Tisziji has, thus far, chosen to remain underground. Tisziji is, as reported by the press, a ‘best kept secret’ in the jazz community. Tisziji’s presence in the world of music at this time appears to be increasing.
Richard Gehr (Village Voice): "Muñoz is only invisible insofar as he has managed to avoid critical radar."
Aside from creative and ‘late Coltrane-ish’, Tisziji’s music has often been described as ‘difficult to classify’. Tisziji is liable to pick-up any jazz idiom and his performances are filled with an atmosphere of unpredictability. His on-the-spot creative improvisations always reflect whatever is occurring around him in the moment, his deepest feelings and his vision for the future. While Tisziji is in no way interested in duplicating or imitating anyone else’s music, he needs to play in musical situations which offer him absolute freedom of expression.
Statements from musicians and journalists reflect the uniqueness of Tisziji’ s playing:
Henry Kaiser: (Guitar Player, Nov. 1997) "Tisziji’s music is a fiery and multi-colored testimony of unique personal expression. Tisziji has produced some of the most striking and original electric music of the past 15 years. Tisziji’s electric guitar playing explores spaces outside of the usual confines of the jazz idiom."
Richard Gehr: (Village Voice, Feb. 1999) "Tisziji’s cable connection plugs directly to the source, the mysterium eternalis, the inner mounting flame from which music doth flow. He’s a man on a mission and I feel grateful knowing Tisziji Munoz is out there in the catastrophic cosmos generating countless megawatts of spiritual power on our collective behalf."
Derk Richardson: (San Francisco Gate, March 2000) "In Schenectady, New York, an obscure musician named Tisziji Munoz, the single living guitarist who most embodies the Coltrane sound and spirit, has been cranking out one astounding recording after another on his own Anami Music label."
Pharoah Sanders: "Tisziji Munoz is a man of self knowledge and a very advanced musician. Tisziji is one of the spiritual players. He thinks and plays on a higher level that is about being free. You never know what he is going to do next." Pharoah’s advice to critics: "I don’t know anyone who really knows Tisziji who has anything bad to say about him. Those who criticize him just don’t know him or understand him and they don’t deserve to hear his music. If you want to know about Tisziji, you have to listen to his music."
Rashied Ali: "This cat Tisziji is crazy. He has that real open-mindedness and the music can go anywhere at anytime. He is right into what is happening when it’s happening. He has one hell of a conception, an open and free conception."
McCoy Tyner: "Tisziji is a talented visionary. He is a man with his own sound."
Paul Shaffer: "This guy Tisziji was playing guitar right on the edge of insanity and genius. Tisziji is the real deal."
Nick Brignola: "Tisziji’s incredible! He is a true creator. An inspiring musician to all who hear him."
Bernie Senensky: "Tisziji Munoz is, in my opinion, the epitome of what a true improviser should be: one who can express his thoughts, feelings and emotions through his instrument in a pure and direct stream of consciousness, unfettered by preconceived ideas, techniques or conventions."
Early in his life Tisziji was influenced by Afro-Cuban Latin jazz. As he began his career his music was more comparable to the late music (1965-67) of John Coltrane. However, Tisziji has transcended this and other traditional forms of music. Tisziji has his own voice and is presently influenced by his own music as well as life in its totality. Tisziji’s view is that Coltrane’s music, when he has a rare chance to hear it, makes Tisziji feel good about what Coltrane did, but only Tisziji’s music makes Tisziji feel good about what he is doing.
While many have compared Tisziji to other Coltrane-inspired musicians, Tisziji says: "In my view, John Coltrane was a spirit player. I am a spirit player. John Coltrane and I both pray when we play. This accounts for a similarity of devotional feeling which characterizes our spirit. Even though it’s a high compliment, note for note, I’m not a ‘Coltrane guitarist'. I belong to no one and everyone. Although that may be an approximate and convenient category or club of high-powered and creative guitarists to put me in, I am a Tiszijian player. The similarities and coincidences are there and I am part of that continuum. But, take it or leave it, I play according to my love of freedom, my love of mastery, my idea of musical beauty and my realization of musical wisdom, my love of truth, my love of Spirit, my love of life, my own feeling, my own vibration, my own experience, my own history and legend, my own technique, my own comedy, my own tragedy, my own vision, my own way of hearing, my own reality, my own Heart Blood, my own school, my own genius and spirit. Anyone who listens deeply enough to my music will know this to be the truth."
Knowing that most individuals would not have any direct contact with him, Tisziji has graciously documented and published his views on a vast array of subjects, which served the purpose of providing answers and insights into life’s problems. He has also provided writings describing the way that he plays and how best to listen to his sound creations and musical expressions. These written works freed Tisziji from the burden of any formal or ritualistic teaching function.
Tisziji accepts no followers but welcomes the friendship of those who appreciate his music and sacred effort. He teaches that each must become masters of their own fate, that each must awaken the Master within themselves.
Tisziji sounds only like Tisziji.
