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Folk music of Pakistan

Music in Pakistan: Here you will find a new version of folk music you may or may not be familiar with.

The term Folk music is wide and can mean different things to different people but it can be interpreted as National music, Local music or Traditional music .

Music of any country exhibits the mood of people of that country, it also depicts the taste of the people of that very country. Music also shows culture and traditions of that very country.

Pakistan is a country situated in south Asia. There is a lot of change in the weather of Pakistan and you can feel this change in the folk music of Pakistan too. There are four provinces of Pakistan namely Punjab, NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan, which vary widely in climate as well as in their local music. In Punjab s local music you can feel strong shadows of sufiism, Qawwali is very much popular in Punjab, Qawwali is mostly in praise of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his near and dear ones.

Except Qawwali there are different kinds of music in Punjab like Kafi, Mahiya, Sufiyana kalam etc. But anyone listening to the music feels the strong shadow of spiritualism in it.

It will make you feel relaxed and take you out of this world into the other world, in which you feel free from all worries, free from desires and free from fears. It is a scientifically proven fact that a religious and spiritual person is not very afraid of death and has less greed than other persons. It is the best features of this music that it makes you feel light and relaxed. Anybody who doesn t get a chance has the right to disagree from this statement that this music (local music of Punjab) make you feel relaxed, but it is strongly recommended for those people that they give it a try. Here it must be made clear that this is about local music of Punjab included in Pakistan because Punjab has a totally different taste in music.

Summarizing this article, it can be said that folk music of Pakistan is slow, relaxing, having a good poetry and is of good taste and as described above in this article that we can guess mood of people of a country by knowing folk music of that country: it can be concluded that people of Pakistan are noble, hardworking and having great traditions of hospitality.

Written by Muhammad Bilal Sharif -

The Miracle of Improvising: An Interview with Lee Konitz

Michael Robinson

A New Yorker for most of his life but now settled in Los Angeles, Robinson's love affair with music began at age 8 with trumpet and piano. That interest graduated to alto saxophone. He entered the Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam, as a saxophone major, switching to composition in his junior year. After receiving a BM in composition, he went on to study at Tanglewood and CalArts. He also studied under the legendary alto saxophonist, Lee Konitz, whom he calls "one of the very few surviving architects of modern jazz."

His exposure to Indian classical music began in 1994, when a friend invited him to attend his tabla lessons with Harihar Rao, the senior disciple of Ravi Shankar, and president of the Music Circle, which presents concerts of Indian classical music. "Soon after, I began my own private lessons with Rao, who introduced me to the aesthetics and techniques of the raga form. Currently, Robinson has 36 CDs to his credit, many of which are based on Indian ragas.

You can visit his website for more details at: http://www.azuremilesrecords.com

Lee Konitz is our greatest living jazz artist. This includes the ability to improvise a breathtakingly original and beautiful melodic phrase at the drop of a hat, and there is no sign of his vast creative well ever drying up. While many of his musician friends and peers, artists such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Bill Evans, are long gone, Konitz has not only survived the perils of the jazz life, but he continues to evolve, seemingly incapable of repeating himself, or compromising his music. Upon examining his recordings of specific jazz standards compared to other greats, I have realized that he frequently surpasses everyone in terms of depth of invention and expression, and also spontaneity; the essence of improvisation. Long regarded as the most complex and esoteric jazz artist, Lee's music soars over the heads of average jazz fans, and that is why he is appreciated mostly by connoisseurs. It is interesting to note that before I began my intensive studies of Indian classical music in 1994, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane were my favorite jazz artists. Now, six years later, they have been replaced by Konitz and Bill Evans. Konitz is also the jazz artist who has the most in common with great Indian classical musicians, despite the fact that he never engages in modal improvisation, something he doesn't enjoy. The connection Konitz has to Indian classical music stems from the abstract and subtle nature of his art, fueled by an intense and uninhibited fusing of spiritual and intellectual energies, and also from his New York City/Chicago/Russian/European Jewish cultural heritage, the musical distillation of which yields a profound melancholy, both haunting and comforting. As a result, he often transcends the limitations of the popular songs which modern jazz artists base their improvisations on. One instance which comes to mind is how he transforms the tight restrictions of the great jazz ballad "Round Midnight" into a luminous intergalactic time warp of sensuality, emotion and introspection on the duet recording "Toot Sweet" with the late pianist, Michel Petrucciani.

