By likemindblog



CORY WEEDS, a Canadian born Vancouver resident, not only  owns his own jazz club called the Jazz Cellar, he also runs his own record label called Cellar Live but still find the energy to play tenor sax in his own ensemble!  The title of this article is also the title of his  CD.   Mr. Cory Weeds, welcome and thanks for your great sound and your generosity.

“As I read these questions I’m thinking of how I can answer them as philosophically as possible. Although I do have a spiritual side and a philosophical I don’t necessarily think that I think about music.”

No. 1)  What is music to you and for you?

I have a love / hate relationship with music.  My thoughts are somewhat contradictory.  I feel like music is something that I do that allows me to ‘escape,’ not from anything specificCORY WEEDS 3495687 its a place where I can go to explore my creativity and express some things that I may not be able to express otherwise. This is the love part.   Having said that I have a really hard time getting to that ‘special’ place where nothing else matters other than the moment you’re in.  I find it hard to keep the self doubt, the judgement out of what I’m doing and am very very hard on myself.  That is where the ‘hate’ part of music comes in.  So sometimes I do the opposite and find something else to do to ‘escape’ from playing music and going to that place. It’s an interesting conundrum. 

No. 2)  What inspires you?

Again, I want to be all spiritual and philosophical here but what inspires me most is simply hearing great jazz that I like whether it be a CD or a live show. I’m lucky being the owner of a club because I get to hear music all the time and Vancouver is blessed with great musicians that inspire me. Sometimes it’s an individual saxophonist like Mike Allen or Steve Kaldestad that really get my blood boiling or the vibe and cohesiveness of a specific group that gets me fired up.  Because of my radio show I get a ton of CDs sent to me so I’m always on the pulse of what’s going on. I get really exited when there is a new Eric Alexander, Grant Stewart or Jim Rotondi CD to name a few.

There are other elements that inspire me that don’t have a lot to do with music but I’m not the kind of guy that uses events in my life in which to draw inspiration from. Sure, when I got married I wrote a ballad called ‘ Blossoms In May ‘ and during my wife’s pregnancy I wrote a ballad called “Little Unknown One’ but in general life events don’t really shape my  music… at least not on a conscious level.  One thing I do like is melancholy music or music that is more sad in nature.  I think a lot of good things come out of the feeling of sadness.  I don’t particularly have anything to be sad about. I have a pretty good life but I really like the feeling of sadness and I allow myself to feel that way from time to time because it helps me write and it makes me reflective.  It  also helps me pick tunes and I look for things with ‘pretty chords’ whether it be jazz, pop music etc.

Cory Weeds 3497008No. 3)  When you are creating, playing for yourself, not performing, where does it take you?  I mean where does your mind travel?

Well, this sort of goes back to some of the things I addressed in your first question.  When I’m practicing, that what it needs to be exactly.  You take that time to perfect some things you’re working on, not trying to make it all polished and beautiful sounding as if someone is in the room next to you listening.  Practicing is supposed to be ‘your’ time.  I’m not so sure I have got that down yet. I find that I’m very hard on myself and sometimes tend to practice things that I can sound good on so I can pat myself on the back and get the feeling that I’m making progress.  There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that as long as that doesn’t make up your whole practice routine.  I have found personally that my head gets in the way of most things I do in my life.  If I spend as much time working on the mental side of music as I do the actual making of it then I might be better off.  I know that I have all the talent, tools and dedication of any other musician but the head games are tough to beat!

No. 4)  Do you think music, visual arts and health are related and if so, how?

I know music and visual arts are related but it  doesn’t really resonate with me that much as opposed to the  health relation to music. There is the physical nature of using your lungs and learning how to breath and just the energy it takes to play an instrument. Then there is the mental side of music that is so amazingly healthy. I can’t imagine my life without music.  Playing and or listening to music forces you to think and feel things that you may not allow yourself to feel. It reminds you of times in your life, situations in your life etc. etc. 

No. 5)  How do you feel when you are playing?  (You’ve probably answered this in part)

I feel lucky and I feel powerful, I feel thankful.  To look out and see people who have paid money to come and see you play is really rewarding.  I try to keep things in perspective but it’s the same old thing; when I feel like I’m playing well I’m on top of the world and when I feel like I’m not playing well I would rather be doing absolutely anything than playing my saxophone.  I really am a big believer that the audience being satisfied is important. Sometimes I can get over myself if I know that the people had a good time. 

 No. 6)  Do you identify with your music and if so, on what level._DSC6022

Yes, I do. I mean one of the things that makes you a true artist is forging your own voice, your own sound, your own individuality.  I’m not a pioneer or an innovator but I write my own music and I think I’m pretty easy to pick out in terms of my sound and approach so I feel that I am unique in that way. I think I eluded to it earlier that I think there is way way way to much emphasis put on innovating and re-inventing the wheel and I think it’s seriously misguided.  There is this idea that if you’re not pushing the music forward you’re not valid or your music is not valid.  That’s a sad statement.  There is nothing wrong with playing music rooted in the tradition and finding uniqueness in yourself within that tradition. 

