Tisziji has a reputation as being one of the best guitarists around. Why haven’t I heard of him?

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.”

How would you describe Tisziji’s style of playing?

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.”

Who has influenced Tisziji?

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.”

What remains of Tisziji’s teaching function?

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.

Who does Tisziji sound like?

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.

What is Tisziji’s background?

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.

How has Tisziji’s most critical hand injury affected his playing?

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.

How can we be informed of upcoming dates and recordings?

Check out News & Events postings and let us know that you would like to be informed of any public performances or new recordings. Please inform us of any changes in your address (including email) to ensure proper notification. Please send an email to if you would like to be kept informed.

What musicians have played with Tisziji?

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.


What is TIS / The Illumination Society?

TIS, an acronym for The Illumination Society, is a not for profit educational organization formed to provide a method to share some of Tisziji’s teaching work with those beings who need spiritual association or guidance. Many who inquire and who visit Tisziji need information alone and are encouraged to receive as much information as possible concerning the scope of this work. However, few inquire as to transformational techniques, which enable the individual to live in accordance with the creative spirit of Tisziji’s work and lifestyle. These individuals in particular show up ready to transcend their past. They are willing to create whatever is necessary in the present to liberate them from the uncreative, geniusless programs, tendencies and conditions inherited from the past and reinforced in the present by unconscious and unenlightened behavioral patterns of extremely powerful enslavement mechanisms.
Tisziji: “It is a circle of creative friends open to transformational methods of self-mastery, and dedicated to developing their highest potential as Heart beings. It is a circle of humble sages in progress, whose bodies and minds are being brought into alignment with the cosmic body of the Heart, and whose spirits are open to the fire of enlightenment by way of communing with and realizing Heart-Fire Sound as a process of self-transcendence.”

What is the connection between Tisziji’s unconventional music and his original written and spoken works?

They are one and the same. Some individuals receive the teaching through the music or sound current while others are more receptive to written forms of Tisziji’s work.
Tisziji: “While they are distinctly different mediums and thus different in form, they are the same in spirit, direction, meaning, purpose, burn and practice. Both of these forms, one of direct wisdom and the other of Fire Sound, are useful in different ways— with the wisdom teachings re-creating the individual’s self-thought mind, heart and world, creating increased access to the creative worlds. Anami Heart-Fire Sound, while in and purifying this world, is already not of this world and thus for many serves more directly to transcend the negative psycho-spiritual influence of gravity on the karmic self, thought and mind programs, culturing, musical, occupational and assumed mechanical creative processes, and history altogether, burning clear, heart to heart, liberated impulses of sound radiance conducted in the spirit of the peace of silence. Such music and its spirit, for many, are catastrophic to conventional programming, while the Heart-love melodies which deliver such Heart-Fire Sound are perfect for healing all forms of suffering, in the case of those in resonance with this yogic aspect of the spiritual sound.”

Who were Tisziji’s spiritual influences?

Tisziji is born of Native Afro-Puerto Rican roots and was sound awakened as an infant. He was raised Roman Catholic in a circle of his esoteric spiritualist aunts who recognized him as a master and teacher at a very young age. In addition, Tisziji studied, mastered and ultimately transcended the practices and views of numerous spiritual traditions to include Hinduism, Buddhism, Judeo-Christianity, as well as lesser known esoteric and wisdom schools of thought.
Tisziji: “My grandfather Carlos Corpas and my aunts Gracie Rodriguez and Ruca Clarke acted as early life guides, whereas since birth I have lived as an interdimensional, passing from one realm to the other at will as a child, and then more so through music in the way that I play as the father of self-transcending Heart-Fire Sound. My musical practice is comparable to radical practices more in line with crazy-wisdom, no-mind Zen practices and views. With all due respect to what is called Spirit as source of cosmic light and sound, no one and nothing influenced me as much as the awakening of the Sound current has since my infancy.
“The Psychic Family Record is a text of conversations concerning Tisziji, which reveals the tone and nature of his early life culturing in a spiritualist family/community, with the main voice being that of his aunt Grace, who is interviewed by Nancy (Subhuti) M.. Much of the knowledge and wisdom shared here would be considered more traditionally psychic, but reveals the nature of the intimate guidance and support he received from his immediate family circle, as a child undergoing typically spiritualistic purifications and phenomena, namely astral projections, out-of-body experiences, clairvoyance, clairaudience and the realization of emptiness as the true nature of the physical condition.”

There seems to be a number of references to the word Hu. What does it mean?

Tisziji: “Hu could mean anything, but here it means ‘burn’. Burn means liberated creativity. Liberated creativity is what ‘Spirit’ means here.”
Hu is the universally sacred word or name of God, regarded as a sacred sound. Hu is a vibratory tone used for centering oneself and attuning to the divine in each of us.
Tisziji: “Hu is conscious breathing practice by toning in the form of chanting, emphasizing the exhalation as deep, gentle, but extreme release of all pain and the suffering of all bad and good karma. Hu is a declaration of already existing freedom from all suffering, meaning it is already done, already released, already gone beyond. In other words, last breath, ultimate breath, no breath.”

Is vegetarianism an underlying principle of TIS?

