selection. It is all strongly rooted in '20s black dance music and even on the religious tunes in his repertoire, Patton fuels it all with a strong rhythmic pulse.

He first recorded in 1929 for the Paramount label and, within a year's time, he was not only the largest-selling blues artist but -- in a whirlwind of recording activity -- also the music's most prolific. Patton was also responsible for hooking up fellow players Willie Brown and Son House with their first chances to record. It is probably best to issue a blanket audio disclaimer of some kind when listening to Patton's total recorded legacy, some 60-odd tracks total, his final session done only a couple of months before his death in 1934. No one will never know what Patton's Paramount masters really sounded like. When the company went out of business, the metal masters were sold off as scrap, some of it used to line chicken coops. 

All that's left are the original 78s -- rumored to have been made out of inferior pressing material commonly used to make bowling balls -- and all of them are scratched and heavily played, making all attempts at sound retrieval by current noise-reduction processing a tall order indeed. That said, it is still music well worth seeking out and not just for its place in history. Patton's music gives us the first flowering of the Delta blues form, before it became homogenized with turnarounds and 12-bar restrictions, and few humans went at it so aggressively.
Cub Koda

Robert Santelli -- The Big Book of Blues :  A Biographical Encyclopedia

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Prepared Guitar on TWITTER

Francis Bacon Middle Panel of Triptych In Memory of George Dyer 1971. Oil on canvas

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Hasse Poulsen 13 questions

HASSE POULSEN born 1956 in Kopenhagen, is a Danish jazz guiar player and composer, based in Paris.
Diploma as a guitarist and music teacher from The Royal Conservatory of Jazz, Copenhagen 1990.
Private Studies of Composition with Bent Sørensen 1988-1990. Berklee College in Boston spring term 1985. Private guitar studies with Chrisitan Sievert Karsten Houmark, Brett Wilmott, Mike Stern and others. Three-year grant from the Danish National foundation of Art 2001-2003
Price for best composition at Musikskole biennale i Vejle for Dance Danes Dance. 2007 Artist in residence at the Dynamo in Pantin/ Festival Banlieues Bleues 2008-2009. Artist in residence in Champagne-Ardennes 2008/2009/2010
Carte blanche at le Petit faucheux in Tours: january 2009 three day feature inviting, Mauc Ducret, Speeq, Emil De Waal, Hugues Vincent, André Minvielle, Roger Turner, Roy Poulsen Chevillon, Das Kapital. ”Expert musique Jazz/improvised music” in DRAC Ile-de-France dec 2010-

Hélène Labarrière 4tet, Hasse Poulsen, Jazz à Vannes 2008, Vannes, Bretagne, France, 01/08/08,Photo Yann Renoult

Playing in several groups :

As leader                                                     
Progressive Patriots       Guillaume Orti, Stéphane Payen, Tom Rainey, Hasse Poulsen, Henrik Simonsen


Das Kapital :  Daniel Erdmann, Edward Perraud                 
We Are All Americans : Adrien Dennefeld, Julien Chamla, Benjamin Flament
Asunder                         Paul Dunmall, Mark Sanders
Jacobsen & Poulsen          duo with martin jacobsen
Wonderland                    Nicolas Humbert, Martin Otter + Das Kapital
Roy Poulsen Chevillon       Guillaume Roy, Bruno Chevillon                    
Speeq                           Phil Minton, Luc Ex, Marc Sanders                 

sideman in
Hélène Labarièrre Quartet   François Corneloup, Christophe Marguet 
SOL12        Luc Ex, Varyan Weston + Franz Hautzinger, Hannah Marshall, Ingrid Laubrock,  Isabelle Duthoit, Johannes Bauer,  Mandy Drummond, Rozemarie Heggen, Tatiana Koleva, Tony Buck. 

Among many others he had played with:

