Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Eugenio Toussaint: The love of learning

Eugenio Toussaint, a key figure in Mexican Jazz, died today.  Born in Mexico City on October 9, 1954, he was only 56 years. A self-taught musician, he started his performing career in 1972 as a pianist with the jazz band Odradek. In 1976, along with two of his brothers, he founded 'Sacbé', one of the most important and influential bands in the history of Mexican jazz.  He also wrote seventeen symphonic arrangements of Méxican popular music for a series of records called "Mexico de mis Amores".

He is my angel today on his death because he reminds me how learning should never cease. Despite his vast accomplishments at an early age, he continued learning to try to improve himself. Because earlier in his life he did not have the chance, from 1990 to 1991, at the age of 36-37, he studied piano technique with Leopoldo Gonzalez. Continuous learning is the mark of a good musician.

Its important to learn what you know well, so you can know it even better. However, my experience has taught me that it is important to learn things you might not have interest in too; with such learning new avenues open up that I did not think existed before. For the same reason, its also very important to learn from as many different sources as possible.


One of his classical pieces that I like is Minituara 5 from the album Musica de Cámara:

Here he is accompanying on the piano: