[Dixielandjazz] Re: brain damage and performance

Norman Vickers nvickers1 at cox.net
Thu Sep 11 07:50:31 PDT 2003

>Tom Loeb writes:

>I'm not sure I agree with the theories. I have traumatic damage to my right
>frontal lobe. There is still a large area of inactivity in that part of my
brain. I had to learn to talk, walk & write all over again. Short term
memory is
still a major problem. I need a lead sheet in front of me most of the time
because I will forget what tune I am playing (even when I am actualy playing
Music reading has taken four years to come back to where it was; at first I
could not remember key signatures, repeats, DSs. BUT improvising actually
improved, apparently because I am no longer burdened with as many rules of
and because I remember fewer of my own "comfort zone" phrases. Maybe my
brain is
built backwards from the theories.

>Tom LoebFrom: Trumpetom at aol.com

Thanks, Tom for sharing this very interesting information.  Pianists Dr.
Billy Taylor and Oscar Peterson have both had strokes and have re-educated
themselves to play piano.  I don't know the details of their brain lesions
or their re-education processes, but they are both now performing.

Johnny Gimble is a great jazz violinist who has made his living playing
country music.  He and Willie Nelson are great friends and he has appeared
in all of Willie's movies.  Johnny informed me that he had a stroke which
involved his frontal lobe.  It involves memory but no motor involvement.
Says he can't drive and has to have someone accompany him to gigs so he
doesn't leave his fiddle behind.  But he says he can still remember the
chords to "Orange Blossom Special." So, he continues to perform.  Friends
who have heard him play recently say they can't discern any significant
difference in his performance.

Norman Vickers

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