Louis Sclavis Napolis Walls with Méderic Collignon and Vincent Courtois, Sound Kitchen with Teppo
Hauta-Aho and Jari Hongisto, Titanic duo with Pierre Dørge, Cinema Scandinave Jakob Davidsen, Torben Snekkestad, Lars Andreas Haug, Jakob Banke, John Ehde, bwith Nina Bjørk Eliasson, Maria
Bisgaard, Martin Bregnhøj, Big Slam Napoli Sclavis, Dgiz, Merville, Collignon, Courtois, Brousseau Vision 7Pascal Niggenkemper, Frantz Loriot, Emilie Lesbros, Eve Risser, Christian Lillinger, Frank Gratkowski, Eric Brochard, Joëlle Léandre, François Houle, Paul Rutherford , Pierre Dørge, Ayi Solomon, Phil Durrant, Marcio Mattos, Serge Adams John Butcher, Mark Sanders, Roberto Bellatalla, Jakob Riis, Barry Guy, Frode Gjerstad, Nick Stephens, Louis Moholo, Phil Minton, Sten Sandell, Terje Isungset, Arve Henriksen, Audun Kleive, Niels Petter Molvær, Peter Brötzmann, Steve Hubback, Lotte Anker, Benita Haastrup, Markus Stockhausen,Thomas Clausen, Raymond Strid, Sophie Agnel, Lars Møller, Thomas Sandberg, Jens Hørsving, Fredrik Søegaard, Emmanuel Rahim, Francois Merville, Tony Moore, Barre Phillips, Olivier Sens, Benoit Delbecq, Jean-Luc Capozzo, Bruno Tocanne, Lionel Martin, Nico Ticot, Emil de Waal, Hugues Vincent, Roger Turner, Bart Maris.....

Which was the first instrument do you remember?

The first instrument I remember is my mother's voice singing English nursery rhymes and Danish children's songs. A few years later at the age of 6 flutes were important. I used to make a lot of flutes myself in the spring time from fresh twigs of the willow trees. And then violin, and then guitar (I did not make them from fresh willow twigs).

Why do you love the guitar?

I do not necessarily love the guitar. The guitar is part of me. So sometimes it fulfills me and sometimes it seems far away and strange. If the question is why I chose the guitar, I can answer that it was the only real instrument for me as a boy.

My uncle played played guitar and sang American songs. and I wanted to do just that. Music is so much, so trying to discover yourself and life, you discover many more or less strange kinds of music. And they all become part of you.

And the guitar is home. I love sitting or standing with the instrument, or walking around in the woods or where­ever playing, losing myself. Practicing is for my a necessary time of meditation. I am usually not very structured but let the instrument and the fingers take the lead.

27-28/4 1997 Kaos och Komplexitet, Exercishuset, Goteborg, gæster: Hasse Poulsen, Martin Dennis og Ulrik Hansen

Which work of your own are you most proud of?

There are actually many of my recorded tunes that I am proud of. Maybe I am proud of certain compositions or ideas. My playing does not make me proud. Sometimes I like it. Most often I recognize it.
See, nobody plays the music I "hear", the music that express what I want to hear, so I have to do that, and do it the best that I can. It does not always come out as I thought or hoped, but it always makes me discover new things, about music itself, new thoughts.
So proud? how be proud? Music just is, like willow twigs. It is nothing and it is all.

Tell me something you need from music?

I need money.

Alessio Riccio - Drums, Percussion; Laptops; Hybridized Rhythmicity, Sound Mosaics, Hasse Poulsen - Guitars, Monica Demuru, Catherine Jauniaux - Vocals

What is your relationship with other disciplines such as painting, literature, dance, theater ...?

I like going to exhibitions of contemporary art, I find that very inspiring. Actually it is not always inspiring. I like to see personal works. As soon as an institutional feeling starts to take over, as soon as I see more style than expression, I loose the interest.

One of Murphy's laws state: " as soon as you raise a building for an idea, the idea is dead." It seems to me that museums of contemporary art are the temples of our time: Big empty spaces built by price winning architects, temples that worship not an exterior idea or power, but worships man itself and man's creations. Very often these creations are completely insignificant made by artists and commisionairies that master and fulfil a kind of business. And these works of art need long incomprehensible texts, that just like during the catholic heyday have a preference for latin words.

As you see, I get very inspired by contemporary art. The old stuff like Picasso and Raphael and such can be enjoyable too. Books also; I enjoy reading. Sometimes great litterature like Tony Morrison or Truman Capote or philosophic writings by Hannah Arendt or Villy Sørensen. I also enjoy reading pulp fiction say the Hunger Games or Ex Heroes or what not. I like to read.

Theatre has never interested me. Once in a while I try, and sometimes I enjoy it, but mostly, I just want to get out of there as soon as possible. I enjoy Cinema and I am for many reasons a big fan of Lars Von Trier (and Almodovar, Kaurismaki, Loach, Vinterberg...), I like the humour and humanity they use while treating heavy subjects.

Das Kapital. 15 videos

I like the lightness, I can't stand when artists of any kind take themselves too seriously, when they try to be deep by treating heavy subjects seriously, carrying signs saying ”Respect, please. History is being made here.” I am a big fan of Broadway, of treating heavy subjects in a light way, and then performing as well as possible. Hey, these people can dance, sing and act on a very high level! And they get paid next to nothing.
And I love dancing and watching dance performances ­ and other kinds of performances.

