Sunday, October 9, 2016

Mary Halvorson on the influence of Braxton

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TC: What is the most important thing you feel you learned from Braxton?
MH: It’s really hard to narrow it down to just one thing! So I might cheat and mention a few things. When I first met Anthony and started taking his classes at age 17, his music inspired me deeply (and it still does today). During those early years as a student he constantly encouraged me to explore, and to get out of my comfort zone. He encouraged mistakes, and encouraged taking risks even if it meant failing. His musical universe is and was so expansive and diverse, and seeing the scope of what he’s done and how he continues to change and evolve is inspiring in itself. He is fearless, and makes no compromises. In my mind, all kinds of boundaries started dissolving. Anthony also taught me to value musical tradition of all kinds, to be open-minded, and to check out absolutely everything. He never qualified one kind of music as “better” than another kind. And maybe most importantly, he gave me the courage to pursue music as a career. When I was 19 and trying to decide if I should become a musician, I really wanted to but just didn’t think I could pull it off. Fortunately, I had Anthony, and my guitar teacher Joe Morris (Joe was the other really important figure during my college years) pushing me to go for it. I needed that. (Troy Collins, Mary Halvorson: Variety and Contrast, Point of Departure, issue 52, 2015)

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