The effect in question was a Portamento – which (if you added an s to the end) might sound to the layman like some trendy Italian eatery, but loosely translated actually means “bend the friggin’ note”! Or something like that. So I kept “bending those friggin’ notes”, with ever expanding intervals and increasing dexterity (or was it temerity?), and over the years eventually coined the term “Fretless-Flute Technique” (with a tip of the hat to the late great Jaco Pastorius and all the other Fretless Electric Bass players of the jazz-fusion era). The only requirements for Fretless-Flute playing: an open-holed flute and an adventurous spirit!
Although I learned the flute along traditional lines with some really great teachers – and can actually play the flute normally if I restrain myself - I have always been a bit of a nomad, rebel and musical-mischief-maker. As my grandmother once said to me: “You don’t just play the flute, you play with the flute!”. So in the spirit of using the flute as my personal toy, I have been happily and unabashedly bending notes (whenever permissible by law, and sometimes when not) on records, movies, TV shows, commercials and live concerts for several decades now. And along the way, my love and passion for the Fretless-Flute technique has given me a personal style and identity somewhere “off the grid”, which is just where I want to be!
Back in the 80’s, I wrote The Fretless Flute Song (and later, songs like Slide of Hand and Gliss This!) to showcase my Fretless-Flute technique. The song first appeared on
FRESH FLUTE, my debut solo recording for CBS Records, and since then I have taught this technique to hundreds of flutists all over the world. On numerous occasions I have been asked: “when are you going to write a book about this technique?” The short answer: “A book won’t do it justice - but it might look cool on video!”.
About a year ago, I immersed myself headlong into the world of HD video and set to work in the Kuj-Kave producing a music video of the song and a companion video tutorial of the technique so that I could share it with all of you who have been patiently waiting to learn it.
Well, you asked for it, you got it: In celebration of the 35th anniversary of the discovery of the technique, the Fretless-Flute Video Tutorial has finally arrived!
So, what are you waiting for? …..GO BEND SOME NOTES!!