At first glance, the Saint Louis University Cancer Center and the St. Louis Symphony seem to have vastly different missions. One seeks to provide the best care possible following an often devastating diagnosis. The other seeks to spread the beauty of music wherever it can.
But a unique collaboration looks to combine those two missions as often as possible in the region's first comprehensive music therapy program – to the benefit of both organizations and the people they serve.
Jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea replaced Herbie Hancock in Miles Davis’ band in the late 1960’s and blossomed as a composer, band leader and improviser through decades of genre-bending traditions, especially those electric jazz-rock fusion years that lead him to form, among other groups, Return To Forever, the fourth edition of which is about to embark on an extensive U.S. tour amidst their 2011 World Tour featuring Frank Gamble on guitar, Jean Luc-Ponty on the violin and Larry White and Stanley Clarke on drums and bass respectfully. St. Louis Public Radio’s Aaron Doerr spoke with him by phone, asking him about learning music, the role of one’s environment, and jazz and the complexity of reaching a wide range of people with a genre so rooted in musicianship and technical skills.
Aaron Doerr: How have you been doing and happy belated birthday! You just turned 70 this past June. Do world tours age you quicker or keep you young?
Chick Corea: Oh yeah no... I definitely love to play and travel so travel's part of the deal, you know... and you get used to it. You get used to the actual physical traveling - you get all those little things together that you have to have together for hotels, and planes and busses and all that, but… definitely playing the music keeps me fresh.
Charlie Hunter hasn't used his famous 8-string bass-guitar hybrid for some three years now. These days, it's seven strings. He's got the low three of a bass and the middle four of a guitar, all tuned a minor third higher than normal. He happily abandoned the highest string in favor of a more condensed and practical version of his one-of-a-kind instrument. He may be practicing more drums than guitar nowadays anyway. His 2nd solo album, Public Domain, is highly percussive. Released on his own label, Public Domain kicks the dust off eleven old standards from his grandfather's era, who turns one hundred this year.
At noon on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the 90 members of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra are on stage at Powell Hall getting ready to rehearse German composer Paul Hindemith's "Symphonic Metamorphosis."
Typical Thanksgiving break plans for trombonist David Lindsay, a junior at Pattonville High School who's in his first year with the orchestra, don't include an hour and a half rehearsal.