An interview with Tsugawa Kuriko: I don’t think I’m doing good in the music business but I can say I’m enjoying my life with music: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz contrabassist Tsugawa Kuriko. An interview by email in writing.

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

Tsugawa Kuriko: – I grew up in place called Chiba in Japan. My father got me into music because he loves music.

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

TK: – I was playing electric bass first. I was in high school big band and I had to play upright bass (contrabass) which I didn’t like it so much because it was painful when I was playing.

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

TK: – A teacher from my high school big band, teachers from Berklee College of Music and Yoshio Aomori, currently I’m studying with him about classical techniques and jazz.

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

TK: – I was playing with many musician friends when I was in Berklee. I guess that helped me a lot. And I was joined college orchestra for a year. Luckily the college orchestra had the Maestro Maurice Peres as a conductor. We had two concerts every month. Every month we had different compositions! It was really hard but I could meet a lot of beautiful music. I learned a lot technically and musically.

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

TK: – Playing scale three octaves with tuner on for keeping intonation. Playing classical solo pieces to watch dynamics, positioning and etc. Practice walking and soloing with turn on the metronome only on beat 4 to keep time and groove steady. And many more!

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

TK: – Anything beautiful.

JBN.S: – What do you love most about your new album: , how it was formed and what you are working on today. Next year your fans like we can wait for a new album?

TK: – “Pure Songs” project started with guitarist and my husband Daisuke Abe. We have been playing together for a long time. I feel like I can play music like talking with him. It was natural that we started this project. We are not about showing off our chops or writing complicated music or anything, we are looking for something simple, coming from heart, something “Pure”. That’s I love about this project. We just recorded our 2nd album which dedicated to our newborn son. It’s coming out very soon, October 30th 2017. (I was 9 month pregnant when we recorded!!)

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?

TK: – I’m also want to know the advice from someone!! I don’t think I’m doing good in the music business but I can say I’m enjoying my life with music. I stop compare with other musicians, I realized each musician has different characters so as their music. I think knowing yourself and being yourself in the music business is very important. And listen to each other. I also think if you are happy now, you are already succeed in this business.

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

TK: – Yes.

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

TK: – Jazz is not only old standard tunes. There’s many jazz in the world. You can hear jazz everywhere in the city, TV, or from Radio. There’s internet too. I don’t know how important for young people to interested in jazz, I want young people to look for many kind of music and find that you like and enjoy music.

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

TK: – I want to keep making music with somebody I love and I want to record my leader album soon. I can’t believe I haven’t done it yet! Travel around the world and send my music and love to many people.

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

TK: – I have been using a bow for playing classical music so I want to play more bow when I play jazz as well.

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

TK: – I think all the music are the same. All the music are beautiful and fun.

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

TK: – Myself… Because I’m in the process releasing the new album. Before that, I was opposed with listening to Beethoven’s Symphony no.9.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

TK: – I’m using David Gage’s Realist for the pick up. I have Phil Jone Bass Cub for the bass amp. It’s light and have a beautiful sound. Electric bass, I have fender jazz bass.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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