My name is Gerald Chavez. I just wanted to give a short history of my experience with Steve Maase.
I met Steve in 1972, when he was teaching at K and B music on Central Ave. At the time, I was a big fan of Frank Zappa. I was talking to your father about different styles of music and he said, “You have to listen to this guitarist.” It was John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra and their Inner Mounting Flame album. From the opening cut, I was hooked!
He went on to explain what was happening in the music, which was way above my head, but he made it understandable. From that point on I knew Steve was the teacher/mentor I was looking for. I recently found the notes/homework Steve gave me for Birds of Fire, Meeting of the Spirits, Dance of Maya, etc. Looking back at that time now, reminds me of how lucky I was to have been his student.
His teaching skills were incredible, as Tim Pierce stated in his testimonial. A very salient component of his teaching for me went far beyond unraveling the mysteries of odd meters and polyrhythms. In the middle of a lesson he would bring up things that, at first, did not seem connected to music. The information, as it turned out, was more that relevant to learning music and growing as a person. He handed me a large string bound book, made out of paper sacks. It was called the Be Here Now book, by Baba Ram Dass (aka Richard Alpert, PhD). These early copies were floating around the spiritual community and after encountering one and reading it, you passed it on to another person, which is what Steve did. Very life changing in many ways. That was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to information. Steve also introduced me to the books of Carlos Castaneda and Aldous Huxley, along with many others, which became very integral to my musical journey.
I had moved to California in 1976 to pursue my musical interests with my band Govinda. The experience of being a student of Steve Maase opened my eyes in so many ways. While in the Bay area, I had the opportunity to see John McLaughlin, Weather Report with Jaco Pastorius, Chick Corea, to name but a few. It was because of Steve’s influence that the aforementioned players became so important to me.
Lastly, I was fortunate to have purchased two guitars from Steve. The first was an Ovation Artist acoustic he sold me when he had The Shop on Tulane. My favorite guitar, a Moonstone Vulcan, he sold me when he had the Music Factory on Carlisle.
There are so many things about my experience as a student of Steve’s, I could go on forever. I just want to let you know the significant impact he had on my life.
I received my copy of Steve’s book. So valuable to anybody wanting to create a foundation for approaching the guitar in a logical, applicable way. Thank you for your editing skills.
Gerald Chavez, PhD