Lessons in Jazz Improv with Tim Price and Sweet Sue Terry

priceterry.jpgTim Price and “Sweet” Sue Terry are familiar names within the saxophone community. Both are well known for their educational endeavors. Through the years, Tim has penned transcription books, reviewed countless CD’s in various publications, had a long running association with The Saxophone Journal, and is an often-requested clinician, educator, teacher, with a wonderful set of lessons available right here on Sax On The Web. Sue has written four saxophone books including the most recent “Practice Like The Pros” and is an in-demand clinician and educator. But to limit their talents to solely educational pursuits and books would be short changing the indisputable fact that they are both monster players.

Special moments are bound to happen when two talented people like Tim Price and “Sweet” Sue Terry get together to make spontaneous music. A stream of consciousness-free form interplay of ideas that flow between idioms, and ideas like converging tides, are on display on The Blue.Seum Project. The interplay of these two musicians was recorded live at the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York.

The CD opens with “Indigo for Anne Waldman” with Tim on Bass Clarinet and Sue on Soprano Clarinet. Sue starts out by playing a soaringly beautiful line that evokes an almost Copland like classical moment, only to be transformed soulfully with the entrance of Tim’s Bass Clarinet. As the track progresses the listener is treated to bursts of technical virtuosity. The journey of musical idioms continues as they move through a modern dixieland blues tinged feel which simply has to be experienced.

One of the standout tracks on the CD is “Jam Thang For Ratdog” which is dedicated to Bob Weir and his jam band Ratdog. Tim has had the opportunity to play with Ratdog from time to time and has said about Bob Weir, “What a beautiful human being Bob Weir is. I really dug his vibe musically and the energy he performs with.” When Tim gave him a copy of the new CD he indicated that it was going right into his IPOD. “Jam Thang For Ratdog” is a track that exudes the best of the jam band format while paying homage to one of the great ambassadors of that genre. To hear Tim speak in glowing terms of his experiences with Bob Weir shows the great spirit of both Tim and Bob.

Hearing Tim’s Bassoon on the track Karlheinz’s Breakfast reminds me of the first time I heard some of the great experimental guitar greats of the 1960’s. A flurry of sounds erupts out of it, continuing to weave musical textures between Sue’s own wonderful solo lines on flute.

There is a cornucopia of musical instruments played by Tim and Sue throughout the CD. Tim opens the CD on Bass Clarinet and plays Tenor Sax, Clarinet, Bassoon, and stone flute on various tracks on the CD. Sue’s musical instrument choices on the CD include Clarinet, Alto Sax, Harmonica, Flute, Ceramic Flute, and Percussion. The pairing of instruments throughout the CD is inspired and not always what one would anticipate.

There’s a host of great tracks on this CD beyond the few I’ve written about at length. Each track seems to offer another glimpse into the creative spirit of Tim and Sue. They take the listener on a musical journey. As educators, both of these musicians excel and as musicians they are able to give their listeners music that is fresh and creative yet filled with lessons for the so-inclined to find. If there’s a lesson in the music on this CD for aspiring players it is “listen”. Listen to your partner. Open your ears and play from the heart. That’s a wonderful lesson to take away from a wonderful set of music.

Tim Price is a Selmer clinician who endorses Selmer saxophones and clarinets. His website can be found at timpricejazz.com.

“Sweet” Sue Terry is a Yamaha Performing Artist who uses Consoli ligatures and Fibracell reeds. Her website can be found at sueterry.net.

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