Jamie Glaser teaches us to ‘Hear the Silence’

If you listen for a guitar playing during the music accompanying the classic comedy series “Seinfeld” or “Married… With Children,” you can hear him.

If you’ve spent a fair amount of time listening to the music of jazz fusion artists like Jean-Luc Ponty or Lenny White, or if you’ve listened to The Manhattan Transfer’s 1991 release “The Offbeat of Avenues” or some of rocker Bryan Adams’ best work, there’s a good chance you’ve heard his guitar skills there as well.

Jamie Glaser plays guitar with his longtime band leader, legendary jazz fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty.  (Photo courtesy Jamie Glaser)
Jamie Glaser plays guitar with his longtime band leader, legendary jazz fusion violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. (Photo courtesy Jamie Glaser)

The player you’d be listening for is Jamie Glaser, who’s been known as a top session guitarist for many years with credits including work with Chick Corea and Chaka Khan as well, just to name a few. He’s played live in front of audiences around the world. He can be found via YouTube on an old video from The Tonight Show with Manhattan Transfer. He’s done a lot in his musical career, continuing his playing/recording/producing/directing/teaching career from his base between Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah — far from the faster life he once knew in places like Los Angeles or his roots in New York City.

With that kind of history on his resume, you’d think the achievement he’s most proud of would have to do with his accomplishments as a musician. But what he’s actually most proud of is surviving a disorder – manic depression – that’s plagued him in the lowest points of his life, through poverty and homelessness, bringing about behaviors that made even those who were closest to him question whether he was a drug addict.

Glaser is most proud of surviving a disorder that’s taken the lives of other gifted musicians through their own manic behaviors (how is it that some of the most gifted artists have been known to suffer from bipolar disorder and done so much creative work given the “genius” tag in their lives?) and going on to encourage others to get the help that they need as well.

hear the silence coverHe’s doing it again through the recent republishing of his book, “Hear The Silence,” in online form. It’s a book that’s far from a “typical musician’s bio” with tales of celebrity antics. In fact, it really doesn’t cover much of his musical life at all, only giving brief references to his experiences in the spotlight more as a way of showing the highest highs he’s seen in his life before sinking to the lowest lows.

“The one thing that I hope that is my legacy is the book I wrote, celebrating life, and inspiring others who may be depressed, are bipolar, suffer mental illness, just down in general with lessons I’ve learned and that have me celebrating life from morning ‘til night 365 days a year,” Glaser says in a post on his Facebook page.

The thought of “hearing the silence” is first mentioned in his experiences dating back to Glaser’s days at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, where he went to see a teacher and – in the quiet darkness of the teacher’s room – was asked to describe the sounds that were around him, finally dawning on him that there was much more going on around him than what little was happening in that room.

“He continued telling me he would teach me to notice these sounds, to know how to find them, to use them musically and in my life,” Glaser writes of that lesson that’s stayed with him through his life. “I believe it is this lesson that has given me a life like few others. I believe this lesson has given me a career like few others. And, most importantly, it is this lesson that got me through my horrible, painful experience with bipolar disorder.

“… Learn to ‘Hear the Silence’ and you will learn one of the greatest secrets there are to enlighten and fulfill your life!!”

Jamie Glaser flies in a guitar solo.  (Photo courtesy Jamie Glaser)
Jamie Glaser flies in a guitar solo. (Photo courtesy Jamie Glaser)

With those words, the first chapter of the book is complete and the stage is set for Glaser to tell the rest of his story. It tells a story of …

  • Having a young man with cerebral palsy – who could only speak by pointing at letters one at a time – helping Glaser to appreciate the beauty and goodness that surrounded him instead of being angry and bitter.
  • Days when he was known more as a “maniac” – throwing paychecks for his television work out the window of a moving car on a San Diego freeway, spending money and traveling aimlessly.
  • Spending long periods of time not wanting to get out of his bed or leave his home due to fear or depression.
  • The people who cared about Glaser, recognized he needed help, and guided him through his own personal darkness.
  • Traumatic experiences that helped to trigger some of his deepest bouts with depression.
  • Glaser’s spiritual beliefs, animal friends, a beloved children’s television show that all helped to lift and keep him out of his depression.
  • Advising those who may be experiencing their own personal darkness on how they can pull themselves back into the light.

It’s part musician memoirs with deeply personal insights into self-help and motivation along the lines of Tony Robbins or Wayne Dyer, two of Glaser’s favorite motivational figures. It’s a combination that makes for an engaging, uplifting read.

Glaser tells his story in a style that puts his personality on display. As you read it, imagine sitting in a restaurant that serves New York-style pizza as Glaser talks to you across the table with his own New York flavor. There’s honesty and heartfelt passion in his words. And as anyone who’s gotten acquainted with him in person or on social media can attest, he’s looking to help others more than he’s looking to help himself.

“Hear the beautiful symphony in the silence,” Glaser says in the final chapter. “Play life’s gorgeous melodies over and over. May the songs of this beautiful existence be always at the top of the charts for you.”

THE BEST OF THE VIEW: Remembering Dave Brubeck

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Jazz legend Dave Brubeck died today of heart failure, one day short of his 92nd birthday.  The following is a reprint of a music playlist that appeared here May 6, 2012.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet‘s 1959 album “Time Out” strikes me as one of those albums that Hugh Hefner had to have recommended highly to all the playboys who ever paid attention to him and the style he exuded in the time he ran his girlie magazine.

Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet
Time Out by the Dave Brubeck Quartet (Photo credit: mr.smashy)

How many bachelors have had it in their collection over the years, just waiting for that right time to dim the lights as that bottle of wine sat chilling on ice nearby, and the sounds of “Take Five” were oozing from the speakers of that state-of-the-art hi-fi system with a “special someone” as the target?  It defies even shooting for a ballpark figure.

Yeah, that one song alone would be pretty much all it would take.

The album is an all-time classic.  “Take Five” by itself has made it timeless.  It was a trend-setter.  The name came from its 5/4 time signature, which hadn’t caught on quite yet with a mainstream audience.  At least it didn’t until the Brubeck quartet pushed it into the spotlight for everyone in the world to hear.

It’s funny how it takes just one artist to “color outside the lines” and have a whole new wave take shape.

My music playlist for today (September 16, 2012 edition)

I’m starting a whole new career tomorrow, working at being a “car sales professional.”  I want to be the best I can be, and I know I can do it if I have the right attitude.  At the same time, I’m feeling pretty stressed out already.  My stomach has been doing flip-flops for a few hours now.  My tension’s at a high level.

English: Martin Taylor jazz guitarist Mike Van...
English: Martin Taylor jazz guitarist Mike Vanden Martin Taylor ‘Artistry’ guitar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just polished off a cup of chamomile with lavender tea that’s supposed to help ease the stress, but I think I could use another “remedy.”  I did a web search on “soothing jazz,” and came up with British guitarist Martin Taylor.

Not a bad remedy.  It’s like going to a musical pharmacy and coming back with a mixture of Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, and Kenny Burrell to go along with Django and the piano stylings of Art Tatum.

If Martin Taylor is good enough to have played with hot jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli — essentially following in the footsteps of Django Reinhardt — he’s got something quite impressive in his resume to brag about.

I need that “soothing touch,” and I’m putting my money on Martin Taylor to provide it.

My music playlist for today (September 9, 2012 edition)

Outdoor portrait of Sonny Rollins, american ja...
Outdoor portrait of Sonny Rollins, american jazz saxo player, taken on 2005-07-22 during the Jazz à Juan Festival (French Riviera), before his performance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sonny Rollins.

The name all by itself basically oozes jazz.  The history behind him makes me think of something out of a movie — spending some time in prison for armed robbery, blowing that sax and playing with some giants, becoming one of the giants himself, fighting the demons of heroin and kicking it, blowing that sax even better and becoming an even bigger legend.

He even has the look that oozes jazz.  The hair.  The shades.  The coolness.

Yeah, there oughta be a movie in there.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have a new music blog!

I’m not going to spend a lot of time here on my very first attempt at creating a daily personal blog (one that I’ve grown quite fond of) touting my new music blog that’s just launched in the last couple of hours, but here goes …

I HAVE A NEW MUSIC-RELATED BLOG, FOLKS!!! We have liftoff!  You can already find it with its own domain name as well, at thecrossovermusicchannel.com.

I’ve got my first article in the new blog as well, a more detailed version of the article that I did here yesterday on the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival.

