Interview with Bob Franceschini: Music is a beautiful expression of that spirit: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Bob Franceschini. An interview by email in writing.

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

Bob Franceschini: – I grew up in Manhattan ((New York City). We lived in a predominantly Black and Latino area where people listened to their music usually very loudly. In fact our apartment was directly above a famous black night club called Dante’s. My bedroom was above the part of the club where the music was being played, so from my earliest childhood I was hearing soul, R&B and Jazz even in my sleep.

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

BF: – I was attracted to the sax from two songs that were getting a lot of airplay when I was about 10 years old. “Soul Makoosa” by Manu Dibango and “Jazz Man” By Carol King.

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

BF: – I had played piano as a child and could already read music by the time I started playing the sax. I basically learned to play on my own with the aid of instruction books and some instruction from my band teachers in junior high school. I did a lot of listening as well going to hear live music. I took to the sax very easily and decided to audition to a specialized high school. My band teacher lived next door to Dave Tofani who is an amazing sax player and teacher of advanced players. He asked him if he would consider taking on a young student and he agreed. It was a game changer for me. I then studied informally with Mike Brecker, Steve Grossman and Bob Berg. I got a scholarship to study with Eddie Daniels and had a master class with Joe Henderson. From that point forward all my learning was done informally at gigs and rehearsals sitting next to the top players in NYC and asking questions and observing them.

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

BF: – I developed my sound pretty early on. I had a good ear and I found it easy to immulate the sax players I was listening to. I would mix up what I thought were the best qualities of all of them, with my main sound model being Coltrane. Listening back to early recording I realize that my basic tone has been there since high school. What evolves is resonance, subtlies of color and expression, vibrato, stylistic approaches and dynamic range.

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

BF: – The only books I use , especially if I have had more than a week of not playing is the Klosé 25 Daily Exercises and Ed Harris’s Intervallistic Concept. There are others I occasionally work out of like the Slonimsky, Bozzi, Ibert things. Rhythm is something that is a daily obsession. Studying and applying latin, Indian, African, Flamenco rhythms. Coming up with drum patterns in odd meters. Making up Tapping exercises is something I do all the time. Especially polymetric , odd groupings, compound meters etc. I have a video out on www.musicmasterclass.com pertaining to rhythm that is being used by single line instrumentalist in general, not just sax players.

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

BF: – I am usually drawn to playing o er standards as far as having a home base. I have been studying a lot about Harmony and especially more modern harmony through research. I have found a great teacher Rick Beato. He has a couple of Youtube channels. I had the pleasure of working with him at  a Theory retreat that I do every year with Victor Wooten.

JBN.S: – Which are the best ten jazz albums for you this 2017 year?

BF: – A) Not to be immodest but the trio record I made with Victor Wooten “Trypnotyx” is very strong.

? Chris Potter “The Dreamer”

C) Craig Taborn “Daylight Ghosts”

D) Charles Lloyd “passin Thru”

E) Kneebody “Anti-Hero”

F) Linda Oh “Walk”

G) Cameron Graves “Planetary Prince”

H) Mike Stern “Trip”

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?

BF: – Stay positive. Be a good person. Work your butt off on your craft. Be a presence on social media. Write original music. Play live as much as possible. Diversify. Be an entrepreneur. Teach.

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

BF: – There has and always will be a business aspect to playing jazz as there is with any other art form. How deeply involved an artist wants to be involved in it depends on their desire and strength in that area.

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

BF: – Live music is the key. The age of the tunes is irrelevant it is new to someone who has never heard them before.

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

BF: – I believe there is a universal spirit that we all are a part of. Music is a beautiful expression of that spirit. I believe it is a force for positivity.

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

BF: – I am eternal optimist.

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

BF: – I have to do my own project.

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

BF: – I believe they are one and the same.

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

BF: – My peers a lot. I keep Aldo returning to Coltrane, Garbarek, ahenderson and Rollins. Film music.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

BF: – On tenor I use a custom metal piece by Rafy Navarro based on an Early Babbitt STM, a Florida Link and Freddie Gregory mouthpieces that I was playing at the time when he made it. It’s a 9* with Select Jazz 3H.

On soprano I am back to a Selmer metal piece. It’s an E with Select Jazz 3H. I also play a Philtone Sapphire soprano piece for certain situations.

JBN.S: – And if you want, you can congratulate jazz and blues listeners on Christmas and Happy New Year.

BF: – I was a pleasure to think about these very good question. I hope they might be inspiring to  your viewers. Peace and good reeds to all!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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