Each winter following the fall conclusion of the annual Thelonious Monk Competition, I curate a 3-concert series at Tribeca Performing Arts Center. In fact, Saturday, March 2 we feature drummer Justin Brown in the final concert of our 2013 series. In ’08 the Monk Competition medium was the saxophone and a young man I had not heard previously named Tim Green was one of the three top finalists, finishing second. At Tim’s concert I was duly impressed at not only his facility on the alto sax, but also at his thoughtfulness and sense of programming that evening. Clearly this was a young player to watch.
Since he returned to his nearby hometown of Baltimore, its been a pleasure to catch Tim around DC on occasion – whether its at the Bohemian Caverns or elsewhere, even gracing the annual picnic of a unique, over two decades old coalition of DC-area jazz listeners I belong to that meets monthly called The Listening Group; one of our members, veteran alto saxophonist-educator Fred Foss, has been singing Tim Green’s praises as one of the finest alto players on the scene for years. Its also been interesting to watch Tim Green’s arc and consider that unlike so many of his peers, he didn’t rush out with a slew of premature CD releases. Instead Tim chose the patient approach, finally releasing his debut recording this month. Titled “Songs for This Season” the date has warranted multiple spins on my radio program, as well as those of other fellow programmers at embattled WPFW (Check our archives, listen live at www.wpfw.org, and stay abreast of the roiling controversies at www.ThePeople4PFW.wordpress.com). Clearly some questions were in order for Tim Green.
You seem to have been very patient, taking your time with developing this project and putting it out, not rushing to capitalize on your Monk Competition success. Talk about your process for developing this debut disc.
Yes, I really wanted to take my time with doing this record since this would be my first album that features mostly all of my original music. I really had to make sure I captured each song musically and make sure the personnel was right as well. I heard a lot of deferent musicians playing on some of the songs and that took some time by itself to organize.
After the Monk Competition win there was an opportunity for me to record an album for a label but I wouldn’t have been able to have total creative rights over the music and other details that went into the project so I decided to wait until I could finance the project myself . It’s very important for me to present the vision of this music just like i hear and see it. I’ll probably do my next CD for a label but as an artist you have to make sure you’re getting your music/vision across in the way that you feel it in your heart.
There’s an interesting and close relationship in the mix between you and your guitar player. Some horn players might be a bit intimidated by what sometimes sounds lika a kind of takeover mentality of guitar players. Why did you choose that kind of relationship with the guitar player on your date?
I had been using Warren Wolf on a lot of my gigs and there was a gig with my band at the Iridium Jazz Club that he couldn’t make so I decided to try the sound of the guitar on this particular gig. I asked the drummer, Obed Calvaire, who was on the gig to recommend a guitarist and he told me about Gilad Hekselman. We played that gig and ever since then we’ve been working together. He really played great on the record. I’m a fan of Pat Metheny‘s music and adding the guitar really helped that influence to come across on the record. I just wanted everyone on the CD to express themselves without holding back and Gilad really gave his everything on all the tracks that he played on which was really an awesome contribution to the project.
What’s been your overall goal with “Songs From This Season,” and are there any messages you wanted to convey with that title?
Songs From This Season is a representation of art reflecting life. Each song on this CD is about a certain time in my life, or as I like to call it, a “season”.
I really wanted people to have a look into my life over the past 8 years through the lens of my music . I really have being taking on the concept of “It’s not about what you’re playing but about what you’re saying” after having a chance to study with Terence Blanchard, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock at the Monk Institute. Thats something that they really instilled in me during those 2 years. In return , I started looking deeper within myself in order write music that is parallel with who I am as a person.
How do you see yourself following in the Baltimore jazz tradition?
There is such a deep tradition of the blues in the Baltimore Jazz Tradition. I’m always going to keep the blues in my playing and in my writing no matter how modern I choose to write music and play music without it being forced. That is the “Baltimore” in me.
How do you intend on maximizing this release in terms of your overall career?
I’ve been getting some great reviews about this CD and thats been very encouraging so far. I’m hoping this music will connect with other musicians and artists who share the same musical views that are displayed on the CD. Also, I really wanted people to hear everything that I’m capable of doing musically and I think this CD represents that well.
In terms of career effect, my goal is that this music will connect with people all over the world and in return I’ll hopefully get a chance to tour based on the support of the response to this project.
I want “Songs From This Season” to be a blessing and add richness to people who listen at the end of it all.