When I listen to a recording of myself I really listen back to it to see if it sounds like me at that time. My first record ‘Big Weeds’ was a pretty big deal for me to make. I had a great New York rhythm section behind me and I was quite nervous. Upon listening back to the rough mixes I was quite happy simply because I thought it was a great representation of me and how I sound and what I was working through musically at that time.  Are there things I would’ve liked to have done differently? Yes of course but I thought it was great representation.

No. 7)  When do you do your best work?  (Environment, alone or with other musicians, night, day, etc.)

I think my best comes when I am in control of the situation. That’s why I am not a big fan or participator in the jam sessions. It’s not that I can’t do it but I don’t enjoy it. I am often at my best when I am the leader of a band, picking the tunes etc. etc.  There is another thing that often happens to me and I will give you an example. A few weeks ago I had the great pleasure of playing with The Tilden Webb Trio. I was really excited, I practiced a lot leading up to it and felt like we were gonna make great music. On the day of the gig I was all ramped up. I went to the gym, had a good sleep, ate well and the club was busy so everything was in place.  The 1st set was really burning in all aspects but I found I couldn’t sustain it for the whole night and found myself not being happy with the night over all. I started ‘caring’ too much in the second set.  The next night I was exhausted. My son didn’t sleep that night, my wife and I were cranky and we just had a rough day as new parents. When I walked into the gig Jodi (the bassist) knew what I was going through as she is a new mom.  Basically I didn’t care how the night went down, I just went up not caring, knowing I had to play two sets of music and then I could go home. Not a great attitude right? Well, my not caring actually made it an extremely rewarding night for myself, the band and the audience. My lack of ‘caring’ seemed to put my head games to rest momentarily and I managed to reach a new level without expecting it.  That is not the first time I have said that.  I have many examples of that. 

COREY WEEDS IMG_2201No. 8)  Does music help you connect with your “Higher Self” what ever that may be for you, and if so, please elaborate.

Again, back to my lack of philosophical thinking I talked about earlier. I think I have a higher self and I think I connect with it but I’m not sure I know how to put it into words or even describe what it is.  I do know that I’m a happier, more complete and content person when I’m playing more.  Sometimes I wonder if I would be happier overall is I just concentrated on being a musician but I love too  many of the other things that I do. 

No. 9)  What is it about jazz that you like so much?

I love the spontaneity of it. It’s never the same.  You can get so much out of the smallest aspect of the music like when you hear the drummer do a shot or the way the bassist plays a certain note, the chord voicings that the pianist uses etc.  I love the rich history that the music has.  My era is the 50’s and early 60’s. Bluenote Records, Prestige Records were so cool. The musicians were so cool, the sounds, the music. Everything about it is so amazing.  So much of the history of the music is lost today with young musicians.  Everyone is always trying to create something new and be innovative they forget where the music started etc.

Whenever I get a bit down about the ‘jazz business’ I read Richard Cook’s Blue Note Records book and it inspires me an unbelievable amount. I love that book. I have read it probably 10 times from front to back.  Look at the cover to Hank Mobely’s Soul Station and then listen to the album. Its a masterpiece and everything about it just smells of COOL.

I think a person of my dedication and perseverance could’ve done really well in that era. I wish I was born in 1930!

No. 10)  Tell me a bit about your club in Vancouver, what made you decide toWeeds_Fathead2 start it?

I wanted to start the club because there was nowhere I could go see my heroes and mentors that I had growing up. I wanted to hear people like Cam Ryga, Ross Taggart, PJ Perry, Oliver Gannon etc. etc. and I couldn’t.  I managed to suck my dad into helping me out and viola – The Cellar!  I thought that I could be more successful than other people at running a club because I understand the musician side of things. Understanding that is key.  I think the musicians trust me because they know I’m one of them and at the very least I can see their side of things. It hasn’t always been easy but it’s been the key factor in making us a success at least with the musicians.  Running a club is hard and it seems in these crazy times it gets harder and harder but it’s important to keep it going and I work to ensure its existence.

Cory, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us.  I wish you much success in all your endeavours.  Be blessed!


You are cordially invited to visit the links below to see Cory’s place, hear more of his music and get to know him a little more.  Enjoy and thank you for your comments!





 Mail this post
Be Sociable, Share!
Filed in: MUSIC • Friday, September 9th, 2011


Enjoyed reading your article from top to bottom…easy to relate..we do sometimes get in our own way. It’s great you have many avenues to pursue. Reminded me of how difficult it is to get out of our own way.
Thanks Cecelia


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge


My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours