t h e a r t o f p e r c u s s i o n , a v a n t - g a r d e a n d b e y o n d . . .

 



Tisziji Muñoz
Tisziji @ Regate Studio, Upstate NY
Tisziji during the "Visiting this Planet" Sessions

Self-taught, creative musician and master of the art of improvisation, guitarist Tisziji Muñoz was born at high noon on July 15, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York while the Moon was transitting the sign of Aquarius. His musical spirit emerged early on, as he received his first set of drums at age three and by the age of nine, despite a tragic accident at the age of five from which Tisziji sustained chronic nerve-damage to his left wrist, he taught himself, and mastered, most conventional Afro-Cuban rhythmic patterns and was well into improvisational and trance-like drum meditations. When he was eleven, he was given a ukulele and readily taught himself to play and read ukulele music, but continued to focus on playing the drums and their ecstatic side-effects. Tisziji, at age thirteen, was brought into the Mongo Santamaria circle of musicians and was recognized by some as a drum prodigy, destined to be-coming a great ‘Afro-Cuban’ drummer.

Tisziji’s profound interest in ‘jazz’ as a language and a creative process was sparked in 1968 while serving in the 440th U.S. Army Band, where he performed as a featured percussionist with the 440th’s Jazz Band. It was at this time that Tisziji began teaching himself to play guitar, by studying jazz guitar and jazz harmony, while being formally introduced to the music of John Coltrane by fellow musicians.

Following a departure from military service in 1969, Tisziji pursued his music interests in Canada, generating his own musical ideas as well as taking a leading role in the development of Toronto’s underground music scene. He played as guitarist in the Hair and Godspell musicals, and met and inspired the now world-famous keyboard player, Paul Shaffer, who became Tisziji’s primary accompanist from 1970 to 1972. Also in 1972, Tisziji was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Rochdale College.

Tisziji returned to the U.S. in 1974 and began to seriously devote himself to the full time pursuit of being a creative jazz musician. He immediately met and played with the great jazz saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders, whom Tisziji later toured with. During his great time with Pharoah, Tisziji reached the zenith of his cool, warm and hot, inside and ‘outside’ jazz apprenticeship period. These years were filled with the incredible experience gained by sharing the bandstand with a master of sound in such renowned settings as the Village Vanguard, the Village Gate, Sweet Basil’s, Fat Tuesday’s, the Tin Palace, Keystone’s and the Lighthouse, to name a few great jazz clubs. At the close of Tisziji’s six years with the Pharoah Sanders’ band, he recorded with Elvin Jones and Dr. Art Davis. At the same time, Tisziji received preliminary initiations, guidance and blessings from the Hindu Yoga and Tibetan Buddhist lineage, culminating in a profound contact with His Holiness, the XVI Gyalwa Karmapa, from whom he received the Precious Black Crown Initiation.

Tisziji settled in New York City, attended Brooklyn College’s Special Baccalaureate Degree Program majoring in Humanities and briefly studying music history, theory and harmony under the distinguished professors Walter Gerboth, Ernest G. McLain and Siegmund Levarie. Tisziji began to evolve his musical vision while living on the Lower East Side. He led bands comprised of varyingly great local artists, in the most unpretentious of clubs, studios, lofts and galleries, all the while developing his innovative yet individual style and unique sound. Tisziji conducted many workshops for students and his home became a center for musicians seeking true musical direction beyond the ordinary ‘business of music.’

Tisziji and Paul Shaffer
Tisziji and Paul Shaffer at the "Studio for the Stars"

In 1984, Tisziji left New York City and moved to Schenectady, New York. Living in relative seclusion and away from the distractions and politics of the music scene and the world at large, Tisziji completed over fifty original written works on Spirituality and created Anami Music Productions, Inc. to handle the ever-expanding demands of his musical spirit. During this time, Tisziji demonstrated his mastery of the science of mundane and esoteric astrology and published several original works under what he has coined as the science of Time-Mastery.

Knowing that most individuals would not have any direct contact with him, Tisziji has graciously documented and published his views on a vast array of subjects, which served the purpose of providing answers and insights into life’s problems. He has also provided writings describing the way that he plays and how best to listen to his sound creations and musical expressions. These written works freed Tisziji from the burden of any formal or ritualistic teaching function.

Tisziji accepts no followers but welcomes the friendship of those who appreciate his music and sacred effort. He teaches that each must become masters of their own fate, that each must awaken the Master within themselves.

In 1989, Tisziji took a musical quantum leap and led the McCoy Tyner Trio at the acoustically unique, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. This pivotal weekend demonstrated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, Tisziji’s natural spirit as a world class leader of creative and spiritual jazz. These concerts were an immense success musically and spiritually and served to demonstrate for Tisziji that the best is yet to come!

Tisziji has accumulated an extensive body of recorded work dating back as far as 1971. Some of these beautiful, classic and historic moments of jazz will be made avail-able to the public in the future by Anami Music Productions in a variety of formats. Currently the following recordings are available: Presence of Truth, Presence Of Joy, Presence of Mastery, Tisziji Muñoz Live! Great Sacrifice (Maha-Yajna), Alpha-Nebula: The Prophecies, Spirit World, Present Without a Trace, River of Blood, Death Is A Friend Of Mine, Spirit Man, Heart Sound, and Visiting This Planet are available on compact disc. Heart Sound, Tisziji Muñoz Live at Page Hall, Tisziji Muñoz Live Again at Page Hall with Dave Liebman and Tisziji Muñoz Live Again at Page Hall with Nick Brignola are available on cassette. Visiting This Planet and Rendezvous With Now are available on vinyl LP.

Tisziji’s musical contributions and true artistic expression have ranged from solo work to small straight-ahead groups to big band jazz, from simple playing to New Age Music to the avant-garde, from performing free concerts to benefit concerts and from playing street, park and bar gigs to concert halls, radio and television shows. Clearly, Tisziji’s uncompromising Sound and Spirit have touched the hearts and souls of his fellow musicians and those who love absolutely honest guitar playing or avant-garde Heart-Music. Tisziji has touched many within and outside of his Afro-Hispanic background. He has broken all kinds of musical, philosophical, spiritual and conventional guitar barriers. Tisziji has defied and transcended typically racist jazz and bigoted classical idioms and schools of thought while validating the Spiritual Heart-Source of all genuinely creative music. As a prophet of ‘purple’ (Tisziji’s koan-word for transcendental) or self-mind transcending music, Tisziji continues to create, what is for him, Heart-Music for the ‘90’s and beyond. Combined with his written works, teaching activities and unconventional music and spiritual approach to life, Tisziji demonstrates the spirit of the creative artist in this Aquarian Age.

 

Love Everlasting CD w/Bob Moses, John Medeski...

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©2004 Amulet Records