Bandmo interviews Jeffrey Tucker from http://ChantCafe.com
Introduce yourself to our readers. Who are you and what is your background?
I’m Jeffrey Tucker and music is not my profession. I’m the executive editor of Laissez Faire Books, a service founded in 1972 that tends toward anarchism and pushes human rights and free markets. My formal education is in economics, but I come from a deeply musical background. Until I was 18 years old or so, I was absolutely certain that music would be the whole of my life. Then I changed. Or thought I did. It turns out that if you have a musical background, music is the whole of your life no matter what your official profession is. If you love music, music becomes the template for everything one does.
What relation do you have with music (past-time, passion, a business)?
I’m the publications editor of the Church Music Association of America, the editor of the ChantCafe.com, and the publisher of many books on the topic of Gregorian chant and its polyphonic elaborations. My musical background is in jazz and classical. I was copying out Mahler scores from LPs when I was 12 years old and writing out the improvisations of Bill Watrous and Slide Hampton at the same age. These were my passions. I never thought I would do anything but be a jazz trombonist. Then one day I had an epiphany: I could actually do something else besides music. Economics enticed me. Long after I starting working in the economics field, I had a second epiphany: Gregorian chant is the purist form of music there is. Now I direct a choir that sings for Catholic liturgy. We sing chant (English and Latin) and polyphony (Renaissance and modern). What is the connection between music and economics? Economies work best in a world without despotism and power; chant and polyphony are types of music that have no master/slave relationships. This music is the perfect expression of universal human rights, or at least that’s the way my imagination sees them.
What do you think of the current state of music?
It’s never been better. There’s a greater variety of music available than ever before, and the industry has never been more profitable and universal. I’m thrilled to see services like Pandora, Spotify, Youtube, UStream, and so much more. It’s amazing to live through this period of phenomenal distribution. At the same time, this distribution is inspiring more and better performance and composition. It takes all forms from the most tactile to the highly digitized. It’s all wonderful. I’ve never been more excited about music and the arts than I am now. I speak more as an enthusiast and organizer than a creator, but it surely does excite me to see what is happening. My mind wanders and I imagine people like Guido D’Arezzo, Byrd, Brahms, Beethoven, and Bernstein looking down on us now and smiling with happiness at the range and universal reach of beautiful things in the world today.
Where do you think it’s heading?
It’s straight up from here, for all forms of music. Peer-to-peer is the theme of all things today, and it will be the same with music.
What are your favorite websites to discover new talent, any tips for our readers?
I edit the chantcafe.com, and also have a strong affiliation with MusicaSacra.com. I adore Spotify and Pandora and can’t get enough of the live performances on Vimeo and Youtube. Can you believe all the amazing material that was once sheltered and now reaches such a vast audience?
What role will the internet play in the music industry future?
Once wonders how music survived before the Internet. What was once absent has now become the beating heart of the whole industry. It’s true that I’m romantically attached to the 19th century vision of music being played in every home, performed by absolutely everyone in some capacity. I worry today that people think music is for others to produce and for them to consume. But it is a temporary worry. As more and more opportunities become available, more people will be inspired to make music their profession or, at least, part of their serious study. I do believe that musical understanding is a gigantic source of wisdom in the world and part of the foundation for civilization. It can save the world.
Bandmo would like to thank Jeffrey Tucker for taking the time to participate in this interview. Head to http://ChantCafe.com today.