Following my freshman year of college, I had the opportunity to study improvisation and saxophone with Konitz in New York City. One memory that stands out is how we would trade choruses at the end of the lesson accompanied by a metronome. There is a print in my mind's eye of Lee gazing out the window of his West 86th Street apartment on a summer Saturday afternoon, while weaving blues choruses of timeless quality that were never heard before, and would never be heard again. (This interview took place in my Beverly Hills apartment during Lee's engagement at the Jazz Bakery.)

Lee, do you remember what your original impetus to make music was when you were a child? I'm not sure how old you were when you first started playing the clarinet. I think that was your first instrument..

Yes. When I was eleven years old I asked for and received a clarinet. I had been listening to the radio a lot, to the dance bands. That was a big impetus. My older brother loved to sing spontaneously, and that was always fun.

Sing popular songs?

No, well sometimes, yeah.

Classical?

Jewish

What was he singing?

No, he was just improvising little popular ditties of the day, but he wasn't into standards or anything really.

He'd sing along with the radio or just out into the air?

No, he would just burst into spontaneous song.

And your parents weren't particularly musical?

Not really, no.

So it was the radio then.

It was the radio and my friends basically.

And when did you first make the movement from playing a recognizable song that you heard on the radio to actually creating your own music by improvising?

I always had the first feeling I had was to improvise before I knew songs. We'd start out by just kinda playing freely investigating.

You and your friends?

No, just alone. I think when we pick up an instrument any of us

Actually, most people I know, they have to have the music. They first begin by learning scales. That's rather unusual actually.

I doubt it. I think before a person sets the music up on the stand they just fool around trying to place their fingers, trying to make some kind of a logical sound, and that's the basis I think for the intrigue and putting a note next to another note making music.

It sounds like Swing jazz was your original inspiration for music.

Yeah.

Was there any particular orchestra or jazz band you recall that

Benny Goodman was one of the big influences

I never heard that before!

as a clarinet player. That's why I wanted the clarinet etc. and I was listening to it. A lot of the bands were recording from, doing remotes from ballrooms around the country, and a lot of people that I read about were doing the same thing, listening under the covers when they're supposed to be sleeping or studying.

I think Benny Goodman is probably a great model. I don't know his music very well, but the little bit that I've heard amazes me at how musical he is because sometimes his reputation is more of a popular figure than a great jazz musician, at least to someone from my generation. Later on, did he remain one of your favorite clarinet players or do you like Artie Shaw more or any other

Well, I like some other clarinet players better actually. I do like Artie Shaw. I think he's more musical in some ways than Benny. But that was an initial first love, and a first love always occupies a special place. I wish that person outside would stop coughing.

I'll close it {the side window}. What motivated you to switch from the clarinet to the saxophone?

Well, I understood that if I wanted to work that the saxophone was the main instrument. The clarinet was what we call a double, so I got a tenor saxophone from my loving parents the second year, and then at some point I was offered a situation to play alto in a club with kind of a show band, and so the alto kinda indicated to me

So it wasn't particularly that you liked the sound of the saxophone better than the sound of the clarinet, it was more of a practical thing that was your

No, it started out practically and then I enjoyed playing the saxophone more.

And you preferred the alto originally and not the tenor?

As I say, I got the tenor, and then I took this job on the alto, and the alto appealed to me more at the time.

I see. When you started playing the clarinet and the alto did you take to them very easily, did you have any difficulty, or was it just a real natural thing, you just mastered, or started mastering the instruments in a very gradual but steady basis.

Yeah. I studied steadily and gradually and steadily I learned how to play. {A bird begins singing loudly just outside the front window.} I'm still gradually and steadily learning how to play.

I've notice in your playing recently - I only get to hear you live when you're here in LA - that there's a very floating-like, ethereal sound, an emphasis more on that then I've heard in the past. Do you recognize that, is this a conscious thing?

