An interview with Snorre Kirk: Jazz is best experienced live … Video

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Jazz Interview with jazz drummer & composer Snorre Kirk. interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Snorre Kirk: – I grew up in Ålesund, on the west coast of Norway. Both my parents are musicians, so I was always around music, from the very beginning. Although classically trained musicians, my parents were always listening to a variety of music, so I was exposed to everything from baroque to bebop, tango to pop music, from a very early age, and I was always very interested in music as a kid, regardless of style.

JBN.S: – What interested you in picking up the drums?

SK: – Truth to be told, I had signed up for guitar-lessons at my local music school, but due the massive popularity of that instrument, the school was unable to accept everybody wishing to play the guitar that particular year, so I was drums as an alternative. I had never considered the drums, but once I got on them, I was hooked, and never looked back. In hindsight, I’m really glad things turned out the way they did.

JBN.S: – What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the drummer you are today? What made you choose the drums?

SK: – My very first drum teacher was Carlos Alberici, an incredible drummer and very fine gentleman from Argentina, who had settled in Norway. He was a fantastic teacher – thorough, patient, demanding, and inspiring. He taught me proper technique, how to read music, how to practice sensibly, and so much about music in general. I could not have asked for a better teacher, and I would not have been where I am today without him – .

JBN.S: – What influenced your sound? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

SK: – I have always believed in working on getting better first and foremost, and that eventually, a discernible personal sound will come out of that. It’s a natural part of the process of learning how to play, that you imitate and incorporate elements from others into your playing, but ultimately, you will sound like yourself and the sum of your experiences, whether you like it or not. Some of the great drummers that have influenced my approach to the drums and music in general, include Sam Woodyard, Max Roach, Art Blakey and Jo Jones, just to mention a few. In terms of composition and music in general, Duke Ellington has been a major influence on how I write, as have Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk.

JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability, especially pertaining to rhythm?

SK: – Generally speaking, I always make sure to focus my practice time on elements in my playing that I have a hard time playing or executing. Certain things might take a week to master, others can take years, depending on the complexity of the issue at hand, and how much time it takes to develop. Regardless of what the exercise might be, I always try to put it in a musical context, and to make it swing, so it’s not an exercise for the sake of exercising only – the goal is always to keep it musical.

JBN.S: – Many aspiring musicians are always looking for advice when navigating through the music business. Is there any piece of advice you can offer aspiring students or even your peers, that you believe will help them succeed and stay positive in this business?

SK: – Whether you’re a student or a professional, I think it’s important to keep in mind that this is a business as well, whether you like it or not, and that you will need to treat certain elements of your career accordingly. I always try to separate the creative part from the business part, in the sense that I don’t write music from a commercial standpoint, but try to be business-savvy when it comes to getting the finished product out into the world. As for staying positive, I think it’s very important to keep in mind that you cannot always be successful at all times – things will come and go, somethings won’t turn out the way you wished for or planned, and others will be pleasant surprises. This goes for everybody, whether you are a major star or just starting out.

JBN.S: – Can jazz be a business today and someday?

SK: – Jazz is definitely a business today, and it will be around for a long time to come. People have been declaring that jazz is dying for the better part of half a century now, but it’s still here and it’s thriving.

JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are from half a century ago?

SK: – For one thing, I definitely believe in writing new music. Playing on standards is great, and I love doing that too, but to me, there’s just something else about a band playing original music. Jazz is best experienced live, and I feel that the hardest part is often to get younger people to come out to hear the music firsthand. If the music is good and makes them feel good, it’s irrelevant whether it is fifty years or old or written last week.

JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and meaning of life?

SK: – To me, the process of a jazz band working out their differences and coming together as one, as a unit, in front of a live audience, can represent human interaction and progress at its very best. True democracy in real-time. The power of music to unite, touch and help people, regardless of creed, race, age or political inclination, is a very spiritual experience indeed.

JBN.S: – What are your hopes and fears for the future?

SK: – I hope to see a return of respect for quality and basic integrity, and by that I do not mean just for music or the arts alone, but for society in general. Things of great soul and presence can have a hard time in the digital age, and we all need both.

JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?

SK: – The next big frontier for me, is writing and arranging music for big-band. I have been going at it half-heartedly for a while, but I would really love to make an album in earnest, for that particular format.

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between the blues/jazz and the genres of local folk music and traditional forms?

SK: – Yes, I find there are a lot of similarities between folk music and jazz, no matter where you go in the world. The tonic-subdominant-dominant cadence found in the blues can be found everywhere, and variations on the blues scale can be found everywhere from Eastern Europe to Africa, from the Middle East to the Far East. The basic habanero rhythm is a common denominator as well, found in so much latin-american music, african music, middle-eastern music, and of course, in jazz. I think the most unique invention in jazz is the combination of the walking bass line, combined with the basic swing-pattern of the ride cymbal – I have yet to come across a similar instrumental relationship in any kind of folk music.

JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

SK: – I’m always listening to music, new things and old things alike. Recently I have been checking out a lot of latin-american and caribbean music, British composers, gospel music, bluegrass – you name it.

Conversation led: Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Snorre Kirk

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