By likemindblog

TonyFinal280x280 cropped


TONY BUNN has always been successful at somehow magically slipping out of the boxes in which others would attempt to confine him.  He has spent his life developing the spiritual and mental discipline necessary to broadcast love throughout this shared existence.  After gaining modest proficiency on a number of instruments throughout his formative years, he descended to the depths of the bass section, by the end of high school – and there he lurks to this day!

This is the interview that was done with Tony while he was recording his album Small World some time ago, with a few added questions.  Tony is a great guy and a great musician with a big heart.   He’s also sharing with us under Health and Wellness, the story of the making of his album.

1) What is music to you and for you?

I used to believe that music was just one of the many areas in which I could simultaneously achieve some measure of proficiency and derive an extreme measure of satisfaction.  As I’ve matured and I’ve done some of this and much of that, each time only to find myself less than a stone’s throw away from some form of the practice of music, I’ve come to realize that music, in fact, is what I am. When I listen to a voice on the telephone, I hear music.  When I stand and watch as cars whistle down the roadway, I hear music.  Everytime I would attempt to change the focus of my life’s work (at any given moment), there would always seem to be a space in me that was incomplete.  Music is something from which I cannot escape; it’s what I see, when I look in the mirror.

2) What inspires you?

Perhaps I’m one who’s somewhat easily inspired, as I’ve tended to findTony_Bunn_300x225 cropped 3 inspiration in equal measure from both that which is profane and that which is profound; from that which is positive and that which is negative.  I’m reminded of the first night that I spent alone in a house that I’d purchased; one which was located in the middle of the woods on the side of a mountain, in West Virginia.  My having been a city-dweller for the majority of my life, I was deeply impressed (almost to the point of fear) with the degrees of darkness and silence that were to be reckoned with during the nighttime, there.  I guess, looking at things from such a perspective, I’d have to say that it’s the presence of a challenge, of some sort, which provides the ultimate inspiration for me.  And no doubt, it’s from the meeting of the challenge that my satisfaction springs.

3) When you are in the process of creating, playing, where does it bring you?  What I mean is where does your mind travel?

For me, there is a distinction to be made between the mode of creative performance and that of focused composing.  When I compose music, it’s usually a process in which I focus my mind upon a given theme or thesis and then subsequently allow my thoughts to wander to and fro, as I attempt to formulate associations between that which lies in my sub-conscious mind and the chosen theme; however, I remain fully conscious of the process itself.

During performance, the process is one akin to that of programming a journey into an auto-piloting system.  As I give my mind over to the music itself, the sub-conscious aspect is that which is more in command.  Perhaps my identity is defined through the act of composition, but it is revealed through performance.

4)  Do you think visual art, music and health are related and if so, could you elaborate?

Everything that is perceptible in this world is that which is ultimately the result of the vibration of subtle energies.  The only thing that distinguishes you from me at any given moment is merely the location in space and time of the complement of frequencies at which subtle energy vibrates. All that exists is related, as the subtle energy itself remains undifferentiated. Distinction is purely a matter of vibrational frequency.

The “health” of a given entity is maintained when one is exposed to stimuli which resonate at frequencies that are complementary to the entity’s fundamental vibration; as such frequencies form a harmonic and thus reinforcing relationship with the entity.  Examples of such relationships can Tony_Bunn_300x200 croped 1be found in the strengthening of one’s appearance by wearing a particular colour, or the heightened resonance of a singer’s voice when one sings in a particular key.

5)  How do you feel when you are playing music?

I feel no differently than I do when I’m not playing music. I feel almost nothing; although, sometimes there is actual pain, which results primarily when I play the upright bass.  I don’t practice that instrument enough; so, I wind up losing the protective callous that forms on the fingertips, due to the aggravated assault that is the repeated plucking of the exceptionally taut upright bass strings.  Bloody fingertips often are the result.  If you only knew how much a sacrificial labour of Love playing the bass actually is….

Hopefully, I’m getting closer to the point where the “Tony” who contains all the conditioning from this world truly disappears and only the music itself remains.  The most beautiful music is that which transcends feeling, hearing, etc.; it is an expression of Spirit, Itself.  As such, the most beautiful music is beyond perceptible vibration; beyond both sound and sight. You can’t feel it, but you KNOW that it’s there.

 6)  Do you identify to your music?  (You’ve answered this one as “you are music”, perhaps you want to add)

I identify with the music as I’m composing it — I guess, by definition, it flows from my experience and being. However, doing performance, there’s not enough time to “identify”, as you say.  It’s kinda like walking; where “identifying” is akin to one’s being aware of every possible motivation and impulse that contributes to the end result of the motion.  If we were to consciously think about all that stuff, the motion would never happen (and we’d never be able to take a step); because the conscious mind would quickly find itself overloaded.

When the music is occurring, there’s only time enough to respond via the “instincts” that arise from training and practice.  I’ve been training in the ways of music ever since childhood.  My training continues to this day.

7)  When do you do your best work?  (night, day, environment etc.)

Usually when I’m awake; although, I’ve come back from the dream world with some pretty cool stuff, too :o).

8)  Does music help you connect with your higher self?  Please elaborate.

 Music perhaps helps provide an expressive voice for one’s higher self. Tony Bunn Sings Ideally, the music that flows through me is the result of the mingling of the vibrations of all the energy that surrounds (and emanates from within) me at the moment.  Through that mingling, a conscious (or sometimes, sub-conscious) response is formulated and expressed as the music you hear.

Oftentimes, it’s the case that I have no idea of what it is that’s actually flowing through me.  The analogy comes to mind of one’s not being able to see oneself unless there’s a mirror present.  And even then, when one sees one’s reflection in the mirror, it’s not the same experience as one’s viewing a snapshot of oneself that might have been taken at the exact same moment.

Once again, I would go back to the concept of “Tony’s disappearance”, which would result in only the music itself remaining.  If I’m successful at surrendering in such a fashion, then the “Higher Self” has been contacted.  Methinks that ultimately, the “Higher Self” of which you speak is none other than the momentary emergence of one’s direct connection to GOD.  If one can become successful at the art of “Surrender at Will”, one is transformed into a sort of Conduit through which Blessings flow.

No. 10)  A lot of people feel the education systems kill creativity. How do you feel about that?

This question is such a loaded one!  Over the years, I’ve thought long and hard about the issue of the way in which the educational systems somehow devalue artistic studies; and thus, you’ve perhaps unwittingly asked me for a dissertation, of sorts. 🙂  It would probably help the discussion if I let you know that, in addition to my being a musician, I’m also trained and experienced as a mathematician.  When I was younger, I benefited greatly from the study of music and art in school; in fact, I fell totally in love with music as a result of taking up the study of the clarinet, in the fourth grade.  As I grew to adulthood, I witnessed a trend (which continues to this day) toward the sacrifice of artistic exposure by the various school systems, in their efforts to begin to address the various budgetary crises that have arisen over the years.  Although I think the potential problem is a serious one, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the educational systems kill creativity.  It’s not as simple as that!  In fact, it’s just such a simplistic reaction to the larger issue of the ways in which the educational systems have chosen to address their fiscal concerns that allows the administrators to continue in their culturally biased approach.  Perhaps because of the remarkable pace of societal advancements that flow from the various scientific disciplines, the modern-day cultural bias tends toward our leaders placing great emphasis on a “scientific” and analytical approach to things.  However, that’s a big problem: analysis is only part of the process of inventiveness!

In my humble opinion, we shoot ourselves in the foot, when looking at this issue, through our use of loosely defined terminology.  “Creativity” is something of which all sentient beings are capable; it’s merely one’s method of finding acceptable solutions to the problems of satisfying one’s wants and needs. Ants are creative, as are dogs, rabbits, lions, etc.  Each will find ways Tony Bunn --- on fireto get that which one wants; however, chances are that the creative approaches will fall within a range limited by biology and history.  “Inventiveness” is a different issue.  I think that without a doubt, the modern educational thrust hinders inventiveness; and for the following reason — analytical thinking is valued over thinking that springs from a more synthetical approach! 

In my experience, artistic study of some kind is perhaps the best method of teaching people to synthesize novel approaches; to be inventive.  Where the analytical approach teaches one to break down a known quantity into its constituents, so that one might come to understand the known quantity through knowledge of that which comprises it, the synthetic approach teaches one to combine quantities (many potentially unknown) to create something whose value can only be accessed through an evolutionary process.  Analysis is a seemingly safe method of achieving results, synthesis is inherently risky.  Either approach employed exclusive of the other will result in a flawed solution.  As purely analytical approaches to problems suffer from increasing tunnel-vision on the part of the problem-solver, purely synthetical approaches to problems often fail due to lack of discipline and rigor.

For humans to continue to advance, we need individuals who are able to employ holistic (i.e. Analytical+Synthetical) approaches to not only existing problems, but also to those which have not yet arisen.  Perhaps through more balanced problem-solving, future problems will be minimized.

 No 11)  If you agree with number 9, what would you suggest as a simple solution?

I’m gonna toe the party line here :o)  There’s no question about the fact that I think school systems should revisit their curriculum strategies where study of the arts has been abandoned.  Part of the re-valuation of artistic study will stem from an enlightened leadership’s grasp of the importance of the role of synthesis in problem solving.  Once our values are properly aligned, the money can be found to support the efforts.  It’s probably the case that the cost of a single day’s worth of war waged by the U.S. military could fund the whole nation’s school systems for a year!

 Unfortunately, this is not just a problem in schools in the United States.  During a recent phone conversation with a friend who lives in Denmark, I was astonished to learn that elementary schools there (or, at least, in her district) don’t have a program that provides children with exposure to the study of music.

In stark contrast, I’m continually fascinated when I hang out with my Armenian friends.  Apparently, children in Armenia are taught to study the piano, at an early age.  Although there’s only one among that group who is a practicing musician (Arshak Sirunyan), everyone of his expatriated friends whom I’ve met can sit down at the piano and play at least a little something that demonstrates a learned facility with the instrument, no matter one’s chosen discipline in adult life.

 No. 12)  What is jazz to you?Tony Bunn & Dog

Jazz is perhaps the only genre of the musical art form that continues to evolve.  In fact, the term tends to be a catch-all phrase for music that doesn’t fit into any other category. On the heels of the preceding 2 questions, I would say that it’s the perfect genre within which to operate for one who loves inventiveness.  By calling myself a jazz musician, I’m allowed to experiment with musical ideas in a fashion that’s free from the constraints that are imposed under other categorizations; and still be fairly well-received by the audience.  Jazz is an indefinite term for music that flows boldly into the unknown!

Tony, thanks a million, it was indeed a great pleasure doing this with you again.  I want to wish you the best, my friend.  Until we meet again, keep well!

Updated websites are the following:

The “Small World” album is available for download at:

http://www.Plgmedia.comSMALL WORLD - Music to live by!

also available on iTunes and

 Mail this post
Be Sociable, Share!
Filed in: MUSIC • Friday, July 16th, 2010


By Georges Hervé on July 19th, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Your definition of jazz is totally to the point. Thank you for a most interesting article.

In my haste to prepare for this article feature, I neglected to provide proper credit information for the accompanying photographs. I would like to herein express my thanks to Dr. Rodney Lawson, Des Mekonnen, Stephanie Nolan and Allyson Ovcharek for their photographic contributions :o)

Peace & Strength,
Tony B.

Tony been a long time what’s be best way to contact you

Simply want to say your article is as amazing. The clarity in your post is simply nice and
i could assume you’re an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let
me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.
Thanks a million and please continue the rewarding work.


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