Well, as I explained before, playing the way I suggested to the pianist and the guitarist, Alan Broadbent and Larry Koonse, who are in this job with me for five days, I wanted to play a freer version of tunes, instead of just coming in and turning on a tempo and adhering to that tempo, I like kinda playing around and getting into the tune in a more subtle way, and they jumped at the opportunity, and my position in this, if I really listen to what each guy is doing, I almost have to walk on eggshells to not overblow. As soon as I play full bodied, when I play a lot of notes, suddenly I block out the rest of the sound, and so I'm just kinda poking around looking for the right note to fit the chords I'm hearing. The chordal instruments control the whole show unless I just take over and play a lead voice and they hang onto what I'm doing, and somehow I choose to just listen and try to react to what I'm hearing around me. I'm hearing chords, a lot of chords, and trying to find, I don't know what they are, as th ey're being played, a light doesn't register B flat seven altered, I'm just reacting to the sound basically. Sometimes it fits, sometimes I wiggle out of it quickly or chromatically then to another place, and by that time there's another chord to catch me in flight etc., etc. But it's a very touch and go kind of a discipline. It's intriguing to do, but as a result I hold back a little more maybe than I would if I were just playing straight forward.

You touched upon something that reminded me of a comment you made a few years back. I once asked you when you're playing are you conscious of what the chords are, or is that not even something you're thinking about, and your response to me was something to the effect , "Well, D minor seven, G seven, A minor seven, D seven, if you're thinking that there's not much going on." Would you like to elaborate on that thought?

I try to react to the sound I'm hearing and names and theoretical things don't occur to me at best. If they do then I'm not doing my real playing mode. The playing mode is when you're open and receptive to whatever sound, even if it's a sound out in the audience. It all becomes part of the music to me. (I met reedman Ira Schulman at one of Lee's performances at the Jazz Bakery. He had the opportunity to hear Charlie Parker perform numerous times, and he remarked on how spontaneous Parker was, incorporating sounds and sights from the audience into his improvisations. At one of the Jazz Bakery performances the air conditioning system began making soft percussive sounds which most people did not even notice right before a tune was to start and Lee commented, "Now we have a rhythm section!" He was playing with just piano and guitar.) And so at this stage after playing for all these years, I still can't just I could if I stopped and said, "Well that was a D minor, G seven," but I really don't want to know that. I just want to know that there's another combination of notes that makes a sound.

I'm very curious to know, is it just as easy for you to play a tune, say "All The Things You Are", in F sharp or B major, is that easy for you?

Well that's kind of my daily kind of practice.

So you could play any tune in any key.

Yeah.

Because you're reacting to what you hear.

Yeah. It's easier to play in the familiar key because I play in that key more, but if I played for a while in the other key

To what degree when you're playing is it a matter of what you hear, and to what degree is it a matter of how you feel physically. For instance, the great trumpet teacher, Charlie Colin, once said that the body is the instrument, your body is the instrument. So what I'm getting at here, I'm just curious to know, how much is it of a physical feeling of how your body feels, and how much of it is something that you hear or something intellectual. I'm sure that it's a combination. Would you like to elaborate on that?

At best it's a combination certainly. As I'm playing - the other night for example - there was an especially good communication with Alan when we played the first set as a duet, and I could just feel like wanting to dance, and wanting to really participate physically, and to kinda straighten up and loosen up and do the things sometimes when I'm playing and very involved in manipulating the instrument, like kinda maybe getting into a locked physical position and not really breath and feel the full body part of the music. That's what it is. We start out by feeling the music internally, expressing it somehow externally before we choose to put it into the instrument, and then, hopefully, it's an extension of us into the instrument. We are the instrument. The other the actual instrument is just an amplification of what we're hearing.

You have one of the most distinctive sounds in the history of jazz and

Thank you

Are there one or two saxophone players, whose sound, just their tone, I'm not talking about their conception, just their sound, had a special impact on you, just the tone quality.

Johnny Hodges was the first one.

Really, I never heard that before!

And Lester Young was a major one.

Even though he played tenor.

Yeah.

Transcend that difference of instrument

Purity of his sound

Did you get to hear him play live frequently?