I’ve been tweaking this newborn baby a bit the last couple of days, and I hope you like what you see.  Again, this is my attempt at creating a “business” of my own for now while I continue to search for a “regular job” that’s been elusive until now.  I will continue to pour all the love and passion into this personal blog of mine that you’re reading here, but … a guy’s gotta make a buck, and if things don’t turn around soon it won’t be much fun at all.

This is one way I have to “fight from the inside.”

Next on the agenda now that the new blog is launched:  Anyone know of a car dealership in the Salt Lake City area willing to train a new salesman?

For now, rock on!  And stay tuned!


Counting down to Labor Day: One day to go

One of the best moves I ever made when it comes to this blog was to start featuring music on a daily basis around the first of this year.  My music playlists have consistently been the highest-viewed thing this blog’s had going ever since.

I can write a thought-out piece with a different point of view on politics or the media or current events, I can write about family, I can put together posts here that are (I hope) humorous, I can do photo blogs with pictures that I’m pretty proud of, and none of them get as many people looking at them and coming back to look at them again and again as I do with my music playlists or concert reviews.

Looking at my different categories and tags for my blog, music-related articles beat every other category and tag combined.  Maybe that’s because my music-related articles combine two of my greatest lifelong passions — writing and music.

So, when I look at anything I could possibly do to try and create something to make money on my own while I continue to look for a “regular job” elsewhere, the thought hit me:  create an entirely separate blog that’s devoted entirely to music, one where I can do more in terms of promoting music and the musicians who create and perform it, with CD and DVD reviews, concert reviews, photos from any shows that I attend, music news and word of any upcoming live shows, etc.

I want to try and help musicians become better known, and through the kind of contacts that I’ve been able to make through social media since the start of the year — thanks to new and old friends in California and the efforts to get Lester Chambers‘ name and music out there in the public eye again (his name still gets out there through this blog to this day in a small way because of people searching for information on the live web concert site Stageit.com and finding a “tutorial” I put together back in March) — there’s a bit of a foundation.

In order to start putting this together, I had to go to a blogging site other than WordPress that accepts ads (any ads that you might ever see here are put up by WordPress solely so it can pay its bills, I don’t get a dime out of them) and in which I could possibly get sponsors, where I could launch with an extremely limited budget.

Last night, I put something together called “The Crossover Music Channel.”  There’s some meaning behind the name, and it’s not just about music that easily crosses styles — like Kenny Rogers making it big on the country and pop charts.  It’s called that because, as you can see in my daily music playlists, my tastes in music are quite broad — country, classic rock, jazz, jazz-fusion, progressive rock, soul/funk/blues, contemporary Christian and classical.

I want to keep talking about it all.  And if I can help musicians and myself to pay some bills along the way, so much the better.

That’s why I’ll be “working” today, attending the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival with about 10 hours’ worth of cool jazz from 1-11 p.m., starting with the music of The Hot Club of Zion all the way through to Tower of Power at the end of the day.  My camera’s ready, the new blog is ready for its first article (no, I won’t stop doing this blog) to be written and published … I am so ready and rarin’ to go.

Someone said to me in the last couple of weeks to “sell myself” when it comes to my job search.  I’ve been doing that in the search for a “regular job,” and now I’m going to do it even more, selling myself and my passions for writing, photography, and music in the process.

I need to get ready to go now.  The first show of a long day of music awaits downtown.  I’m excited.

It’s better than doing nothing but sitting around feeling sorry for myself when my search and my efforts to “sell myself” for a “regular job” aren’t quite panning out.

Stay tuned.

Copyright 2012, Daddysangbassdude Media

My music playlist for today (September 2, 2012 edition)

Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake City, UT (Photo credit: kla4067)

It’s going to be a big day today.  I need to round up a few camp chairs for myself, my lovely wife, and our son Curtis so we can head downtown for the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival.

Oh, yeah, I also need to make sure the battery in our camera is charged up too.

Yep, it’s going to be a big day.  Otherwise, our Labor Day weekend might be a bit more “average.”  Our family has seen enough “average” holiday weekends here lately.  We need to do something different.

We’ll have the style of Django Reinhardt coming through with The Hot Club of Zion.  We’ll have ASCAP award-winning vocalist Kathy Kosins.  We’ll have the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra, with guest spots by the likes of Chuck Findley.  We’ll have some fusion from The Drones.  We’ll see Dean Martin’s daughter, vocalist Deana Martin.  Most exciting to me, though, will be the chance to see and hear the Bay Area funk and tight horns coming from Tower of Power.

