Red Raspus Music

Home of Musician and Educator David Marriott, Jr.

David Marriott, Jr. is a jazz trombonist, composer/arranger, educator, and blogger. A two-time Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award recipient and winner of the 1999 National Jazz Trombone Competition, David is active in a variety of Seattle jazz groups, including the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, Zubatto Syndicate and his own critically-acclaimed groups Septology and Triskaidekaband.

Joe Locke Clinic at the 2005 Ballard Jazz Festival

The 2005 Ballard Jazz Festival played host to master vibraphonist and personal guru and mentor Joe Locke. If you have not heard Joe Locke play his instrument before, rush out and buy one of his recordings -- yesterday! He's recognized both by critics and fans alike as a tour-de-fource of energy, precision, melodicism, and integrity. I was able to attend Joe's clinic, and while the audience was primarily young people, Joe managed to turn it into a fun event for both kids and adults, amateurs and professionals. Here are some memorable moments I pulled from his hour talk:
  • Equal fear on both sides of the classical-vs-jazz fence: in his experience, he is just as intimidated by what classical vibraphone and marimba players can do as those players are of what he can do as an improvisor.
  • Jazz harmony and theory can help inform a classical player: intuitively, a jazz player would look at a Bach Cello Suite and immediately go about understanding the harmonic development and chord movement.
  • Joe Locke does the Monkees: Joe talked about his first drum lessons with the nuns at his Catholic school, and jamming away with the Monkees and their hit, I'm a Believer.
  • Pre-teens and Whiskey: Joe talked about the fact that the rock band he played in during his early-teen years (12-15) was named after an Irish Whiskey, Tullamore Dew.
  • Music-making = Responsibility: "Music-making is a big responsibility becasue you take the hearts of the audience in your hands -- you affect how those people will feel at any given moment."
  • On getting in the zone: there is no way to plan this feeling -- you could be treating yourself right for weeks and practicing everyday, and you still may or may not achieve that state. Likewise, you could have not played a gig in months and still find this place.
  • Conversation while playing on the streets in NY as a young man:

    George Braith: "You suck."
    Joe Locke: "Yeah, I know."
    George Braith: "Ok, see you tomorrow..."

  • Recordings that make certain tunes click:
  • Matisse and Picasso: both spent much of their early development on the fundamentals of their art -- jazz musicians need to do the same to be creative and able to move the music (art) forward.
  • Technique: will always be a means to an end -- Joe prefers to think abstractly, like, "I want to sound like water," and the technique comes from that aesthetic.
  • A possible goal: to be one with the instrument, where what is coming out is not really you; you are merely the vessel through which the music comes; it is for you to nurture and take care of, but it is not yours.
  • Practicing: a never-ending necessity is order to keep the bar high.
Joe Locke continues to be an inspiration to me, and a model in the jazz world for anyone interested in getting to the next level. Joe - thanks for the clinic!