I did, but I wasn't that aware of him at the time.

So it's mostly from recordings that you

Yeah, thank god for recordings.

Yeah. I sometimes feel in some ways Lester Young is the most complex rhythmically of any musician. He does some things rhythmically which are just phenomenal.

Well, it was one-hundred percent music. There was no ego involved, no attitudes, no black and white, it was pure music, and Charlie Parker less in a way. There were some problems that came out through his music that were extra musical. But at his best his sound was a great sound also. When he wasn't really overblowing or being funky and everything, that wasn't my favorite part of him. But I mean if you ever heard him, his playing with Jay McShann, that's when and where he started, that was pure beautiful sound.

You once mentioned to me something that I don't think anyone realizes, and it's really a fascinating story. When you at one point in the fifties I guess, you told a story that Stan Kenton engaged yourself, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie as soloists with his orchestra on the same performance!

Yes. I had been with the band for a year and a half, and I went home, quit the band to be with my family, and he called sometime later and asked me would you come on tour, and I said "OK, great. I'm familiar with the band, I'm familiar with the music, so it'll be a snap." And I said, "Who else will be on the program?" He said, "Charlie Parker." I said, "Whaaat!!! What's happening here???" Well, it was a nice experience. Bird was it was a chance to get to know him a little better. I told the story a few times about him asking for ten dollars once, at the beginning of the tour, and I gave him ten dollars, and ten dollars was a lot of money in 1952, and a week later as we were boarding the bus I asked him for the ten. He said, "Just a minute", and the next guy who came up on the bus he borrowed ten asked for ten and handed it to me.

(Laughs) I never heard that!

And also, he sat with me when one of my children was being born in New York, and we were in Seattle, Washington, and kinda thought that I needed a friend, and we spent the day together. It was a very sweet gesture.

This is fascinating for people to hear because you and Charlie Parker are the two main alto stylists of modern jazz, so any interaction between the two of you is really fascinating.

I felt a very nice feeling from him. (Laughs) Another story that just occurred to me recently, a week ago was March 12, the anniversary of Charlie Parker's death, and it was also my father's birthday. At one time Charlie came up to me and said, "You know your father came up to me and told me that he thought you could play better than me." And I said, "That's not possible because my father don't know who you are!" and he's in Chicago. This is in New York when Bird told me this.

I remember relating the story of this tour to someone who told me that the musicians on the tour were saying that in those performances you were actually outplaying Charlie Parker.

'Cutting Bird' is the expression. I was comfortable playing music that I had played for a year and a half, and Bird was playing new music in a strange environment and he wasn't terribly comfortable. So the way the story goes is that Dizzy said, "Hey, listen. The young guy is cutting you." And then Dizzy said "I regret saying that, because the next night I had to follow Bird and he played his ass off."

Do you recall if either of you played a ballad on that occasion?

Yeah. We both played a ballad.

You don't remember specifically what tunes you played

He (Bird) played "My Funny Valentine" and I played "Lover Man." And "My Funny Valentine" and "All The Things You Are" and "Cherokee" were arrangements written by Bill Holman for the occasion for Bird to play, and after the tour Bird was unable to record them so I recorded those pieces. (During a conversation later in the day Lee told me about a week he spent around that time taking the place of Charlie Parker and playing in a quintet with Miles Davis, John Lewis, Max Roach and Al McKibbens in a New York jazz club.)

Did Bird ever make any comments or compliments about your playing or ask you any questions?

Yes. A number of times over the years. When I would meet him he was always very gentle with me and mentioned that he really appreciated that I didn't try to play like him. At this point you have to remember EVERYBODY was playing like him.

Was that a conscious decision or was it more a case where

It was conscious to a point, to kind of a ego point I would say. That I didn't want to get into that powerful influence. I already had a powerful influence in Lennie Tristano and that was sustaining me. His encouragement was all I needed. But I was missing the great music that Charlie Parker played, so when I was able to really study and learn some of his solos and everything I was able to appreciate why he was so great.

