An interview with Jennifer Batten: If we survive Trump, the future will be changing rapidly … Video

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Jazz interview with guitarist Jennifer Batten. An interview by email in writing.

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

Jennifer Batten; – I was born in upstate New York in a tiny town in the countryside and was immersed in Beatlemania, as was my entire town. My father was a big jazz lover and had jazz playing in our home all the time.  So I was surrounded by music and intrigued by it.

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

JB:- My sister got a guitar and I was jealous. I wanted one of my own. My first guitar was electric and I took lessons right away.

JBN.S: – What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today?

JB:- Peter Sprague, a jazz guitarist in San Diego helped me advance a great deal in the 6 months leading up to my intense year at Musicians Institute in Hollywood. That year, studying with Joe Diorio, Howard Roberts, Don Mock, and Ron Eschete helped me progress by giant steps. I was given the tools I needed to then keep progressing at a rapid rate on my own.  Also, my fellow class mate Steve Lynch inspired me to into tapping.

JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

JB:- I explored a lot of different genres of music over the years. I wanted to be a jazz player in the early 80’s, then morphed to fusion, and then to rock and pop. In every genre I would take a lot of time to study all the players who recorded all the tunes I was covering.  For instance I was in a fusion band that played several Jeff Beck tunes. I went about learning all of his solos on  2 of his CD’s. Emulating him really helped me incorporate a myriad of details regarding bending nuances, harmonics, and phrasing.  Over the years you tend to incorporate the things that you work on and resonate most deeply with.  I learned a bunch of Charlie Parker solos, but it’s more of the time spent learning Jeff Beck, Van Halen, Robben Ford, and even Jaco Pastorius solos that have stuck with me more.

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

JB:- I don’t have a practice routine for rhythm playing. The time I spend on rhythm is in learning new tunes unless I’m writing. Then it’s all exploring and creating.

I learned a ton of scale patterns from Peter Sprague, some of which are quite challenging, so I go through those sometimes to warm up for a show or while I’m watching TV. But now I mainly prefer to just play ideas and keep expanding how I view the fretboard.  I do a lot of recording at home for other people who send me tracks, and enjoy taking a few days to jam on the solo section to get comfortable with it and see how far I can take it creatively.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?

JB:- Of the three; major, minor, and dominant harmonies, I prefer dominant because you can do more within it. You can really play any tone for different sonic affect except the major 7th.

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?

JB:- Chasing fame can be a devastating endeavor.  I think if you just immerse yourself in music and get out and play with people, your reputation and skills will grow and magnetize opportunity.  I also think ALL musicians should read the book “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron every couple of years.  It’s the best psychologist for the creative soul.

JBN.S: – Аnd furthermore, can jazz be a business today or someday?

JB:- Most musicians regardless of genre will need to both teach and gig to make enough money.  You have to be open to all music related industries and genres.

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

JB:- I don’t think it’s the age of the music that’s the problem, because loads of kids today are really into rock from the 70’s. Lots of classical music is way older than jazz and continues to live on.

Offering jazz in schools is key.  If kids don’t hear it at home they need to get it from somewhere.  I think kids should be exposed to all genres and see what resonates with them.

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

JB:- A musician’s spirit is fulfilled by pleasing tones, frequencies and harmonies. Playing music for us is like breathing is for most people. It’s a continual renewal of our life force when we play.  I think the meaning of life for us all is to create, explore, and push the limits of our personal best, and to commune, love and connect with others.

JBN.S: – What are your expectations of the future? What brings you fear or anxiety?

JB:- My president brings fear and anxiety. The knowledge that history repeats itself as if we’ve learned nothing from the dark energies of the past is the most disturbing to me.  If we survive Trump, the future will be changing rapidly and we all need to adapt.  I read just yesterday that 47% of current jobs will be replaced by robots in the next 20 years. Luckily for us, the jobs that will survive will be creative in nature. But it may not be in the current form that we’re used to.

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

JB:- I continue to play live around the globe constantly and I have a brand new CD out. Here’s the info Scherer Batten CD “Battlezone” Video comp Album Teaser:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtOOzBFRJOk Record company CD info: MRR Direct:http://melodicrock.com/articles/melodicrock-records/2017/08/29/schererbatten-battlezone-showcase Amazon CD: http://amzn.to/2eTt6PE DIGITAL OPTIONS: iTunes: http://apple.co/2itdwyy Amazon MP3: http://amzn.to/2eTt6PE Apple Music: http://apple.co/2gaBBcV Google Play: http://bit.ly/2wthyKE FULL AUDIO PREVIEWS: New! What Do You Really Think:https://youtu.be/gv4XPjx3zJg  BattleZone: https://youtu.be/k0UDpIiuHJg The Sound Of Your Voice:https://youtu.be/UmAyJvq6tts

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between jazz and world music, including folk music?

JB:- I think all genres borrow from each other and share similar chord progressions and melodies. Where jazz might use ii IV V, folk might use  I  IV V.  With access to almost all music from the internet now, the morphing of genres will continue to progress faster than ever before.  Modern country music for instance is much closer to rock n roll and pop than ever in the past.

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

JB:- Preston Reed’s acoustic guitar, electronica, and world music.  I prefer to listen to music that is different from what I do.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

JB:- BluGuitar Amp 1 using the 4 cable method with a Digitech RP1000 for effects and expression pedal, the BluGuitar Fat Cab and the BlueBox speaker emulator for recording and sometimes for live shows. I has 16 different IR speaker cabs plus a virtual mic placement knob.  My guitar is a Washburn Parallaxe PXM10 with Fishman Fluence pickups, neckillusions.com fretboard decals (I have 6 steampunk designs just released), Batten String Damper, Gravity picks, D’Addario strings (NYXL), Mogami cables, Fishman TriplePlay wireless midi system, Gator cases.

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