Much thanks to Dimitri for setting up this site so that folks like me could actually entertain dialog with the likes of folks such as you. Incredible, really. It is most honorable to for you engage in dialog with us; thank you!
I’m quite interested in Tyshawn now that you’ve given him a good comparison with Smitty. I’ll have to talk to the “financial committee” (my wife) and pick up your latest music.
“Also have you heard Smitty's own recordings?”
Yes, there were a few years when all I did was hunt down his music and bought all that I could. Out of all the music that I had bought of his, I felt that I heard his best music with Kevin Eubanks, Lonnie Liston Smith’s tribute music to Hendrix and especially the work with Cornelius Claudio Kreusch and the Dave Holland music. Of course, my thoughts of these being his “better works” is subjective, as that work appealed to my ears while it may not to others.
“I ask this because so much of what you hear a musician play is also due to that musician's response to the musical concept and musical situation.”
Exactly, and this is what I believe separates you from most music groups today. You’re quote above is essentially what I tell people about your music as I introduce their ears to your “music”. I also tell people that you create ideas, images and experiences in the form of pitch, or vibration, that you have masterfully been able to write music in such a way that allows the others around to you fully explore and meet face to face their full potential.
As I listen to Smitty’s other work, I don’t hear the same sense of playing from him, as if his best years were when playing with the Five Elements groups. In fact, I hear more confidence in his playing during his stint with Five Elements than I do with the other groups, though his work with Kreusch comes close, I suppose.
“As far as the music itself, I also see this differently. I don't focus on individual songs, CDs, concerts etc.”
I think I understand what you are saying, and I would agree. However, I was suggesting that there are specific moments, or compilations within our music set that allow us to demonstrate the depth of our abilities. I have recordings that demonstrate my ability to sit back and fill the drum pocket, and I also have other recordings that show that I am able to react and respond according to what others are playing. These would be unplanned moments where all musicians operate as a single unit, guided by nothing other than feeling and emotion itself. To this day, I still ask myself how I was able to play such an unplanned rhythm or drum part, as I’d have a hard time playing the very same thing to this day.
Steve, thank you so much for your amazing efforts and your willingness to express what you are doing. Listening to your music for the last ten to fifteen years has forever changed how I view what the world calls music.
BTW: Yes, you answered the question. Awesome.