Jacob Zimmerman - June 17, 2012
This is Your Voice
My main objective as a saxophonist is to seamlessly channel the intuitive and expressive clarity of my singing voice through the saxophone. Every time I play I strive to truly hear each note, one after the other, and trust my subconscious inner voice to lead me. My ability to do this can vary depending on the musical context, and my feeling at the time. To me it’s an infinitely fascinating way of making music that I expect will challenge me for the rest of my life.
One of the most important things I’ve done to work on this is to learn to sing along with records of my favorite jazz solos. I start with the record at half speed and learn one phrase at a time by ear without writing it down. Gradually I learn to sing it at the original speed, and then eventually learn to play it on the saxophone. This is a practice that the great pianist and teacher Lennie Tristano required of all his students.
Tonight I’m going to sing a couple of the solos I’ve learned, and then play a saxophone improvisation based on these solos. For the session I’d like to suggest that everyone try to develop an awareness of the relationship between their voice and instrument. My mantra lately every time before I play has been “This is Your Voice.”
PS: If you are interested I help curate a blog that compiles classic jazz solos played at half speed called http://halfspeedjazz.blogspot.com/
This session will also be held at Luke’s (which, incidentally, is also Jacob’s) house. E-mail if you need directions.