Arthur Blythe : A Tone Master of the Alto Saxophone Oscar Deric Brown

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R,I,P. Arthur Blythe

A Tone Master of the Alto-Saxophone

Horace Tapscott and the Pan African Peoples


The Connection

Los Angeles 1969

It’s 1969, Im a high school student., and my first class of the day was Jazz Workshop. Our teacher was Dr.Simpson.
The School I went to was Dorsey High School. Eric Dolphy’s Alma Mater.
And Charles Lloyd used to teach as a substitute on occasion.
It’s last week of school before summer brake, the month of June.
My high school friend, Herbie Baker, a jazz pianist  asked me if I would like to go to a rehearsal with him. And I said yes. In the band that day was with Reggie Golson Drummer, son of the famous Tenor Saxophonist , Benny Golson.Robert Miranda Bass, and Arthur Blythe Alto Saxophone.
The performance was to be held at  Jefferson High School. And the quartet was to be the opening act for the weekly performance of the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, led by pianist , composer trombonist, Horace Tapscott.
It was also my first time meeting with Benny Golson.
The concert was in the high school auditorium. And Reggie introduce me to his dad Benny.
What we all heard that day was a brilliant solo by Blythe.
I clearly remember Benny Golson saying. man his tone, his sound. Did you hear that? Benny Golson said Arthur Blythe was a Tone Master. He said, just like John Coltrane. Now you need to know I was only 16. And I saw John Coltrane’s last major band performance tour featuring drummer Rashied Ali.
Benny Golson and Arthur Blythe became good friends from that day.

1970…. The Watts Summer Jazz Festival. The summer of 1970 was a very significant year for me. I had graduated from High School just one year prior to.
And I had planed to spend as much time playing as I could afford before being shipped off to college. That summer I had asked Arthur if he would play in my quartet, for the Watts festival. And he said yes. That was the first of 8 gigs we did together that year,  3 of those gigs opening up for Horace Tapscott the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra where recorded live. And now sit as part of the archive collection at the UCLA Arts Alive. These recordings where donated as part of the memorial and living testament of community service by composer Horace Tapscott.Probably 80% of these recordings feature Arthur Blythe.

One of the things I also remember was his warm-up routine before each performance. Blythe would lay long tones. Each note focused on tone and color.He would never play scales. Like voice training he would use arpeggios and broken chords and modes, chromatically in every key. Another key was, Blythe loved melodies.One of his favorite songs was “Nature Boy”. And it was a song he always wanted me to play. It was one of the songs where you can suspend time. Make time stop.And move when you want to. And between 1970-1975 we would play a lot of gigs around LA, San Diego, and San Francisco, with Chico Hamilton Drummer and Percussionist Willie Bobo, Jazz violinist Michael White.

There are so many people connected to this relationship between Blythe and myself. Noted columnist and one time drummer Stanley Crouch, Buch Morris, father of Conduction, classmate Azar Lawrence Alto & Ten Sax, Billy Higgins Drummer, Bruz Freeman Drummer, Michael Craven Drummer, Leon “Ndugu” Chancler Drummer, Fritz Wise Drummer, Cornel Fowler Drummer, Raymond Pounds Drummer, and James Mtume Percussionist. I wanted to mention these name because all of us would eventually migrate to New York. These are the ones who made the history books in Jazz. In 2000 we would play together for a benefit to help Drummer Billy Higgins get a kidney replacement. The performance was held at the Local 47 Musicians Union Los Angeles. And there was a tall list of friends who played that day including, Herbie Hancock, Hubert Laws, Stanley Clark, Chick Corea. Joe Henderson. My last gig with Arthur Blythe was in 2008, at the San Diego Jazz Festival. I should note that Azar Lawrence was on that gig with us. We had an amazing time.

There are many stories of musicians and how they live.
Arthur Blythe was a true family man. He cared a lot about people.
And he agreed a lot about me. I moved to New York the winter of 1976.
I called Horace Tapscott and asked to come visit. I need to ask for advice on the move I was about to make. Upon arriving to his home, he greeted me with his usual smile and put his hand on my shoulder. Oscar,  he said , I’m with a student. But Arthur will help you. I sat down and begin to cry because I had just found out my Grandmother had just died. Something was pushing me to go to New York even though I felt guilty about not going to my Grandmother memorial service.Arthur suggested that my Grandmothers passing was a sign that I had to go.And that it would be a transformation in my life. And it was.

I need everyone to know that Arthur Blythe believed in the human connection.
And that music is spiritual. It has the power to transform.
And now my friend has transformed into the next life.
And all would say Black Arthur Blythe is, and shall ever be a TONE MASTER.


*Eye-catcher photo:Courtesy of ECM (Jack DeJohnette『Special Edition』)

ロサンゼルス 1969

カレッジへ進学する前にできる限り演奏をこなしておこうと決心していた。私は、ワッツ・フェスティバルに出演する私のカルテットにアーサーに参加してくれるよう依頼した。アーサーの同意を得られ、それがその年アーサーと共演した8度の演奏の初共演となった。そのうち3回はホレス・タプスコットのパン・アフリカン・ピープルズ・アーケストラのオープニング・アクトだったが、当時の演奏はライヴ収録されUCLA Arts Aliveのアーカイヴ・コレクションの一部として保管されている。そのうち、80%の記録でアーサー・ブライスがフィーチャーされているはずである。








オスカー・デリック・ブラウン Oscar Deric Brown
1953年、ジョージア州トッコア・フォールズ生まれ。ピアニスト、キーボーディスト、コンポーザー、プロデューサー。LAとNYを往来しながら現在はNYに居住。サンタナ(1976~77)、ユッスー・ンドゥール(1990)などとのツアー、中川勝彦の『Human Rhythm』(1989)、『レインボウ・ロータス』(1995)などのアルバム制作、ヴィム・ヴェンダースの『Till the End of the World』 他3作の音楽制作など多彩な活動を展開。