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 simultaneously on the inside and outside, often the resulting turmoil pulls us in many opposing directions. Sometimes it’s difficult to be detached and observe ones-self, with awareness but is well worth investing time to the process, it is worth the effort. Moment to moment choices we make determines the path we take.
When immersed in emotional storms, I suggest the best action is to sit still, reflect and observe, remember how everything feels. Throughout my life at roughly three monthly intervals, I would stop and stand still saying:
“Remember how this moment feels?” and make an emotional marker to tap into later.
Whilst following this path of creating solo flute music, I’ve also enjoyed sharing and collaborating with many other wonderful and great musicians, those experiences have also 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 travelling through France, Franco’s Spain and on to Morocco, experiencing other cultures and expanding my horizons. My journey of self discovery had begun, no rehearsal, this 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 of 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 styles, ranging from Jazz, Indo-Jazz Fusion, Arab, Indian, Classical, and now in my own style.
My late flute teacher Professor Rainer Schuelein, not only gave wonderful and wise flute instruction, but also, pointed me in the direction of myself and gave 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 50 years, I am still discovering new sonic textures and music.
The beauty of playing is that there is – no end.