JIMMY HAAG - Diana Ross, Lou Rawls, Tommy Dorsey
As an old guy, I find myself not willing to change a lot of things in my life especially if they're not broken. But the again, I realize that technology is always changing and even if I'm not happy about trying new things, it's possible that equipment has actually changed for the better.When I first discovered Theo's mouthpieces I had a preconceived idea in my head that nothing could compare to what we all have played for many years. I'm proud to say that I was wrong. It's nice that the people like the looks upon first glance but I'm a Frank Lloyd Wright sort of guy. The proof is in the sound. BINGO!!
A few notes and I was hooked with their ease of use and the fact that they were "Ear Candy". I believe everyone needs to try one just once to be hooked. You owe it to yourself to sound the best you can be.
Having played music my whole life, it has always been a dream to succeed in this wondrous art form. I went to Berklee at a time when it was one of a few truly acclaimed music programs.My dream was to always come to Las Vegas and along the way I learned much from being on the road. My mentor from Berklee, Wes Hensel, really helped me get established out here in Las Vegas and to him I'm eternally grateful. Everything was going great and then it happened...I had an accident whereby I received 3 separate cervical disc neck fusions which left me with around 23% use of my hands and legs.Add to that my life was already interesting with me being born legally blind. I decided that I had two basic choices. Give up any thought of pursuing my musical dream or get on helping others that might have the same goals as I did. I formed my business called Jimmy's Music which in addition to my playing here in Las Vegas, was a way to teach privately and give clinics.
Why did you choose to become a musician?
I've always believed that we all have a need to be happy. Having a job is ok but the thought of doing something just to earn money and get by is almost counterproductive. It just makes sense to utilize your limited time here on Earth wisely. I am really fortunate. I learned a long time ago that music involved most of my waking thoughts and has continued to be a never-ending passion of mine. I am constantly improving and evolving. Why not get involved in something that truly makes you happy and has no ceiling or ending. Being a musician has many benefits but none more important than being on a journey of constant inspiration. Imagine this--people have jobs but we get paid to play. That can't be all bad.
What is your experience when you feel connected into the music?
I feel connected and engaged whenever I'm demonstrating to a private student or a classroom full of students the principles of music and especially when the light bulbs are going off in their heads and they finally get it. This truly is an extension of my playing and my will to overcome what has been added to my plate full of blessings from above.
What is your experience of when you don't feel connected to your music?
I have been past treasurer for the State of Nevada for the now defunct IAJE and am a member of the new organization of J.E.N. (Jazz Education Network). In addition to these and past NAMM conventions, I find myself around the industry's top professionals. Whenever I encounter them, I feel so very disconnected as they represent what life could have been for me and bring back so many memories of all my gigs of the past. I would have it to do no other way as I believe the path I've been given has made me stronger.
Where does your inspiration comes from? What does it feel like?
Inspiration like snow flakes and improvised solos are and should always be unique. This music thing has occupied my every waking moments. My inspiration comes from the day when I will be able to stand and play again with my brother musicians and that no one would ever suspect any anomalies in my playing or person in general.
What is your experience while improvising? Does it relate to any spirituality you may practice in your life?
Improvisation is defined as a surprise. It can also be explained as the union of both the right and left brain. The right brain is trained to understand all the nuts and bolts while the left brain expresses all of life's experiences and emotions. Since we're all on uniquely different paths, so goes the diverse improvisational ideas.I for one am so glad that my life turned out the way it did as my experiences have made me stronger. I owe great thanks to the Lord above for constantly presenting me with challenges.
Where does your inspiration while composing come from? What is your experience of that inspiration like?
I believe for me it would actually be the same answer as the question of improvising.
Do you have any fun stories of inspirational moments to share?
I have been so blessed to help so many potential musicians to be able to express themselves as well as have the younger ones go on to many, many universities and colleges. They are constantly visiting me for a refresher lesson or two and are telling me stories about their journeys as well.The other day in fact my friend,Thom Pastor(Sec/Treasurer of the Las Vegas Musicians Union) called me on the phone and said I was the "Joe Viola" of Las Vegas. I would never think that way but just to be mentioned in the same breath as my former teachers, Joe and Joe is quite an honor. I used to want to be another great jazz musician but with all of my given circumstances, I'll take on the dream of just being good enough to carry their horns if I could. Theo Wanne has made most of my dreams come true after the fact with the best equipment known to man. I am so very fortunate and blessed to be a small part of a wonderful Theo Wanne family.