Yogi Berra explains Jazz

A very kind person shared a great piece of Yogi Berra-ism with me. Priceless! See Below.

Interviewer: What do you expect is in store for the future of jazz?

Yogi: I’m thinkin’ there’ll be a group of guys who’ve never met talkin’ about it all the time…

Interviewer: Can you explain jazz?

Yogi: I can’t, but I will. 90% of all jazz is half improvisation. The other half is the part people play while others are playing something they never played with anyone who played that part. So if you play the wrong part, its right. If you play the right part, it might be right if you play it wrong enough. But if you play it too right, it’s wrong.

Interviewer: I don’t understand.

Yogi: Anyone who understands jazz knows that you can’t understand it. It’s too complicated. That’s whats so simple about it.

Interviewer: Do you understand it?

Yogi: No. That’s why I can explain it. If I understood it, I wouldnt know anything about it.

Interviewer: Are there any great jazz players alive today?

Yogi: No. All the great jazz players alive today are dead. Except for the ones that are still alive. But so many of them are dead, that the ones that are still alive are dying to be like the ones that are dead. Some would kill for it.

Interviewer: What is syncopation?

Yogi: That’s when the note that you should hear now happens either before or after you hear it. In jazz, you don’t hear notes when they happen because that would be some other type of music. Other types of music can be jazz, but only if they’re the same as something different from those other kinds.

Interviewer: Now I really don’t understand.

Yogi: I haven’t taught you enough for you to not understand jazz that well.

I was just reminded, only 22 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Go Redlegs!

Dawg unveils new Mandola model from Eastman.

In an excellent interview on the Mandolin Cafe David Grisman recently unveiled photos of the new Eastman Mandola prototype (shown above). As someone who doesn’t own a mandola this is a tempting addition to the arsenal, for sure.

Since it would never be a primary tool for me as a player, I could never justify the expense of a high end custom mandola like the Kimble I lusted after at IBMA so many moons ago. So for me an imported Eastman mandola might be just the ticket, especially if it looks as good as those prototype pics appear.

I’m a sucker for those good old Lyon and Healy designs, bring it on!

I suppose I’ll need to figure out where the local Eastman dealers are huh?

Question from Jim MacDaniel: Thank you for all of the music you’ve shared with us over the years, and for inspiring many of us (myself included) to learn the mandolin. I also want to thank you for Corrado Giacomel’s J5 design into the realm of affordability for many of us, through your partnership with Corrado and Eastman—and we also loved the Eastman revival of the Bacon. On this latter note, is there anything new on the drawing board that you can share with us now?

David Grisman: As you may already know Jim, the next model in the Dawg Collection Series is a replica of the Lyon & Healy Style A mandola, an incredible design that hasn’t been produced for 80+ years! This has taken a bit longer as Eastman recently moved their USA offices from Maryland to California. I recently approved the 2nd prototype (with a slightly more acute neck angle and slimmer neck profile) and production has begun on these models. I’m very pleased with their attention to detail and willingness to build instruments that are different than the norm and reasonably priced. Other models are on the drawing boards and I’ll let Scott know about them as they near completion. No F-5s though, I’m avoiding the fray.

The joys of Jazz and Fly Fishing. AMEN!

I saw this posted to the Moldy Chum blog. Good stuff here boys, thanks!

In this little vignette, Vincent Maggio, adjunct professor of music at the University of Miami,  describes the relationship between improvisation and fly tying. And he illustrates a great point that would make old Bill Monroe very happy. He basically says that tying flies and trying different materials is much like improvising on a melody. You take the basic pattern and replace one or two of the original materials and try your own version. The pattern is essentially the same and the over all look and feel of the fly might be very similar but you’ve created your own thought on it, your own take.

In the same way improvising over a set of changes allows you to take the melody and replace a few phrase with your own version of things. Supposedly Bill Monroe used to tell all his players that he never wanted to hear a guy play a solo the same way twice. So you take the basic structure and make your own twist on it. This is what makes Jazz and Bluegrass so exciting, you never hear a song the same way twice.

Of course, as fly tiers there is need for repetition and tying things the same twice (like a few dozen times) but maybe by improvising a little we create new and unique patterns that, if we are lucky, might fool a fish or two the next time we are out on the river.

Thanks to Vince Maggio for articulating yet another perfect example of the intersection of fly fishing and music, it almost makes my job here too easy! Below is a little bio info from the University of Miami School of Music website. And here is a link to a record by him at Amazon.

Vince Lawrence Maggio, Adjunct Professor (Jazz Piano), received B.M. and M.M. degrees from the University of Miami. He studied at the American Conservatory in Chicago and was a private student of Oscar Peterson in Toronto. He toured nationally with his own “Vince Lawrence Trio” and has performed with Cannonball Adderly, Stan Getz, Sonny Stitt, Chet Baker, Kenny Dorham, and the late Mel Torme, and is a former faculty/artist member at the Aspen Music Festival. Maggio’s student quintet, “The Bop Brothers,” performs regionally and internationally, and are two time winners of The National Collegiate Jazz Competition in Boulder. Maggio’s CD, Reunion, with saxophonist Mark Colby, was released on the Corridor label.

The Tight Lines Quartet

Again I’m whoring off the great content provided by the venerable Marshall Cutchin, but hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right?

So we here at the Fiddle and Creel (and by we, I mean me, because there isn’t anybody else, yet) feel that cultures are intertwined multivalent fabrics of human expression. The world isn’t one dimensional. We all have other interests beyond the myopic foci of fishing, hunting, bluegrass, art and photography. The world we inhabit is knitted together from equal parts art, science, and literature. Its a tapestry of all those elements tied together from the threads of the human experience, and storyline.

So we think the Tight lines Quartet is a perfect representation of our world view. See for yourself in the description pulled from their site jazzandflyfishing.com and eventually I will post the full Fiddle and Creel manifesto, exploring the shared cultural heritage between bluegrass and fly fishing. But for now, jazz and fly fishing will have to do.

The Tight Lines Quartet is a jazz band where all four members are passionate fly fishermen. These four jazzcats dedicated one year of their lives to the Jazz & Fly Fishing tour. Making this tour happen wasn´t easy, but they pulled it off, and did the tour of a lifetime. They went head-on into an adventure that no one believed in or had done before. This site is their blog and the official website of the Tight Lines Quartet and the Jazz & Fly Fishing project.

The band was touring all summer 2009, and the tour was filmed to make a TV series about their adventures. At this time, the TV series is in post-production.

Now, the first tour is done, but of course there will be lots more gigs coming up. We’ll let you know – so join the mailing list!


Jazz and fly fishing – what in the world do they have in common? Well, seemingly not that much. That is, until Jazz and Fly Fishing, a freshly-squeezed new concept devoted to the two was launched in 2008. Picture this: a “cream of the crop” jazz quartet of established young generation Nordic jazzmen take off on a fly fishing tour around Finland, Sweden and Norway playing gigs at big festivals, small jazz clubs and arctic hills alike. Needless to say, they spend all their spare time fly fishing beautiful rapids and peaceful mountain lakes. But that is just the starting point.

What really happens is improvisation. Fly fishing, a delicate improvisers’ game if there ever was one, is much about not letting the unexpected fool you. “The golf of fishing”, as it’s called, is in some aspects much like jazz, a world of interwoven details and meanings proved lethally addictive and endlessly rich with information.

The point, however, is not to marry jazz and fly fishing by force, but to do it effortlessly. Thus, the equipment and band members plus staff are fitted in to a bus that holds all necessary instruments for jazz and fly fishing. All this is executed with a touch of class, fishing with suits on, performing concerts in never-before-seen out of town settings.

Imagine a cracking modern jazz original next to the never-ending Northern summer light, a trout’s playful jump somewhere on the background, perhaps a nice slice of arctic char being cooked on the pan courtesy of the chef’s masterful touch. Make no mistake, though, nature hosts and jazz is the guest.

And apparently someone in the group is a fairly decent photographer too.