I have been aware of my ability to think music from as far back as I can remember. I grew up in an environment where the blues and gospel music styles were all I got to hear performed live. As I grew older I started to hear jazz and then became aware of bebop. Jazz education was hard to come by for me in those days. Bebop education was by word-of-mouth and examples in sound. I took note of much of the information received along the way and became fond of a piece of advice I heard often: " You have to know the blues in order to play bebop". I started with the blues. I always heard the blues in the churches, on the radio and on the streets. The blues is part of my thinking process. It is natural. I love it. I've always had the urge to create music. However, as I grew up there was an increasing gap between what I was creating and what I was being taught in school. That caused me to question just who the "Music Masters" were. I tried to find a satisfactory definition of music itself. Even today I'm not convinced that a true definition of music exists. I tended to favor those that included "Masters" like BB King, Louie Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Jordan, Nat Cole, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, "Bird" Charlie Parker "Red" Garland or Lou Donaldson and many others. I was particularly drawn to the creations of Clifford Brown and Red Garland. The clarity of their tonal mathematics was fascinating to me. I've listened to the music of many artists over the years. The label "Music Masters" kept nagging me. I was taught in school that the "Masters" of music were all European such as Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn or Bach. Music, I was told, was created in places like India, China or Europe but not in Africa. I learned later that the initial European music scholars knew little about African music. African music was deemed to be simply the noises of a savage people. The music beaming into my mind is rooted in Africa. I wondered how it could be that the beautiful music constantly beaming into my mind is unreal? That conflict led to my inquiry into the meaning of music.
Fre means free, while bop means dance. It is a free dance through the possibilities of the tone-combinations of the equal-temperament chromatic scale. My inquiry has led me to conclude that what we call music is a thing that exists throughout the world and possibly the entire universe. No matter what label is applied to describe it, its sound remains constant. Of the many possible chromatic scales that exist, the equal temperament chromatic scale is most commonly used to express musical choices in the world today. That scale was developed mainly in Europe. It is like the alphabet. We speak through the alphabet. We speak through the chromatic scale. Many attempts have been made to establish and control the languages developed from that arrangement. For instance, "Christians" and "pagans" have been both at odds and in unity regarding the acceptable expression of music throughout music history. One demands expressive control while the other demands freedom of choice. Frebop is about the freedom of choice to express ones musical thoughts using any language adopted.
Of the many of the artists I have heard over the years, the most notable I think of as Freboppers. Those are the musicians who as Haydn is said to have quipped consider the tones of the chromatic scale to be their most humble and obedient servants. Many artists fit into that category regardless of their race or style. In my view, a Frebopper has a basic intrinsic understanding of the relationships of the tones of the equal-temperament chromatic scale to each other that all 12 tones are equal to each other. In other words, a Frebopper can "hear" and "think" through the equal-temperament chromatic scale as a whole." That is why such fantastic music has been produced by "uneducated" musicians. It seems to me that one important difference between the "educated' and "uneducated" musician is the fact that one is hampered by the need to consult a mountain of philosophies, theories, symbols and rules prior to allowing his/her self to transmit directly. The Frebopper may be unaware of those factors and has developed a way of speaking music without them. It is probable that a Frebopper has inspired the writing of every music theory book.
"Red" Garland inspired this system by playing his piano in a certain manner for me. No written or spoken symbols were involved. Later I set about trying to write down what I had heard only to find it impossible. As a solution I created our logo and named it The Music Maze. When Miles Davis saw the Maze he remarked that I could hear what he hears. The difference was that he thought that I had found a way to see what we both heard. He wanted to see music as I thought I saw it at the time. I had not developed a way to verbalize my system at the time and Miles passed away before I could speak to him again. I finally realized that I was not seeing music at all; only hearing my musical thought through the great maze of suggested possibilities created by the equal temperament chromatic scale. I wanted to teach bebop. I found that to be impossible. None of the musicians I deem to be Freboppers were bebop teachers. Many of them have found it difficult to find employment due to the lack of symbols to communicate their musical thought. Some of the Freboppers I have heard include Ella, Louie Jordan, Louie Armstrong,Clifford, Coltrane, Miles, "Fathead", "Red", Frank Foster, Marchel Ivery, James Clay, Skip Pearson and Freddie Hubbard, among many, many others. They all experienced difficulty at describing the sources of their inspired choices of expression. That source is the main focal point among musicians, philosophers, music teachers and students alike. The description of that source is quite elusive and seems to be unteachable. A musician may be taught some things, but it's doubtful that he/she can be taught to be a musician. The musician is born with a certain talent connected to that source mentioned above . He/she will eventually wind up being self taught.
Frebop-U exists to allow me to share some of the tools I developed to help me "see" what I "hear" through the equal temperament chromatic scale. I met an older musician who wondered why this system was not available to him earlier in his life. I met a very young musician who- within a relatively short period of time- proved to be what I call a true Frebopper over a very short period of time.. I was also told that the information I'm sharing contained nothing new. If you are a certain type of musician this information coulld prove to be helpful. Many times over the years I have come into contact with musicians who seem to be confused over the difference between the actual sounds they wish to express and the theories and symbols associated with those sounds. Words and other symbols represent sounds but they are not sounds. By "me" I mean that I am the sounds that I express. The origins of those sounds dictated through me are found at the source of my being.