An interview with Seamus Blake: Your music is your life … Video

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Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Seamus Blake. An interview by email in writing.
 
JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Seamus Blake: – I grew up in Vancouver Canada. The first instrument that I heard and wanted to play  was the violin. A concert of solo Bach Partitas inspired me to want to take up this instrument and try music.

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

SB: – At first I just needed a credit for school and music seemed like something that would be easy and fun for me. The saxophone was at first an afterthought. Gradually I became enamored with it. The metal curves and shininess was attractive. I remember standing and looking at myself holding it in the mirror and thinking I would like to play this instrument.

JBN.S: – What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the saxophonist you are today? What made you choose the tenor saxophon?

SB: – In the beginning I had many teachers in Vancouver. Phil Dwyer, Cam Riga, Ross Taggart and my band director Greg Hurst. When I went to Berklee then I studied with George Garzone, Bill Pierce, Joe Violia and Herb Pomeroy. I think tenor is the most powerful and popular saxophone for good reason. It is like the male opera tenor. A heroic instrument.

JBN.S: – What about the Your sound did that influence at all? What did you do to find and develop your sound? 

SB: – Sound is a natural process. Like growing a tree. It happens very slowly with great care and patience. Take care where to plant your tree and what you feed him.

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

SB: – Practice with a metronome and listen a lot to drummers for inspiration.
 
JBN.S: – Many aspiring musicians are always looking for advice when navigating thru the music business. Is there any piece of advice you can offer to aspiring students or even your peers that you believe will help them succeed and stay positive in this business? 

SB: – Work hard and meet people. Be honest with your abilities. Master your chosen skill and seek additional creative energy from an open mind. Initiate success by making things happen for yourself.

JBN.S: – Аnd finally jazz can be a business today and someday?

SB: – There is a jazz business but it is small in comparison with other styles of music.

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

SB: – Find new standards!

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

SB: – Your music is your life. Everything that you live and experience can be reflected in your music. There are no boundaries. Music is an empathetic realm where what you give is what you get.

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

SB: – I wish to keep creating and keep finding new music. The search always includes some fear. I wish to continue to find strength in order to discover new sounds.

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

SB: – I am making a new CD in Paris in November with a french quartet. I am also forming a new group of semi electric jazz with vocals

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

SB: – Jazz is a kind of folk music. There are traditions of learning tunes and memorizing repertoire the same way that folk musicians do. A lot of jazz is not written down and exists in the heads of the musicians.

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

SB: – A little bit of everything. Jazz classical electronic pop, r&b, gospel, soul, rock, New and old … Duke Ellington. Hiatus Kiayote, Ravel, Son Lux, Aretha Franklin, Soundgarden, Alex Banks, Donny Hathaway …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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