Those wishing to progress further on the spiritual path are strongly recommended to begin a purificational process beginning with a vegetarian diet.
Tisziji: “Everyone is free to indulge the diet or lifestyle of a cemetarian for such a practice is age old. It is the norm everyone has been programmed to agree with and live by. The world market is set up to profit from such an animal killing, meat eating program. But many are finding the body does better and heals better with a diet higher in fruits and vegetables. Killed creature food is not considered higher energy, higher mind or higher spirit food.
“It is understood that in the case of those who are controlled by their bodies and river of blood programs, it is very difficult to liberate oneself from such programming. I recommend that individuals have a scientific approach to what they eat, that they be tested by appropriate authorities for chemical imbalances and proceed to live life enjoying a conscious and wise food regimen. Recognizing the difficulty for many beings to transition to a smart food diet or lifestyle, in the case of those coming this way of Heart-Fire Sound, they should begin to eat less and eat smart rather than compulsively, and move towards eating “light” foods, foods which are more living and representing brain as well as heart foods.
“All beings are recommended to participate in one form or other of Yoga, where the concept of body, mind and spirit integration is seriously considered as an intelligent part of their journey towards peaceful coexistence as a by-product of ultimate Heart realization. Food should be consumed for its preventative healing, uplifting, regenerative, enlightening and brain empowering influence. The purpose for such a life of integration, transformation and liberation would be to ultimately enjoy the benefits of living from creative wisdom, ongoing intuitively accessed insight, revelation and enlightenment.”

I am unfamiliar with Tisziji’s work, where should I start?

Tisziji: “First, end old programs, and continue to create new productive programs! Or, allow programs to be created out of your deep Heart practice. Ordinarily, you are happy because of programs that work for you. You are unhappy when you are in conflict with your programs. Heart-Fire Sound spiritual practice starts from the base reality of no programs, and one begins to create programs in accordance with laws which access and/or increase psycho-physical health, intelligence-awareness, enlightenment and transcendent wisdom realization, also known as compassionate heartfulness despite all relative programs of changing conditions.
“There are several introductory books for individuals of differing backgrounds and levels of spiritual development. Regarding the transcending of family karma, there is the classic text, The River of Blood, which points directly to those individuals who recognize their family karma to be a burden to them in some way or other and who also intuit that with some help or assistance and guidance, they can leap beyond such obstructive karma and reclaim their lives as individuals and creative participants in the transformational spiritual stream.
“For those who are in some way or other resonant with Tisziji’s music as a creative spirit, jazz musician or leader in the field of musical ideas, the recommended book for a clearer, although controversial, perspective on spirituality and music and why Tisziji plays the way that he plays, would be Heart Blood, for those interested or in need.
“For those who are born into professional and classical cultures and educational standards, then No Mind No Spirit is recommended for their transition to the spiritual and creative path of Heart-Fire Sound training or burn practice.
“For those who have a much more basic or native foundation or requirement for their balance, then Spirit Path, perhaps the simplest of all the writings, will provide beginners with useful fundamentals of perception, recognition and realization suitable for beginners transitioning towards the higher creative and deep spiritual realizations of awareness.
“For certain people who are sincerely interested in mastering their lives, who sense that mastery is everyone’s birthright, then Tisziji! Oh Friend and Master, a testimonial by Jacob (Jinpa) Lettrick, can be quite helpful and useful. The interviews in this book are controversial, but nevertheless keeping with the teachings of the ancient transcendent wisdom as it pertains to many of the new-age issues of the day.
“For those who have had considerable practice in the various traditions and sufficient meditation training to be able to sit and inquire more deeply as to their true nature, then I Am Silence is recommended as the text providing the most immediate, direct and world transcending exercises. I Am Silence has a more Zen Buddhist flavor for those whose minds are in resonance with such simplicity and subtlety of language.”

Is Tisziji a spiritual master?

Tisziji is a musical prodigy who had realizations and awakening by way of the Sound current, which set him on a course to be, as training came into focus, a teacher with unconventional methods directly relating to his realization of the Sound current and how it has worked through him since his infancy, as confirmed by his mother and other relatives.
Fundamentally, Tisziji is a realized spiritualistic or intuitive musician, someone engaged in sound meditation all of his life and who, as predicted by his aunt Grace, would meet with and help in certain ways, secretly or obviously, many spiritual and musical leaders. Having this predisposition enables Tisziji to have an originally selfless approach to sharing knowledge, music and life with others. His approach to the matter of spirituality as the natural and neutral way of being is cultureless and traditionless in nature and realization. Few understand this and hence few can be served by this very open and direct approach to what Tisziji calls Heartfulness.
Yes, Tisziji is a guru or guide, one who shows the way and shares direct and true spiritual guidance. He lives the way of Spirit and illuminates the path to clear awareness.

Does Tisziji use astrology as part of his teaching method?

Time Watching and Time-Mastery, as Tisziji calls it, is the study of the inter-relational correspondences of time-signs, houses, and planets as well as the many variables and interactive forces which individuals need to consider in their charts.
Tisziji teaches that humans are space beings in time bodies. The body is a time machine. The mind is a space processor. Integration of the time and space properties of the body-mind is essential for harmonious interaction with life and the universe. Not everyone has a head for what Tisziji calls Time-Mastery, which includes the traditional astrologic tradition, but most can be served by the truth concerning time and myths concerning astrology, for Tisziji teaches that while we are in the solar system and an operational part of the mind and body of this system, it is crucial to understand the nature of and agreement one has with the forces and lords of time as they appear and persist to manifest in one’s life. In other words, time must be understood and mastered but first it must be understood as the lord which has most beings enslaved.

Do Tisziji’s teachings address the mundane issues of life such as family, sex, money, time, power, relationship, and death?

Yes, and much more! See individual booklet descriptions for more information.

How do I make contact with Tisziji?

Visit our Contact Us page

Do you require membership in The Illumination Society and/or is there a fee?

No, teachings are created without regard to individual membership. However, there are some works that are not appropriate for every one and some works that are more specific to an individual. Appropriate distribution of these works is determined through email inquiry. Tisziji is not looking for followers, but accepts genuine co-workers in spirit.

Does The Illumination Society accept donations?

Yes, and they are tax deductible and can be sent to P.O. Box 10776 Newburgh, NY, 12552.
You may also donate by PayPal or Credit Card: