The New York Times’s “Lens” blog did a nice piece on Steve Gorn, a woodwind doubler who has turned his primary focus to the bansuri (Indian bamboo flute). Surf on over to see a nice photo and hear audio of an interview/performance. (Both photo and audio feature Gorn’s soprano saxophone playing.)
Steve Gorn on his beginnings as a woodwind player:
I advanced relatively quickly with the clarinet. When I got into eighth or ninth grade I got into a lot of jazz, and I started playing saxophone at that point. Jazz became much more of a focus. I played clarinet in the school orchestra.
On his path toward Indian music:
All through my college years I was drawn to the avant-garde [jazz] style. I was imitating it. I later realized that a musician has to find his own authentic voice. Here I was playing jazz music that largely came out of an African-American culture, something different from the way I was brought up, and looking back at it I thought the best I could do was to try to imitate that. But for some reason, and it doesn’t make sense from a logical point of view, when I got involved in Indian music I found a music where I could really find my own authentic voice.
One can have many relationships in music. I teach some people who are professionals and have aspirations to really work on Indian music as professionals. And I teach other people just because the flute is an accessible kind of instrument. These are people who just want to step outside of themselves and make some music.
My objective, when I give a lesson to a student, is to help them find their own voice. I try to make it as personal as possible, especially if somebody is really interested in really going at it. Then it’s really a delightful journey that will allow their authentic voice to speak through music.