One of the most interesting recordings I ever heard, and I wish someone had the foresight to record this, was hearing Tristano and Charlie Parker playing together, I think it was a Metronome All-Star performance, so they were both at their peak. If those two had done an album of duets, I think that would have been tremendous, because Charlie Parker has such a fluidity and Tristano had almost a computer-like articulation, very angular and very precise, and I think that contrast was exceptionally interesting and beautiful.

There is something somewhere on a bootleg record I think. Charlie Parker and Kenny Clarke went up to the Tristano studio and Kenny played brushes on a telephone book and Bird played a few tunes with Lennie. I have it someplace.

(Short Break)

Just to speak about the present time before we go back again, I just completed a tour in Europe before I came here to California. From February 7th through March 14th I played every night. There was one night off before the very last date in Switzerland. This was all over Europe, Eastern Europe and Western Europe. And this requires traveling some days for six hours in a van or a train or a car, and sometimes it seems the traveling is difficult, but since I'm not digging ditches or doing physical labor, I'm just sitting back maybe dozing off or reading a book or talking with the guys if I'm traveling with guys, whatever, and then we come to the time to check into the hotel and rest a little bit and have something to eat and then go and play music. And after six weeks of that I came to California. I checked into the hotel and I just fell apart. I felt I could finally let myself go and realized what a strain that really is. All that moving around is very difficult and I feel that's what we get paid for really , not for playing the music! It's a great way to work. The rewards are very great and so I appreciate now in my 71st year I can still do that pretty comfortably, but I do feel that.

Just to wrap up what we were talking about before, one of my favorite recordings of yours, and there are many I have not heard, is the recording of "Just Friends" with Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and Martial Solal on the album named "Satori." This is a particularly great recording, and of course, one of Charlie Parker's most famous recordings is his version of "Just Friends," that's one of his great masterpieces.

Right. It is.

I came to the realization that your recording of "Just Friends" surpasses his

Wow.

in terms of

It's because I didn't have that schmaltzy background.

Anyway, anyone who has not heard that recording should check out the "Satori" album. (Before Lee stopped me I was about to say that the depth and originality of his melodic and rhythmic invention displayed in "Just Friends," along with his improvisation's organic flow and perfect form, not to mention the passionate expression and majestic tone, make this one of the greatest recorded solos in jazz history, surpassing even Charlie Parker's masterpiece on the same tune.) Another big favorite of mine is your recording of "Night And Day" with Red Mitchell playing piano on the Cole Porter album. That's one of my that solo could be it's extraordinary. That's a great one.

I'll have to check it out.

(This rendition of "Night And Day" is the greatest I have ever heard by any jazz artist. This is especially notable because many musicians consider "Night And Day" to be the most perfectly composed standard of all.)

When I studied with you back in 1975 I was very surprised because at the time you were transcribing one of John Coltrane solos. It was a ballad (Konitz's duet recording of the ballad "Zingaro" on his recent "Jobim Collection" CD with pianist Peggy Stern is the most beautiful interpretation of the Brazilian composer's music I have ever heard.)

(Begins humming "Weaver Of Dreams.")

Yes. So as I understand it you are not a great fan of Coltrane's later modal period and his free jazz period, but his earlier period when he was playing within tunes and doing ballads

Out of Coltrane's whole history, out of the whole history of his playing there are many things which I think are great from all the periods. There's something about the intensity and the sound of his music that kinda grates me in some way. I have to be in a special mood for that kind of experience, and it is a very special experience when it happens. I'm still talking about Lester Young and the peacefulness, relative peacefulness there doesn't seem to be any antagonism, there's no message to be heard except pure music. I hear many extra-musical things somehow in Coltrane specifically.

You made that comment before when we were listening to Ben Webster play "How Deep Is The Ocean" on the tape in the car. You made the comment, "Just music, pure music." What did you mean by that?

It's just all our concern with is just on making the most beautiful sound we can make and not proving anything more than that, so it's 100% of our attention to make that happen. After playing now for sixty years it's still very challenging for me to play a simple melody and have it clean and touch the reed at the proper time in the proper way and release it and vibrate if I want or not vibrate. Not get saliva in the sound and breathe comfortably etc., etc., etc. Get all the moving parts into synchronization. It's a major need in playing an instrument.

