Richard Shulman's Blog

January 13, 2010

What is “Sky Jazz” by Richard Shulman

Filed under: Talking about what there are no words for (Music) — by richardshulman @ 2:47 am

To Listen to “Sky Jazz”

Sky Jazz is a term I use to describe a genre with roots in jazz, classical music and music for healing and meditation (It is also the title of my recent Jazz trio release on RichHeart Music with Mike Holstein on bass, Sonny Thornton on drums and myself on piano.).

However, the primary cause from which this “Sky Jazz” arises is the intent that this music serve the healing and well being of the audience. The expression of Beauty and the balancing of Action and Peacefulness are added predilections in this music.

In my early development as a musician, I found that certain players and albums inspired a recognition of “Yes, that’s what I want to do too!” These pieces that inspired me usually had some element of harmonious expression and passion towards spirituality along with a language which integrated the most heartfelt elements of 20th century neo-classical music and the rhythms and improvisational nature of jazz, emphasizing straight eighth styles for the most part.

So the roots of this music include:
Paul Winter Consort – “Road”
John Coltrane – “A Love Supreme”
Miles Davis – “In A Silent Way”
Charles Lloyd Quartet – “Forest Flower” (with Keith Jarrett)
Keith Jarrett – “The Koln Concert” and “Belonging”

As a piano player I was influenced by the following (in addition to those above) and took those elements which most inspired me from:
Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Lysle Mays, Thelonius Monk, and Marian McPartland.

As a composer I have been influenced by Schumann, Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven, Bach, Copland, Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, Von Williams, Mozart, Reich, and a host of others.

Love of spirituality and transcendent beauty has molded choices in my music, but more than anything, my music is informed and defined by my relationship with the inspiration which guides me and serves as my Muse.

The above paragraph describes the process of the creation of almost all of my music, no matter what genre or category afficianados may place it in. The term “Sky Jazz” refers to the sub category of my music which has jazz influences and which comes out of the merging of my life as a jazz pianist/composer with the streams of my meditative and classical music.

To Listen to “Sky Jazz”

November 14, 2009

The importance of clarity in expressing the inexpressible

Last week I did my first interview for a column in the new magazine New Awareness which will come out in their December/January issue.  This first interview was appropriately with fellow composer Steven Halpern, one of the first and most effective creators of music for healing and meditation in the New Age genre.

Steven works tirelessly to express with clarity what his music is about and we had a great conversation resulting in over 22,000 characters for an article slated for 2,000 characters!  So for several days Steven and I whittled, cut and distilled the message down to the essence of his work.

I thought that this might be torture for him and expressed this at one point in the process and his reply was that this is not torture but that it is his job!

To find the right words to express what normally is NOT expressed in words is grounding the ineffable into awareness, and although this may not directly convey the actual experience, it can at least point in the direction of gnosis, or point towards grokking the music.

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