SKF NOTE: The circumstances of this Ed Soph interview are posted here.
Our exchange in this post involves two instances where musical communication is precise as verbal communication. I experienced it. Ed Soph experienced it.
Such instances are rare in my experience. I think such a high level of musical communication must take a high level of musicianship and listeners very aware of, and receptive to, their own intuition.
It would be great to hear from other musicians with similar experiences.
Scott K Fish: I’m thinking about a very high level of musical communication. For example, I read a [Joe Zawinul] interview [in which] he was relating some of [his] horrible experiences…as a child in war torn Austria.
Many months after that I saw Weather Report in concert. Peter Erskine had just joined the band. Zawinul played an unaccompanied, unannounced keyboard piece. As I listened, the music conjured up images of Zawinul’s childhood years in Austria. It was very moving.
When the piece ended, Zawinul announced the song title, and it was about his Austrian childhood during World War II.
Ed Soph: I’ll tell you about a similar experience. Wayne Darling and I did an album on Enja Records with Joe Henderson called “Barcelona.” [When] we were going out onstage to play, and Wayne said, “What do you want to do, Joe?” Joe said, “Oh, I don’t know. Something with a Spanish flavor.”
So we get done playing – and that’s what came out. Joe dictated the whole direction of the thing. Fortunately we followed and it came out pretty cohesive.
But, we got through, went back to the room and were listening to the tape. Joe’s sitting there cackling, going, “Yeah, man. We took a trip to Barcelona.” Joe had been to Barcelona during bullfight time, and that’s what he was playing off of.
About eight months later I had the [concert] tape with me and I was out doing a clinic. Dave Liebman was on the clinic with me. I said, “Have you heard this thing that we did with Joe?”
“No,” [Dave said]. “I’ve heard about it, but I haven’t heard it.”
I said, “Here. Listen to it.” Liebman listened to it and when the tape was through he looked at it and said, “Damn! You cats were in Barcelona, weren’t you?”
I said, “Did you know the name of the record?”
He said, “No. I’ve been to Barcelona around such-and-such a time.”
I asked Liebman, “Do you play off of geographic impressions and that sort of thing?”
He said, “All the time.”