People used to have to face a major change in thinking every 4 or 5 generations or more. That changed dramatically during the last century. Within one lifetime we discovered the relativity theory, the Quark, the Black Hole, or more practically speaking the radio, television, the telephone and cellphones, the internet, cars, planes, satellites etc……..

Now we have to adjust or completely revise our world view many times in a lifetime, sometimes every few years. It is a process that will most likely keep accelerating…

On the Bus

I am sitting in the band bus in San Antonio, Texas, right after the end of our show. Tonight we played at the beautiful Majestic Theater near the Riverwalk.
In El Paso I announced that Mike Middleton, our trumpet player, was from El Paso because he was born there. Yesterday in Austin I announced that he was from Austin, because he indeed lives there and today I kept that going. For no good reason I said that Mike was from San Antonio and decided that he should be from EVERY town we will play in on this tour.

I was very nervous in El Paso because Jon has created a beautiful arrangement of “America the Beautiful” which I wanted to perform in the beginning of our encore. It’s a simple and beautiful melody that every American knows by heart and I was worried that I would play a wrong note. In the dressing room I kept playing the melody over and over and over. When we did play the song it was a very moving experience and the audience seemed to carry the song with us. It was incredible. In El Paso at the Abraham Chavez Auditorium some people were crying. In Austin at Stubbs people sang along with us beautifully and it almost sounded like we had a choir backing us up. In San Antonio tonight people clapped enthusiastically. I think we will get a lot of beautiful reactions to that song during the next five weeks, because it is such an emotional time for all of us.


A beautiful example of a very joyous musical integration is the album Cachaito by Oscar “Cachaito” Lopez, the upright acoustic bass player of the Cuban band Buena Vista Social Club. On this album Lopez, who presumably received his nickname Cachaito (meaning little Cachao) to compare him to the legendary Cuban bassplayer Cachao, combines salsa, cuban folk music, caribian music, reggae and dub, hip-hop and a touch of rock guitar.


Here is a quote by Ken Wilber, from his wonderful book A Theory of Everything:

I am often asked, why we even attempt an integration of the various worldviews. Isn’t it enough to simply celebrate the rich diversity of various views and not to try to integrate them? Well, recognizing diversity is certainly a noble endeavor, and I heartily support that pluralism. But if we remain merely at the stage of celebrating diversity, we ultimately are promoting fragmentation, alienation, separation and despair. You go your way, I go my way, we both fly apart – which is often what has happened under the reign of the pluralistic relativists, who have left us a postmodern Tower of Babel on too many fronts. It is not enough to recognize the many ways in which we are all different; we need to go further and start recognizing the many ways that we are also similar.

Ken goes on to say:
Building on the rich diversity offered by pluralistic relativism, we need to take the next step and weave those many strands into a holistic spiral of unifying connections, an interwoven Kosmos of mutual intermeshing. We need, in short, to move from pluralistic relativism to universal integration.
End of Quote

I have always experienced the world through music. I associate each country with its music first, its history and politics later. I feel that my music is, and has always been an attempt to integrate what has moved me emotionally, whether that was folk music from around the world, Jazz, Classical music, Rock, Pop and more. I have always felt that I needed to try to integrate this music in some way because if I couldn’t integrate the music, those different styles would always be fighting within me for my attention. It took me a very long time to achieve any resemblance of integration and I feel that so much work is still ahead. I would be the first to admit that some of my music from the last decade was a successful integration and some of it fell short.

I also understand that some people despise any sort of integration. They love their little corner of culture and they will defend it to the death. There is something beautiful in this stance. But, it is an impossible stance, because everywhere kids are exchanging ideas via the internet and in just 10 years our World Culture will be very very different from today.

Jazz WILL sound different in 2011, despite the efforts of Winton Marsalis.

Flamenco WILL sound different despite the efforts of traditionalists, and the same will be true for other Folk music and for Rock and Pop etc…

Integration or fragmentation.
Intermeshing culture or separation.
Interwoven world views or alienation.
It is our choice.

Altitude Guitars

My guitars seem to sound different at high altitude. Santa Fe is 7000 feet above sea level and the air is thinner here. Is this because the sound from the guitar has to push less air at this altitude?

I also noticed an incredible difference in the sound depending on the humidity in the air. Usually Santa Fe has very low humidity, around 40%. But every once in a while after a summer rainstorm the humidity rises to about 70%. I noticed that the guitar seems to sound much clearer and purer the lower the humidity.

Lack of humidity can destroy a wooden instrument, but I never humidify my guitars and they have been fine for many years.