Sound Observations From Tim Weisberg

Friday, August 20, 2010 8:39
Posted in category Interviews, Past Shows

by David Moye

Sometimes your life can change in one moment – but you don’t recognize it’s happening until years later.

That’s how it worked for flutist Tim Weisberg, who has been recording albums since 1971.

He’s played classical, jazz, rock and R&B and worked with artists like Dan Fogelberg and David Benoit, but all this only happened because his name comes at the end of the alphabet.

“When I was in 7th grade, I joined the band hoping to play drums,” Weisberg said recently while discussing his August 21 gig at Anthology. “Instead of having students draw straws to see what instrument they wanted to play, he did it alphabetically. So Gary Abrams got to play what he wanted because his name was first.

“Since my last name is Weisberg, by the time they got to me, there were only two instruments left, the bassoon and the flute.”

Weisberg has joked in the past that he picked the flute because it was easier to carry than the bassoon and because all the other flute players were girls, but, the truth is, his music teacher twisted his arm.

“Luckily, I had a good flute teacher, somebody who was symphony quality,” Weisberg said. “Even when all the guys were laughing, he encouraged me. He said if I gave it a chance and didn’t like it, he’d figure out a way to get some percussion instruments.”

But Weisberg soon came to enjoy the flute. Not only is it easier to carry than the bassoon, but the sound mimics the human voice.

“I have a terrible singing voice, so this is the way I sing,” he laughed.

Weisberg has become a well-regarded improviser, but admits he discovered this ability later than other musicians.

“The realization that I could compose on the spot came later to me compared to my peers,” he said. “To improvise, you have to have command of the instrument first so I did classical music and I swam – which is great if you’re a flutist.”

Although Weisberg grew up in southern California, he admits that he was always more into soul and R&B than surf music and started sitting in with groups. I actually enjoyed it so much that I used to get withdrawal pains between gigs.”

The musical monkey on his back forced him to get his fix by trying to get his friends to book gigs at frat parties.

“Sadly, I had friends who liked getting paid for music,” he laughed. “But I remember one time I wanted to play so bad that I decided not to take money if I could get the band together.

“I organized a show and got them to show. After we set up, I waited around for an hour for the band to begin and finally asked them when we were going to begin. One of the guys said, ‘You tell me.’ I asked him why and he said, ‘You’re the boss.’”

After that, there was no turning back and Weisberg has had a 40 year career as a professional recording artist and smooth jazz pioneer.

He’s not one to look back. Most musicians aren’t, preferring to focus on the music they’re making now. Still, he admits that if he could speak to the younger version of himself, there are some things he would tell himself.

“I’d say, ‘Practice more, and be more selective about the music you play,’” he said.

WHAT: Tim Weisberg
WHEN: Saturday, August 21st, 2010, 7:30pm
TICKETS: $11 – $32 BUY TICKETS
MORE INFO: Artist Profile