Pharoah Sanders: "Sometimes Tisziji sounds like a whole band by himself. When I first heard Tisziji he sounded just like a horn player and I said to myself, ‘How is he doing this horn sound on the guitar? I just couldn’t believe it. He’s the only one I know that plays like that. He’s the only guitar player that I really know that I can play with. I can’t play with anyone else like I play with Tisziji."
Rashied Ali: "Tisziji has these lines like a saxophone and he plays guitar like a horn player. He sounds like everything but a guitar player. When we played at the Bottom Line His conception on the guitar was my conception on drums and his conception on guitar was Pharoah’s conception on saxophone.
Tisziji Munoz is a self-taught, creative musician of Puerto Rican descent who was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 15, 1946. He started playing drums at age two. When Tisziji was five years old he sustained a life-threatening injury when an artery was severed in his left wrist. Despite chronic, intense pain and nerve damage Tisziji taught himself the drums as a child, mastered Afro-Cuban rhythmic patterns and later as a drummer for the 440th Army Band he taught himself to play guitar by studying and mastering jazz guitar.
Upon departing the military in 1969, Tisziji began developing his own musical ideas and was an active participant in the underground music scene in Toronto, Canada, earning an Honorary Doctorate in music from Rochdale College.
In 1974, Tisziji returned to the States to devote himself to the pursuit of creative jazz music. He immediately met and played with saxophonist Pharoah Sanders whom Tisziji later toured with for six years in the 1970’s.
In 1984, after playing with many musicians in the creative New York jazz scene, Tisziji moved to Schenectady New York, where he continues to reside.
In 1989, Tisziji reached a new plateau when he lead the McCoy Tyner Trio to a weekend of exceptional music at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in upstate New York.
Tisziji has accumulated an extensive body of recorded work dating back to 1978 with his first album, Rendevous With Now. His next album, Visiting this Planet was the first in a series of self produced recordings under Tisziji’s own Anami Music label. Tisziji has continued to produce many outstanding creative works, including two trilogy projects with Rashied Ali.
Tisziji’s creatively free music has touched the hearts of musicians and listeners alike who have found sanctuary in his fearless and spontaneous musical expressions.
At five years of age, Tisziji was pushed through a window and severed the artery in his left wrist. Partial paralysis and nerve damage as a result of this injury has disabled Tisziji from playing chords to any extent. Chord playing is an inherent part of jazz guitar music, hence Tisziji is known as a single line player.
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Although not well known to the public at large, Tisziji is his own musical cosmos and as such has earned the respect and friendship of the great creative Jazz musicians.
Tisziji has played with many of the Jazz elite to include, among others:
Saxophonists: Pharoah Sanders, Dave Liebman, Ravi Coltrane, Nick Brignola, Pat La Barbara, Jerry Bergonzi, Michael Stewart, Charles Lloyd, Dave Schnitter, Bill Drews, Carlos Garnet, Joe Henderson, Mario Rivera, George Garzone, Alvin Paul and Arthur Rhames.
Pianists/Keyboardists: John Hicks, Hilton Ruiz, Marilyn Crispell, Bernie Senensky, Paul Shaffer, Danilo Perez, Don Thompson, John Medesky, Joe Bonner, Brad Hatfield, Terry Logan, Jon Weiss, Greg Murphy, Bob Murphy, John Esposito, Ted Moses and Michael Cochrane.
Drummers: Rashied Ali, Bob Moses, Idris Muhammed, Elvin Jones, Lucas Ligetti, Claude Ranger, Adam Nussbaum, Franklin Kiermeyer, Freddie Waites, Clayton Johnson, Dave Calarco, Terry Clark, Jim Norman, Keith Blackley, Michael Carvin, Bob McLarin, Greg Pilo, Norman Connors, Lenny White, Greg Bandy, Michael Craydon, John Weir, Charles Moffit, Guillermo Cantu, Don Thompson and Toby Williams.
Bassists: Don Pate, Art Davis, Cecil McBee, Dennis Irwin, John Lockwood, Ratso Harris Mark Dresser, Alex Blake, Matthew Garrison, Don Thompson, Michel Donato, George Kohler, Neil Swainson, Steve Neal, Steve Wallace, John Erlenson, John Burr, Dave Pilch, Stanley Clark, Chris Woods, Rick Homme, Reggie Workman, Buster Williams, Andy McKee, Andy Gonzales, Jack McFadden, Bruce Gertz, Phil Bowler, Jameel Nasser, Saheeb Sarbib, Ray Drummond, Fred Hopkins, Junie Booth, Andy McCloud and Stafford James.
Percussionists: Jerry Gonzales, Guillerme Franco and Lawrence Killien.
Trumpeters: Tom Harrell, Freddie Stone, Eddie Henderson, Woody Shaw, John Gardner, Hannibal, Bruce Cassidy and Michael Malone.
Guitarists: Sonny Greenwich, Lenny Breau and Henry Kaiser.
Trombonist: Steve Turre.
Flutist: Kathy Moses.