Rome, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy
Ecuador, Cuenca, Azuay

Life’s a Good Gig by John Cain
(an anthology of jazz musicians from different countries)
© 2007 Published by Enertia Publishing, San Diego, CA

“No one around plays like pianist Jim Gala. At first I couldn’t figure out what he was doing musically. I couldn’t analyze the music. It was just too beautiful and beyond my scope, and it went by so fast. All I could do was let the music wash over me and accept its effect.”

“Most modern or progressive jazz is like abstract art, like Picasso paintings. It can sound angular, cubist, way out and disjointed yet have interesting and pleasing colors and shapes. The Jim Gala Trio’s music was like impressionistic paintings; beautiful colors blurring and blending and the forms having soft edges. Yet they swung.”

“At this time, I was playing piano six nights a week …I was going through a phase where I felt like I’d lost my groove. I had lost my inspiration and fun about playing music. Hearing this trio’s music cleansed and regenerated my spirit. They were completely un-amplified and their music was beautiful. I was amazed. I became a listener of music again for the first time in years.”

“As I got to know him better, I asked him if he’d tutor me or give me some lessons. He would (say), ‘I might be able to sometime…maybe.’ And then…change the subject. I felt like he was the Zen Master who was making me, the student, wait outside the temple door in the snow for a year to see if I was really serious. After a few months with the band packing up, he fingered me to come over and stand behind him at the piano. ‘Listen to this’, he said. He played the first sixteen bars of the old standard, “My Foolish Heart”, and to me it sounded like Claude Monet’s painting, “Giverny Spring”. That was my first lesson.”

“Jim Gala had to see if I was receptive to his philosophy of music before he was going to (spend) time on me. He was interested in what kind of person I was more than how good a musician I was. I wanted to know how he was playing certain things, but he would only tell me why. It was all philosophical and allegorical. I was hoping for more (technical) information like “instead of going to the relative minor here, I’ll finger it this way and alter the bass note a half step and raise the fifth.”

“Jim Gala doesn’t think of himself as a great piano player. His main goal in piano is simply to create beauty.”

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