Interview with Jeff Ballard: The best place to be probably: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz drummer and composer Jeff Ballard. An interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.Space: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now? You’re playing is very sensitive, deft, it’s smooth, and I’d say you drift more toward harmony than dissonance. There is some dissonance there, but you use it judiciously. Is that a conscious decision or again, is it just an output of what goes in?

Jeff Ballard: – I don’t really consider myself that advanced with musical harmony nor in song writing. I take whatever “comes to me out of the air – and most of the time it will be melody driven. I think I have a decent ear and I have been playing with such amazing musicians for a time now that I think a lot of those sounds have stayed and fermented inside, coming out when I have the time and the luck to really search and work out the music into a song. I think you are probably right to say there is more harmony, or more sonorous, rather than dissonance, in most of my songs. writing in not easy for me most of the time. It’s very labor intensive and time consuming. I’m slow.

JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?

JB: – Its allowing everything and anything to be a potential ingredient in making what I’m might make, but remaining with an extremely pointed focus on whatever that thing may be, never becoming destracted from the main focus at hand.

JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

JB: – The best place to be probably.

JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?

JB: – I hope that those people who have come to listen have some sort of idea of what they might hear, and if not, than at least to have the mind open enough to check it out well enoug.

JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

JB: – This new recording is exactly just that: it is some of the best musical memories I have from that tour the band did back in 2016.

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

JB: – Firstly, if those half century old songs are played well, I mean with care, with knowledge and understanding, then they will most definitely be relevant now and today. Any newcomer to the music will understand in some way the basic good sense of what’s happening if everything is there and being payed well. Just because a person is younger does not mean that he or she needs something new to really enjoy it or understand it. If it’s new, then all I would suggest is to include the basic good building blocks like good form, good melodies, good intelligent story telling. So I am saying don’t cut any essential roots out of the music to try to get any kind of effect from someone or to try to make an impression on them. Don’t play down to anyone.

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

JB: – Go head and try to plant new things of course, explore and create new things if you feel the need, that is fulfilling and great and part of the the whole deal, but don’t ignore important roots. Or if you do, do so very very well.

JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

JB: – I don’t. At least, not in words. I believe that is one of the main reasons why we play. Some things have no words to describe it. I’m glad.

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

JB: – Sam Cooke. That everyone can experience live music regularly, daily.

JBN.S: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

JB: – There is no specific message to give, but there is a general expression of positive vibrations I am deeply glad to transmit.

JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

JB: – Not sure. There are too many times and places to choose from for me.

JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

JB: – Do you have any anwers? Everyone has questions.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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