So what is my relation to these arts?
I think that they are all different fields of expression, and that the arts can inspire each other mutually on an abstract level. Music is the art of listening to sounds, and this takes up a special place in the mind. Words take up a different space as again does painting or litterature. I do not believe in mixing the arts. In doing so new forms of art are created, which is good, but for my taste, I prefer Wagner when nobody is singing.
This is not quite true: actually I love all kinds of transgression: Transgression is the true area of living imagination. What I do not like is when one artform is evoked in order to make another artform more noble. (Long words and concepts at an exibiton, Music presented as theatre or history or philosophy). These concepts usually reduce more than they create.

What's your fetish device in the sound chain?

The pick, I guess (danes: don't laugh!). I do not feel real without a fresh violet 2mm Dunlop pick between my right thumb and index.

Composé par Nicolas Stochl / Hasse Poulsen

A valuable advice that someone has gifted to you in the past?

When I was 19, I worked some months as a workman for a carpenter.
One day I had to make some squares that were to be placed around some lamps in the ceiling.
During the work I ask the chief how precise I should be with the corners and cutting. He just said:

” You should always do your best”. That is a piece of advice I try to follow.

What quality do you admire most in a musician?

Everyone is different. It is difficult to think of some special quality that is universally positive.
Some are flashy and superficial, others are deep and to the point, some are great showpeople, others are rather grey and discreet. Some are great virtuosos, others just know use the basics, some are conservative and reproducing, others are break all rules and try everthing...What matters is
only whether they are able to get their music across.

What led you to the improvisation?

First of all, from the moment I started playing jazz music and the guitar at the age of 13, improvisation was a central occupation. Later on I studied composition with Bent Sørensen, and I thought: "hey, I am a jazz musician, so I have to be able to improvise this music". So I started to incorporate the language of socalled contemporary music, trying to sound like Ligeti, Penderecki, Stockhausen, Nørgaard.. which is a direct way to the language of free improvised music. Later concerns are more on sound and production ­ being in the moment ­ than the actual choice of technique on the instrument. I believe that you can improvise with any element of music. Improvising is working in a certain state of mind.

What dead artist would you like to have collaborated with?

Oh, there are so many. You can't say "booh!" to your great great grandfather, that's one of the sad things of life. Of the living, I would love to tour with Paul Simon and I would love to improvise with Paul Lovens...
I would have loved to have met and played with my great grand father. Otherwise there are many people that I would have loved to hear in concert: Duke Ellington, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Jo Jones, Fats Waller, Scott Joplin, Huddie Leadbetter, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart … all these great musicians form before recorning was possible. What did an opera sound like in the age of Verdi? And music in ancient Athens. I am really glad to have been born in the age of recorded music.


What’s the difference between a good guitar and a bad guitar?

A good guitar has a lot of depth in the sound, thus giving you a huge scope of possibilities.
With a poor guitar you have to fight even to get the basics of sound across.
This is true for amps and effects as well. This does not mean that I am looking for a particular sound. Each instrument – and amp – has it's specific sound, what is important is that it is flexible and can be used with a lot of nuances.

What was the first solo you learned from a record — and can you still play it?

It is probably the introduction to Octopusses garden, and I can probably play it still. I have transcribed a lot of solos but I can't play any of them now.
Das Kapital

What’s your next project about?

My next project is about love and murder. It is drama and conciliation. Suspense.

I have many ideas and projects on the table. Too Many.
These days I am releasing my singer­songwriter CD: THE MAN THEY CALL ASS Sings Until
Everything is Sold. I have been working on this beauty for almost ten years, so it is about the time
to release it. Also I am working on a song cycle called THE LANGSTON PROJECT with American/ Danish singer Debbie Cameron, Dutch bassist Luc Ex and English drummer Mark Sanders. It is songs
based on poems by Langston Hughes mostly written by me, some by Luc and a couple we wrote
together. Das Kapital will release KIND OF RED in january. That is really a great CD with our own
compositions. There is a duo with Hélène Labarrière based on popular songs played instrumentally, a duo with Peter Corser around circular breathing. This is a very ambitious project and I is great fun working
with his compositions – and making some of my own. and let's not forget the duo with guitarist Richard Bonnet. we just released a duo CD on Futura and Marge records COLORS IN WATER AND STEEL. It has a lot of preparations and effects and sacred improvising.


