Q&A: Ask a Jazz Musician with Tarik Abouzied


Tarik Abouzied photo courtesy of artist

Though there has never been a better time to be alive, we must all still navigate the challenges of our shared existence. We at Earshot want to help.

This New Year, we’re offering our readers the opportunity to have life’s questions answered by an experienced and learned jazz musician.


Dear Tarik,

Six weeks ago, after 43 joyful and faithful years of marriage, my life partner suddenly passed from an undiagnosed medical condition. I’ve gone through shock, grief, rage, sorrow, emptiness, and everything in between, and am left lost, unable to feel even a sliver of the bliss and passion for adventure that defined our lives together. “Time heals all wounds,” the saying goes, but time has only served to torment and bully, each passing moment only a reminder of my loneliness. How can I break free and rediscover meaning in a life turned upside-down?

– Lost and Alone

Dear Lost,

Rhythmic displacement is a simple concept that can add dimension and excitement to your improvising. Practice slowly and deliberately at first. For example, take a fragment of the melody that would normally be played on beat one and try playing it on beat two. How does it sound and feel? Now try beat three, beat four, the and-of-two, etc. Next, in 4/4 time, try taking a four-beat pattern, shave it down to three beats, and repeat it over and over. How does that sound? Can you keep track of the downbeat while you repeat your shorter pattern? Get creative, experiment, and, most importantly, have fun!


Submit your questions for Tarik to [email protected]


Posted on

December 30, 2015