axamaxa learns to jam…

band of hippies
Band of Gypsies

Axamaxa had his first encounter with jamming rock musicians when he was about 15 years old. While hiking through the Southern Appalachians one summer, he met up with a small combo of what was called ‘Jesus Freaks’ (and here) at the time: a folk-rock gospel-esque group of modsters and forward thinking musicians with missionary roots from Brazil. They needed a piano player and axamaxa just happened to walk in at the right time. Being much younger and less experienced than the others, he was struggling to fit in; the band leader was right hard on the young boy but others had compassion and helped him stick with it through encouragement. The problem was that forward-thinking modsters made improvisation central to the musical expression

Free-style Ballet
Free-style Ballet

while axamaxa’s classical training had been explicitly formal: to play what was written on the score and to play it precisely with no room for variation. Unable to jam, he became a stigmafied ‘Square’.

Assembly Inn on Lake Susan
Assembly Inn (Montreat NC) from across Lake Susan

As Grace would have it that very night, axamaxa wandering through the resort town in search of answers, happened upon an old Black Man playing the Blues at a fancy inn for cocktail hour. To axamaxa’s astonishment, the kindly old fellow took an interest in him and showed him how to play the blues and to improvise. The old man’s name was Carson Dixon, may his Soul be blessed. Armed with this new blues technology, axamaxa was no longer square and could express himself freely in the new freak combo with great success and joy.

folk guitaress
the aminor chord, central feature in ‘house of the rising sun’

At church retreats and around campfires too, girls with long straight blonde hair would sing and play the guitar and musicians would jam for hours. Axamaxa, by now quite the aficionado for jamming technology, sought advice and learning. So Improv became a pillar of his musical expression too and this would have its influence on Musicosophical Ideals.

Peace, man!

How it all began…

Everything is a work in progress. We might imagine things have their beginning but even beginnings have beginnings, and so forth. Before Musicosophy was a band there had been many other bands and they were good bands, too. I know that axamaxa had travelled about the Southeast after college playing in a right smart number of Reggae bands (Mountain Rain, One Way, Roots and Culture). Demo tapes were made and bootlegs, too; they’re out there somewhere but we don’t know where. The early recordings (extensive as they were) became lost in a fire and the records of those early beginnings had to, in some sense, start all over again. So we have beginnings and againnings.

Axamaxa played keyboards, too for a short while. He was quite instrumental in pioneering the advancement of the Reggae Bubble, often playing cross-handed for solos. His touch, feel and dynamics were in high demand as a Reggae keyboardist. He wrote a number of Reggae songs while at the keys. Axamaxa served a short stint with the Amateurs, an established outfit from Greenville NC. (currently here and here)

He was a classically trained pianist and achieved some local honor as a youth, while studying under a the Stigallsprestigious pianist from the lineage of Beethoven and Bach. He studied organ under a prestigious international minister of music, who helped author and curate the new Presbyterian Hymnal (when the Presbyterian Church USA united the main factions underMPPC front one umbrella). He grew up playing in the orchestras at school and while playing double-bass in public school became enrolled in the All State Orchestra and the Queens College Orchestra.

Internationally renown Czechoslovakian Composer Vaclav Nelhybel conducted the youth orchestra in which he was playing on several occasions while visiting the U.S. (humorously, threatening to cut the mustache off of one of nelhybel conductoraxamaxa’s peers -a cellist- one time at practice). Nelhybel himself coached and conducted the pieces ‘moto perpetuo’ (from Concerto Grosso) and ‘music for orchestra’.

“Nelhybel was a synthesist and a superb craftsman who amalgamated the musical impulses of his time in his own expression, choosing discriminately from among existing Nelhybel 1982-97systems and integrating them into his own concepts and methods. The most striking general characteristic of his music is its linear-modal orientation. His concern with the autonomy of melodic line leads to the second, and equally important characteristic, that of movement and pulsation, or rhythm and meter. The interplay between these dual aspects of motion and time, and their coordinated organization, results in the vigorous drive so typical of Nelhybel’s music. These elements are complemented in many of his works by the tension generated by accumulations of nelhybel 1dissonance, the increasing of textural densities, exploding dynamics, and the massing of multi-hued sonic colors. Though frequently dissonant in texture, Nelhybel’s music always gravitates toward tonal centers, which makes it so appealing to performers and listeners alike.”

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