Interview with Ron Jackson: The being yourself and being honest with the music: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Ron Jackson. An interview by email in writing.

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

Ron Jackson: – I was Born in the Philippines, lived in many states as a kid, then settled in Harvard, Massachusetts, west of Boston. My friends got me interested in Rock music.

JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time?

RJ: – Over time I evolved into jazz, with influences like George Benson and Pat Metheny. What did you do to find and develop your sound? To this day I try my best to be myself even though I’m heavily influenced by hard-bop jazz.

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

RJ: – I practice allot less than I would like. I used to practice 5-8 hours a day. Now I practice when I have new music to learn or specific performances or recordings. Usually for rhythm I use a metronome or drum-loop tracks to play with. Also, I use backing tracks.

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

RJ: – I use all kinds of harmony. Be-Bop, Coltrane Changes, Substitutions, All the modes of the major, melodic and harmonic minors.

JBN.S: – 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?

RJ: – I tend to play more inside in my band and because I hear more inside. I play what hear. I am capable of playing more dissonant when it’s in the right situation or depending who I’m playing with. When I played with Oliver Lake, Greg Lewis or Randy Weston I would play more dissonant.

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

RJ: – I don’t know what mean exactly but I try to maintain my own vision of how I should play and perform my music.

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

RJ: – The balance to me is being yourself and being honest with the music.

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

RJ: – Yes, mostly. I think the audience shows up or listens to my albums because they like what you do. I sometimes give them an encore if they want it in a concert.

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

RJ: – I’ve had so many great experiences. I’m just happy to be a professional musician.

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

RJ: – I think by adapting some more current tunes into jazz like I did with Drake’s song “Passion Fruit” on my new album into jazz. When I play that song,young people hear it immediately and wonder, “What Is That”?

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

RJ: – I understand being a musician as something that I always wanted to do since I was 11 years old. I don’t know any other life. I guess it was always my calling.

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

RJ: – I would have taken more control of my jazz music career by releasing more albums as a leader than I did. I should have released an album every 1-2 years.

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

RJ: – I listen to mostly what’s on the radio. Pop, Rap. Hip-Hop, R+B, Jazz, Classical. There’s so much to listen these days with the internet.

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

RJ: – To please enjoy and feel my music.

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

RJ: – I would go back and change a few things in my life that would have had different outcome now. But it’s the present so I will live each day the best I can.

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

RJ: – What can I do more to share my music to wider audience?

JBN.S: – Thanks for answers. I’m sorry, but we don’t need it, we have more than 62,000 readers.

JBN.S: – So, putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?

RJ: – By continuing to press on!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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