Alessio Riccio: Nishubar - Unorthodox recordings

Hélène Labarrière Quartet: Désordre - Innacor records
We Are All Americans - Das Kapital Records

Das Kapital Loves Christmas - Das Kapital Records

Dunmall, Gibbs, Poulsen, Sanders: His life and sayings -FMR records

Sanders, Poulsen, Dunmall: Asunder  - Kilogram records
Hasse Poulsen Progressive Patriots - Das Kapital Records
Conflicts & Conclusions, Das kapital plays Hanns Eisler - Das Kapital Records
Hasse Poulsen’s Sound of Choice: Hippies With Money - Quark records

Roy Poulsen Chevillon: Une Certaine forme de Politesse - Quark records


Ballads & Barricades Das Kapital plays Hanns Eisler - Das Kapital Records/Wizmar records

Wonderland on Tour - Jazzwerkstadt

L’art abstrait n’a pas dit son dernier mot - Quark records

Kobu: L’empreinte

Dance Danes Dance  CD / DVD - Hvidovre Musikskole


Louis Sclavis: La Moitie du Monde - JMS records                

Hélène Labarièrre Quartet: Les Temps Changent - Emouvance records

SPEEQ: OR - Red Note records


Das Kapital: All Gods have Children - QUARK Records

Hasse Poulsen's Sound of Choice: Rugby  in japan - QUARK Records

Søegaard/Poulsen And we also caught a Fish - Leo records

Gjerstad, Moholo, Poulsen, Stephens: Calling Signals  Loose Torque
invisible correspondance - PAO records

Das Kapital collectors series n°1    


Louis Sclavis : Napolis Walls - ECM records

49°  NORD: Tentacles - AV-ART records

Klakki: Lemon River - tutl records

Sound of Choice : Back Street Theatre - LJ records

Léandre Poulsen Houle: C’est ça - Red Toucan records

Sound Kitchen: Pass me the Wine, Please - AV-ART records

Poulsen, Friis, Moholo: Copenhagen - AV-ART records


49°Nord: Animal Language - Unit records     

Klakki: In a Gown of water - Tutl records

Sound of Choice : Dynamics - AV-ART records

Anker Friis Poulsen : Infinite Blueness - AV-ART records

Klakki :Sortner du Sky - AV-ART records

Sound of Choice : Sound of Choice - AV-ART records


Sound of Choice : Triple Exposure - Olufsen records.


Emmanuel Rahim : Harlem - Olufsen records.
Emmanuel Abdul-Rahim | Harlem


Tim Brady 13 questions

Tim Brady

Tim Brady is a composer and guitarist who has created music in a wide range of genres ranging from chamber and orchestral music to electroacoustic works, chamber opera, contemporary dance scores, jazz and free improvisation. He has been commissioned and performed by numerous ensembles and orchestras in North America and Europe including the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Société de musique contemporaine du Québec, New Music Concerts, INA-GRM (Radio-France), the English Guitar Quartet, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, the Esprit Orchestra (CBC), the Philadelphia-based Relâche ensemble, the Australian group Topology, and the British string ensemble The Smith Quartet.

Photo Matt Thomas

In addition to his work as a composer and guitarist, from 1994 to 2004 he served as the Artistic Director of Innovations en concert, a company which he founded. It is one of Montreal's main new music producers, and during his tenure as director he produced over 100 concerts of contemporary music from across Canada and around the world. He also writes frequently for Musicworks Magazine, and has served on the boards of Codes d'accès, The Canadian League of Composers and the Music Gallery. He is currently the president of the Canadian New Music Network.

Since 1988 he has released 20 CDs as both a composer and a performer on Justin Time Records and, more recently, on the Ambiances magnétiques and ATMA Classique labels. His three most recent CDs are: Atacama: Symphonie #3 (ATMA Classique - Feb. 2013), the 4-CD/DVD boxed set 24 Frames (Ambiances magnétiques - Oct. 2011), for solo guitar and video, and My 20th Century (Ambiances magnétiques - 2009), a multi-media work for his Bradyworks ensemble. His two most recent major orchestral works are the Viola Concerto (Orchestre symphonique de Laval - Mar. 2013) and The Absence of Shelling is Almost Like Music, for cello, video and orchestra, commissioned by the Orchestre symphonique de Québec (Feb. 2013). Other recent orchestral pieces include Requiem 21.5: Violin Concerto, commissioned by Symphony Nova Scotia (2012) and  Amplify, Multiply, Remix and Redfine: in memory of Les Paul (for 21 electric guitars & orchestra), commissioned for the 2010 Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra New Music Festival. His most recent international success was the June 2010 production of excerpts from "24 Frames - Trance" at the Bang on a Can Marathon in New York City, as well as a 6-city East Coast US tour in September 2012.

Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Foyer, Amsterdam,September 30th, 2007;Photo Co Broerse

Brady regularly tours North America, Europe, Asia and Australia as an electric guitar soloist, performing his own music as well as new works which he commissions from other composers in his effort to create a new voice for the electric guitar. He has performed at many leading venues including The South Bank Centre and the ICA (London), The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), The Darwin International Guitar Festival (Australia), the Bang on a Can Festival (NY), and De Ijsbreker (Amsterdam), Radio-France (Paris), the Barcelona Contemporary Music Festival and BKA (Berlin). He has recorded extensively for Radio-Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Netherlands Public Radio, Radio-France, Spanish National Radio and National Public Radio in the USA. In 1999 his Strange Attractors World Tour took him to 10 countries for a total of 23 concerts.

His new music ensemble Bradyworks has toured Canada six times (1991, 1994, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2009), performed in the United States, and records regularly for both the CBC and Radio-Canada. The ensemble released its first CD in 1991, entitled Inventions, and released its second recording, Revolutionary Songs, in 1996 to coincide with its performance at the Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville. In the autumn of 2003 the group released its third CD, entitled Unison Rituals, and presented its first European tour, including a radio performance for the BBC Radio 3 programme "Hear and Now", along with concerts in Aberdeen, Dublin and Cork. The ensemble recently presented Brady's two chamber operas in highly successful productions: Three Cities in the Life of Dr. Norman Bethune (Montreal, 2003 / Toronto, 2005), and The Salome Dancer (Kitchener, 2005). In May 2008 it presented 5 performances of the multi-media work My 20th Century in a tour across Québec, including a performance at the Festival international de musique actuelle de Victoriaville.  My 20th Century's success continued in 2009, with a 10-city Canadian tour, to rave reviews.

In January 2013 his work "Atacama: Symphonie #3" was named "Best new composition of the year" at the Prix OPUS. In 2004 he was awarded the Prix OPUS for "Composer of the Year" by the Conseil québécois de la musique, for the outstanding quality of his work as a creative artist. In Nov. 2006 he was awarded the Jan V. Matejcek Award by SOCAN, for the most concert music performance royalties in Canada for 2005 (francophone category). From 2008 to 2013 he will be serving as the "composer-in-residence" with the Orchestre symphonique de Laval, working with music director Alain Trudel to build a creative music presence in the orchestra and in the city of Laval.

What do you remember about your first guitar?

Like most "baby boomers" (I was born in 1956), it was really The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Television Show (Feb. 9, 1964) that set us down the path of playing guitar. Electric guitar sales increased dramatically from that point on.  I got my first guitar a few years later, and an electric guitar for my 16th birthday,

Why do you need music? Can we live without music?

Since I got my first guitar at 11, music has been a very central part of my life.  There are many psychological and anthropological theories as to why music is important to humans, and they are probably all true in one way or another. Music must be important to our species, look at the enormous amount to time, energy and passion that we put into it.  We would not make music if it was not truly essential.  But it does remain, at least a little bit, a mystery.

So, why do you love the guitar?

I started on guitar, so it's what I do.  In fact, if I had started on oboe, I'd love oboe.  Guitar is no better an instrument than any other instrument, it's just what I do at this point.

Which work of your own  are you most proud of, and why?

I'd have to say I think my most recent CD - Atacama: Symphony #3 (2013)  - is some of my best work, as a composer and producer.  There is very little guitar on the CD, but that is ok.  My previous 3-CD project - 24 Frames -has almost nothing but guitar, and has some good writing and playing.  My next CD is 3 major orchestral pieces (no guitar at all! - coming out in 2015), and I'm very pleased with that music. In general, I am always happier with the writing than with the playing on a project.  I think temperamentally, I am more 55% composer, 45% guitarist (percentage may vary from day to day…)

Depict the sound you're still looking for.

The sound I want is always related to the composition.  I do not want a single "sound" (like say Pat Martino or Bill Frisell or John Scofield or Eric Clapton, etc) - I am amazed at these kind of players, who find their "sound" and just make all sorts of great music with it.  It's incredible. I am more interested in pushing the sonic variety, using the electric guitar for really varied orchestrations.  I think this basic idea is influenced by The Beatles producer George Martin - starting from "The Beatles 65" record, every guitar track sounds different from one song to the next.  He always found a really specific sound for each song.  Think of the difference between "Helter Skelter" and "Michelle", as an extreme example.  But they are the right sounds for the composition.  That is what I am looking for.
In terms of image: depends on the music, but always a sound that makes you want to listen, that makes you want to find out what is going to happen next.

Where are your roots? What are your secret influences?

No secret influences.  Here is the list, in chronological order:

The Beatles / The Allman Brother Band / Todd Rundgren / John McGlaughlin / the ECM guitarists of the 80s/90s - Metheny,Abercrombie, Frisell.../ Pat Martino / Derek Bailey
After that, I get a little too old to be really heavily "influenced" by other players, you start to know yourself as a player and person (and you get old and stuck in your ways!)

As a composer, a different list:

The Beatles / then…Charles Mingus / Debussy / Stravinsky / Elliot Carter / Lutoslawski (especially Symphony #3) / the minimalist trio - Glass/Reich/ Adams/ Bartok / Schostakovitch / and a Canadian composer named Linda Smith.  Again, as you get older, influences tend to be less important.  You just hear what you hear.

What are your motivations for composing?

I just hear this music in my head.  I want to get it out there, so I can hear it, and so others can play it and others can hear it.  I also really love the process of making music - composing it, then working with players to get it together, presenting it to the public. It is really fun! It is not more complicated than that.

How would you define the present time in musical terms?

Poly-stylistic.  Mainstream commercial music seems a bit of a dead end currently, but there is lots of amazing music happening in more out of the way corners - improv, electroacoustic, new orchestral and chamber music, music for amateur players.  We are living in a time of incredibly musical liberty - which is a huge challenge, but very exciting.

What quality do you admire most in music?

Honesty and personality. A point of view.

A valuable advice that someone has gifted to you in the past?

My guitar teacher Mick Goodrick (I studied with him from 1978 - 1980 in Boston) has the most influence on me as a musician.  He had a very strange way of teaching, but it was quite brilliant.  He never answered my questions, just kept pushing me to find the answers myself. Very Zen-style. Never said if I was playing well or not, never told me how to play guitar.  Just kept asking me to look more deeply at the question. It took me a decade after that to figure out what he was getting at but I think it was this:

Every artist must decide what they want to know and do, it is a long, soul-searching process, and it is ultimately their responsibility (and joy) to discover the way to do it.  Nobody else can teach you how to make your music.  In this sense, all creators must be autodidacts to a considerable extent.

Frame 4: Still by Tim Brady Performed live by Duo Verdejo Adrian Verdejo, guitar; Markus Takizawa, viola at the Orpheum Annex on November 17, 2013

What's your fetish device in the sound chain?

Yikes - a big question.  The whole chain is important.  It depends on the music.  For some pieces, the choice of guitar and amp is critical.  For other pieces, it is the larger orchestration, the choice of tone colours.  For other compositions, the electronic processing.  Even the choice of pick is important to the final sound.  It is very context-dependant.

What dead artist would you like to have collaborated with?

I've never thought about this!

What’s your latest project about?

I am working on several projects (several new orchestral pieces and chamber operas) but the newest guitar project is my new electric guitar quartet called Instruments of Happiness.  We are recording my new guitar quartet called "The Same River Twice: Symphony #5.0 and #5.1" - which will be out in 2015.


February 2013

Atacama: Symphony #3 - ATMA Classique

June 2013 - Centrediscs
RANT! - for piano and percussion on CD by Bev Johnston

October 2011
Tim Brady / Martin Messier / Bradyworks
"24 Frames - Trance" + "Scatter"

24 frames



To order CDs via the Internet and
to hear audio clips:

  • February 2013 - Atacama: Symphonie #3 - ATMA CLassique ACD2 - 2676
    featuring 32 musicians, combining Bradyworks with the VivaVoce chamber choir
  • October 2011- 24 Frames - Scatter - Ambiances magnétiques AM 206
    Double CD of solo guitar music and duos with musicians from Bradyworks
  • October 2010 - 24 Frames - Trance - Ambiances magnétiques AM 203
A CD+DVD of this multi-media projet for solo guitar, electronics (Brady) and video (Messier).
  • September 2009 - My 20th Century - Ambiances magnétiques AM 189
A CD+DVD of this multi-media work for 5 musicians, with music and text by Tim Brady and videos by Martin Messier and Oana Suteu
Nominated for a PRIX OPUS 2009-2010: Best contemporary/modern recording of the year

 April 2001 with Tim Brady (the guy with the headless Steinberger guitar) photo by F. Chris Giles

  • October 2007 - SCAT (because we all have voices and stories to tell) - Ambiances magnétiques AM 164
Australia's extraordinary chamber group Topology give stunning performances of four of Brady's most evocative and virtuoso  chamber works. Recorded in Brisbane, Australia.
  • October 2006 - GO [guitar obsession] - Ambiances magnétiques AM 156
    Brady's first solo guitar recording in 4 years combines several exceptional live performances with new studio recordings, including tape, looping, live computer and some flat-out improv. Music by Brady, Tristan Murail, Alexander Burton, Jean-François Laporte and Laurence Crane.
  • November 2005 - Three Cities in the Life of Dr. Norman Bethune - Ambiances magnétiques AM 139
    A one-act chamber opera for solo voice, 8 instruments and tape, featuring a passionate performance by baritone Michael Donovan. The work is an evocation of the last five years (1935 - 1939) in the life of this remarkable doctor, humanitarian and political activist.
    Nominated for a PRIX OPUS 2005-2006: Best contemporary/modern recording of the year

Tim Brady performs his "Strumming (Hommage à John Lennon)," with a video by Martin Messier. Photo Tom Steenland

  • September 2004 - Playing Guitar: Symphony #1 - Ambiances magnétiques AM 125
    The premiere recording of Brady's first symphony, a 46-minute work for solo electric guitar, sampler, 15 musicians and live electronics. The work was recorded by its commissioner, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, under the direction of Lorraine Vaillancourt. Also included is the work "Frame 1 - Resonance" for electric guitar, electronics and piano. A beautiful and ambitious recording project.
    Nominated for a 2004-2005 PRIX OPUS: Best contemporary/modern CD of the year
  • April 2003 - Unison Rituals - Ambiances magnétiques AM 110
    A CD of Brady's chamber and ensemble music for saxophone, include the saxophone quartet "Unison Rituals", three performances by Bradyworks ("Double Helix", "Two Chords Less Than a Blues" and "Escapement", featuring a scordatura guitar part), and a studio realisation of the work "Sound Off", which uses overdubbing to create an ensemble of 48 winds and 3 bass drums. Beautifully recorded at Concordia University's Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, and with great performances from the Quasar saxophone quartet, the KAPPA big band and Bradyworks. Brady'second release for Ambiances magnétiques.

  • November 2002 - Twenty Quarter Inch Jacks - Ambiances magnétiques AM 107
    A new CD of guitar music by Tim Brady, released to coincide with the premiere of the instrumental music theatre work "20 Jacks 1/4", for 20 young guitarists, commissioned by the international theatre festival "Les Coups de theatre". The title track is a 30-minute work for 20 overdubbed guitars, performed by Brady. Also included are two works from 2001, for guitar and sampler/tape: "Music Box Bell Curves ("Hello Paris!)" and "Sauchiehall Street". Almost 60 minutes of guitar madness - Brady's first release on the Ambiances magnétiques label.
  • 2000 - 10 Collaborations - Justin Time Records JTR - 8484/5-2.
    A double CD with almost 2 hours of music including 5 new works by Brady, plus music by Jeremy Peyton-Jones (UK), Wende Bartley (Canada), Tristan Murail (France), Yasuhiro Otani (Japan), Wes Wraggett (Canada) and Atle Pakusch Gundersen (Norway) for solo electric guitar and electronics, multiple guitars, and guitar and chamber ensemble, with guest performances from Bradyworks' soprano Annie Tremblay, harpsichordist vivé vinçent, computer musician Yasuhiro Otani and the Penderecki String Quartet.
    Listed as one of the "Best CDs of 2001"- Downbeat Magazine

  • 1997 - Strange Attractors - Justin Time Records JTR - 8464-2
    Tim Brady - solo electric guitar, electronics, multitrack and computer studio
    Six new works by Tim Brady created using a wide variety of contemporary electronic technology ranging from solo re-tuned guitar to works for computer controlled sound and guitar. Sonic exploration, wild guitar sounds, strong performances and the odd nice "tune" thrown in for good measure.
  • 1996 - Revolutionary Songs - Justin Time Records JTR - 8459-2
    Bradyworks - Tim Brady (gtr.); Nathalie Paulin (soprano); Marie-Josée Simard (perc.); Louise-Andrée Baril (pno.); André Leroux (sax.); Gordon Cleland (cello). The title track is a 39-minute song-cycle based on poetry from the Russian, Angolan, French and Nicaraguan revolutions, sung in English, French and Spanish. Also on the CD are the works Circling (saxophone and vibraphone), Three or Four Days After the Death of Kurt Cobain (cello and piano) and Walker Songs (solo soprano).
  • 1994 - Scenarios - Justin Time Records JTR - 8445-2
    Tim Brady - solo electric guitar and live electronics. Originally recorded live in the CBC studios for the radio show Two New Hours, this CD continues Brady's exploration into developing a new musical language for the electric guitar. Works by Brady, Michael Rosas Cobian, José-Manuel Montañés and Marc Tremblay.

