Paul Cheneour Flautist/Composer:
Listed in the top 100 jazz flautists of all time:
Listen, observe feel and do, are the four key elements I use to create and play spontaneous music.
Our lives unfold both on the inside and outside, often the turmoil pulls us in opposite directions at the same time. To be detached and observe ones-self, with awareness is difficult and takes time. We create our dramas by the choices we make. Acknowledging our responsibility to the ‘self’ is very important.
When immersed in emotional storms, reflect and observe, try to remember how everything feels. Every three months or so, I would and still do stand very still saying: “Remember how this moment feels?” making an emotional marker to tap into later.
Whilst living this life and walking along a path creating solo flute music, I’ve also enjoyed sharing and collaborating with many other great musicians, the experiences have been so intensely personal, they become universal.
Collaboration, for me, means a willingness to adapt to and be sympathetic to other people’s styles and ideas; this gives rise to the creation of something much greater than the sum total of the parts. See Redgold for musical samples.
Background and Philosophy
“Listen for the sound within the silence and the silence within the sound”
My early years were spent in the west country of England and my first memory is of running like the wind, feeling the spray from the sea, listening and feeling everything ‘humming’. The sun always seemed to shine then. School, sadly was a big disappointment, not having much in common. Why were they hiding so much?
Teenage years came and went, the voice fluctuations were funny and a little odd. it was probably as traumatic and as exciting, as for anyone else. It was the late 60’s and there was a heady mixture of freedom and revolution in the air. I felt the urge to leave this island; so equipped with a rucksack, provisions for a week, a little money and a huge sense of adventure, I set off hitch-hiking through France, Franco’s Spain and Morocco to experience other cultures and expand my horizons. The real journey had begun, this was not a rehearsal, it was the real thing, out in the world on my own with no constraints or deadlines.
It was a time for learning, unlearning and learning, getting lost and being found, looking at this incredible world with wonder. At 18 years of age I announced, “I do not know” which is a good place to start. Every day world events were unfolding very fast. Was it due to expanded media coverage or was there a real radical change happening?
Early significant influences included Spike Milligan, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Ravi Shankar, the Beatles, the first kiss, first love, many esoteric books and humour with: Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, two near fatal car crashes, severe PTSS (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), and meeting some very remarkable people who’ve nudged me to a more wakeful state of being.
Music was/is the one language that spoke directly to my heart. At 19 a friend gave me a concert flute. It felt like a great home-coming and I knew at that moment this was my vocation. Since then I have been very fortunate to play professionally, in many styles, ranging from Jazz, Indo-Jazz Fusion, Arab, Indian, Classical, and now in my own style.
The late Professor Rainer Schuelein, my flute teacher, not only gave wonderful and wise flute instruction, but also, pointed me in the direction of myself giving me permission to learn in my own way, confidently. My late Mother and Father gave encouragement, and my brothers and sister their generosity.
Having played for over 44 years, I am still excited to discover new sonic textures and music with my flutes. The beauty of playing is that there really is – no end.