The reason I bring up Coltrane is because I believe that yourself, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane are the three major stylists on saxophone in modern jazz. So I would like to ask did you have any personal contact with Coltrane at all?

I didn't.

Never met him

I met him but that was that. I didn't get to hang out with him. I read stories about Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson and Sonny Rollins hanging out and practicing. I think that was a very special experience. I just read an interview with Freddie Hubbard. Freddie was close to those people and he mentioned how he spent two hours a day going from Sonny Rollins who would say, "What's Coltrane practicing?" over to Coltrane saying, "What's Sonny Rollins practicing?" We all learn from each other and I never really hung out with guys in that way, so I missed out.

When you recorded the album "Motion" with Elvin Jones did you discuss Coltrane at all with Elvin?

No. He came in at 8:30 in the morning after working with Coltrane and two basses and two tenors and we played the first take at 9:00, it was a take that was accepted.

I have a transcription of one of your solos from that session. I think it's "I Remember You?" Is that correct?

Yeah.

What was the tempo on that?

(Hums melody and taps a medium fast tempo.)

OK. I would just like to comment here that I have a transcription of that solo and I put it through my computer and listened to it and it's just amazing how inventive and how perfectly crafted those melodies are, how original they are, and to be going at that tempo also, it's just incredible. So that's another album I would definitely recommend.

I'm constantly amazed still at the miracle of improvising. That's what's so intriguing for a whole lifetime because in really trying to improvise I have the benefit of those surprises. Sometimes they're great surprises, sometimes they're less of a surprise. Sometimes it's almost impossible to really make it work effectively, but it's still a surprise. The ones who work out their solos, many of the people do that thinking that it's naive to improvise in front of paying customers. They have the security of knowing what they're playing and just work on playing it very well which is a full time job also. I'm not saying one way is better than another. Just trying to differentiate.

You're saying there are jazz players who work out their solos?

Jazz players. Most jazz players work out their solos.

Really! I never heard that before.

At least to the extent that they have a very specific vocabulary.

That's true. I can see what you're saying.

But also working out phrases, whole sections as though they were playing etudes, especially at fast tempos.

I see. I've been deeply involved with Indian classical music the last three or four years and I've come to the realization that of all the jazz musicians in history you are the one who has the most in common with Indian classical music. I've tried to analyze why I've come to that conclusion. It has something to do with the convoluted nature of your lines, the abstract nature of your lines, the way they turn in different directions. The Indians have a word "vakra" which means "crooked." For them this gives interest to music

(laughs) Yeah. I'm very crooked.

(laughs) that it doesn't just move in straight lines. But you've never really been influenced by Indian music, right? You've never really listened to it

Oh certainly. I love Indian music very much. But I haven't studied that specifically.

I see.

I'd like to feel that whatever I play is a result of whatever I've heard. I listen to classical music very much. There's a lot of jazz that I don't enjoy listening to. If have a moment when I want to hear something I might pick out a Bach Cello Suite rather than a Coltrane and that kind of intensity.

I think maybe one of the greatest compliments you've ever received is, as I understand it, Bill Evans listed you as one of the three major influences on his music.

He said that I was a bigger influence to him than Lennie Tristano was, which I questioned to him, I mean since he's a piano player

Did he study with Tristano?

Not that I know of. A lot of people didn't like Tristano for personal reasons or musical reasons. I think musical reasons, at first Tristano's playing, kinda very heavy-handed, very stiff rhythmically. But as he developed it became phenomenal music that any literate piano player would have to acknowledge, as any classical pianist would have to acknowledge the Goldberg Variations or some standard repertoire.

Right.

As long as there are people trying to play music in a sincere way, there will be some jazz. Who the next major voice that's going to add new vocabulary it's hard to tell. After all of these years of experiencing the development and growth of music where do you go from here as they say? Well, you just keep playing. That's about it. And if someone special comes along and organizes it in a new way then you'll have another approach and everybody will jump on it to try to learn.

Well, we've covered a lot of material here.

I think that's enough. Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen. See you around.

Credits:

  • Lee Konitz picture courtsey Lee Konitz Discography
  • Interviewer: Michael Robinson
  • Start a discussion on this article

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