Sam Newsome

Sam Newsome
"The potential for the saxophone is unlimited." - Steve Lacy

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jazz and Liberation: An Interview with Francisco Mora Catlett

During the making of my CD, The Straight Horn of Africa: A Path to Liberation - The Art of the Soprano, Vol. 2.--as suggested by the title--I was experimenting with creating from what I considered to be an African consciousness. And it's not a place from which I always create--at least not deliberately. Typically I try not to limit myself to cultural boundaries. This type of thing tends to be anti-progressive, especially when practiced over an extended period of time. Or as the case be for some players, the entirety of their careers. However, creating within controlled cultural parameters over the short term as a means of taking ourselves out of our comfort zone, can yield results that are progressive and enlightening. Imposing these types of restrictions has become a part of my creative process. I'll live in a space outside my comfort zone just to see what it's like.

Another atypical thing I did while I recording the CD was that I simultaneously began writing a personal essay. You might say it was a musical diary that allowed me to make sense of this new sensibility from which I was creating. If was interesting to examine a topic through both literary and musical compositional lenses.

After the CD was recorded, I enlisted the services of Charles Carson, Ph.D, professor of ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. I wanted someone to write the liner notes who had the historical background to deal with the music on its own merit, instead relying on cliche references such as comparing what I'm doing to the 1960s musical efforts of Pharaoh Sanders and Yusef Lateef--not that there aren't similarities. But I see what they do as a fusion of jazz and African musical languages; whereas, I see what I'm doing more as a type of cultural transference.

Charles, while working on the liner notes said he wanted to interview someone to give the piece more depth. Francisco Mora Catlett was the first and only person I recommended since he was the inspiration behind many of the things I wrote about in my essay, which I subsequently published as an e-book on Amazon. 

Below is the interview that Charles conducted with Francisco. I liked it so much, I also included it in the e-book.

The title of this interview is "Jazz and Liberation," one of Francisco's favorite topics. You may not agree with everything he says, but I guarantee you'll to find it illuminating.

WARNING: The language content is not intended for children.

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