  • 1992 - Imaginary Guitars - Justin Time Records JTR - 8440-2
    Tim Brady - solo electric guitar and live electronics. Voted one of the best guitar CDs of the year by Guitar Player's Editor Joe Gore, this recording presents four solo guitar works with electronics and tape by Brady along with pieces from Paul Dolden, René Lussier and Alain Thibault. The ultimate electroacoutsic guitar experience.
  • 1991 - Inventions - Justin Time Records JTR - 8433-2
    Bradyworks Tim Brady (gtr.); Marie-Josée Simard (perc.); Jacques Drouin (pno./sampler); Chris Best (cello); Simon Stone (sax.) with guest improvisers John Surman (sax.), Barre Phillips (bass) and Pierre Tanguay (perc.). The music from Brady's 1989 music / dance collaboration with choreographer Julie West, combining elements of jazz, minimalism and electroacoustics.
  • 1990 - Double Variations - Justin Time Records JTR - 8415-2
    Tim Brady - electric and acoustic guitars, electronics and synthesizer; John Abercrombie - electric guitar and guitar synthesizer. A large, 14-movement work which intercuts a series of duos between Brady and Abercrombie with 24-track overdubbed guitar textures created by Brady.
  • 1988 - Visions - Justin Time Records JTR - 8413-2
    L'Orchestre de chambre de Montréal, Wanda Kaluzny, conductor; Kenny Wheeler - trumpet & flugelhorn; Tim Brady - solo electric guitar and electronics. The title piece is a 34-minute piece for string orchestra and improvisational soloist and features some of Kenny Wheeler's best recorded solo work. Brady and Wheeler also play duets and Brady's first major work for guitar and electronics, Electric Waves, appears on this CD.

    Other compact discs featuring the music of Tim Brady
  • RANT! - for percussion and piano - Bev Johnston and Pam Reimer - Centredisques 18913 (2013)
    Triple Riffing - for clarinet, violin and piano - Ensemble Resonance - University of Calgary Records (2010)
  • Slow Dances - for clarinet and string quartet - Jean-Guy Boisver (cl.) + Quatuor Bozzini  - ATMA Classique ACD2 2552 (2008)
  • public space / private music - for solo tape (installation) - on "4 X 4 Commissions" CD, limited edition put out by the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, Scotland (2001)
  • Quartet 1998 - for saxophone quartet - on self-titled CD by the group Quasar - les Disques ATMA (2000)

Photo Matt Thomas

  • Waiter, Waiter, Call the Manager - for big band - on the self-titled CD by the KAPPA ensemble (1998)
  • Trois histoires - Brady's performance of Roche noire (chronique irlandaise) appears on this recording of music by composer / guitarist René Lussier - Ambiance Magnetique 041CD (1996)
  • Circling - original version for flute and vibraphone - on Marie-Josée Simard and Lise Daoust's CD "L'Aube Enchantée - Enchanted Dawn" - Les Disques Atma ACD22115 (1997)
  • Reaching Past - for harpsichord and tape - on Vivienne Spiteri's "New Music for Harpsichord from Canada and the Netherlands" - Société nouvelle d'enregistrement SNE - 542 - CD (1988)
  • Changes - for piano, vibraphone and marimba - on Marie-Josée Simard's self-titled solo CD. SNE 572 - CD (1991)
  • Doubling - solo harpsichord version - on Vivienne Spiteri's "comme si l'hydrogène...the desert speaks" - J&W CD931 (1993)

Vinyl (no longer available - copies available on special order only)
  • 1987 - Persistence of Vision - Apparition A-0287-7
    Tim Brady - solo electric and acoustic guitars, delay devices, synthesizer
    Brady's second solo record increasingly uses electronics to enhance the compositional aspects of his guitar playing.A digital recording including a very early use of digital overdubbing using separate audio feeds to the inputs and outputs of the Sony PCM digital encoder.
  • 1985 - dR.E.aM.s - Apparition Records A-0485-5
    Tim Brady - solo electric and acoustic guitars A combination of improvised and composed pieces for solo guitars with little or no electronics or overdubbing. A digital recording.
  • 1984 - Music for Solo Piano - Apparition Records A-0984-4
    Three contemporary classical works for solo piano composed by Brady and performed by pianist Marc Widner.
  • 1983 - Chalk Paper - C Note Records 831043
    Tim Brady - electric & acoustic guitars; Neil Swainson - bass; Terry Clarke - drums and percussion. A jazz trio recording of six Brady originals combining contemporary jazz with elements of free improvisation and more structured compositions.