I’m also proud to support what the Salt Lake City Jazz Festival represents.  From the festival’s Facebook page …

“The mission of Jazz Arts of the MountainWest (JAM) is to foster live performance and enjoyment of America’s music. JAM is committed to music education in schools, colleges and universities, as well as education of the general public to ensure that the rich heritage of jazz and related American music is brought to a diverse population so that America’s music will not be lost to current and future generations.

“The Salt Lake City Jazz Festival strives to bring the many faces of Jazz, America’s original art form, to the Wasatch Front. The festival is presented by Jazz Arts of the Mountain West (JAM) and made possible in part by major funding from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and the Salt Lake County Zoo Arts and Parks Program. The free music clinics were made possible by a generous donation from the Rosenblatt Family in memory of Barry and Sally Rosenblatt.”

Most of all, I’m proud to support live music.  That’s something I haven’t been able to do nearly enough for quite a while.  The cost of a ticket for today’s festival, however, is so low that it’s hard to believe it gets you in to about 10 hours worth of outstanding live jazz.

Salt Lake City does appreciate its jazz.  I am so looking forward to this.

My music playlist for today (August 26, 2012 edition)

Count Basie and the Kansas City 7
Count Basie and the Kansas City 7 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before we get too far away from the biggest legends of jazz, we can’t overlook Count Basie.

No way, no how.

You don’t go through the classic jazz style without hitting upon Basie classics like “One O’Clock Jump” or “April In Paris.”

Basie was a natural pianist, and his mother helped him along on the instrument.  He was good at improvisation at a young age as well, and it paid off when he ended up having to fill in for the regular piano player at a vaudeville theater when he worked there at a young age.

By his mid-teens, he started playing small gigs.  Around the age of 20, he went to Harlem and took in its jazz scene, starting to get more of a foothold himself.  He got the nickname “Count” in 1928.

Musical royalty was about to take its throne.

My music playlist for today (August 19, 2012 edition)

I spent some time driving to an Associated Press newspaper editors’ conference in Park City, Utah, one year with my small, young family (our oldest child was under a year old then) before we became Utah residents ourselves.

The Oscar Peterson Trio in Tokyo
The Oscar Peterson Trio in Tokyo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We took a slightly different path than the usually quicker route once we got around Ogden, switching off of the more billboard-filled route of one freeway for the more scenic route of another.  Along the way, the jazz piano of Oscar Peterson was playing on cassette tape.

That was a pretty sweet part of the ride.  Oscar was one sweet piano player.

With influences including Nat “King” Cole and, especially, Art Tatum, Peterson was a proficiently technical player throughout a 60-year playing career, with the biggest thing slowing him down being health issues.  He did the best he could after suffering and rehabbing from a stroke in 1993, having to rely more on his right hand because of a weakened left arm.

His performances became more limited, but he kept playing until the months before his death in 2007.

It was only then that Oscar’s live sweetness could be quieted permanently.

My music playlist for today (August 12, 2012 edition)

New Wave (Dizzy Gillespie album)
New Wave (Dizzy Gillespie album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those puffed-out cheeks caught my attention whenever I’d see them on the television as a kid.  So did that bent trumpet that those cheeks would almost seemingly surround.  I used to look at the sight of it and think of how much power Dizzy Gillespie must have had when he’d play those jazz tunes, with all that air tucked away.

Some things happen in a “wonderfully accidental” way.  According to Dizzy’s autobiography, when a pair of dancers fell on Gillespie’s trumpet while it was on a stand in 1953, the bell bent upward at a 45-degree angle.  It changed the tone of his instrument, and Dizzy found that he liked that tone.  He played a horn like that from then on.  It became a part of that “Dizzy style.”

You need to get past the puffed-out cheeks and bent horn and really listen to what Gillespie was doing with the music to really appreciate what the man did in the world of jazz, though.  He played in a way that many found difficult to copy.

He brought along trumpeters like Miles Davis who would continue to enrich the jazz world.  Dizzy was like a skilled farmer planting seeds and treating them with care, bringing the most out of them.

Fans around the world have eaten it up ever since.