Interview with Noah Preminger: The most important aspect of music, balancing technique and love: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Noah Preminger. An interview by email in writing.

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

Noah Preminger: – I grew up in Northwest Connecticut in a small town of roughly 6,000 people.  It’s roughly halfway between NYC and Boston.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the saxophone? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the saxophone?

NP: – I first auditioned for drums, but wasn’t talented enough to make the cut.  MJ was cut from his High School ball team, so I didn’t let it get me down.  I picked saxophone next because it seemed like the second-coolest instrument, obviously.  My band teacher was really inspiring, and I was fortunate to have parents that got me lessons with an amazing teacher named Larry Dvorin.  I then began lessons with Dave Liebman around 12 years old.

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

NP: – I never practiced “tone”, but I did transcribe a ton of music in different genres which has given me the voice I have today.  I wouldn’t be caught dead practicing long tones or patterns.  Ever.

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

NP: – There hasn’t been practice on the actual horn in over a decade; all practice is done in the mind.

JBN.S: – 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?

NP: – For me, there’s no set harmonic way to improvise.  I’ve studied tonal pivoting over the past few years (as shown in my album, Pivot: Live at the 55 Bar) but my main preference is to improvise based on melodic statements, never based on moving from one chord to the next.

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

NP: – There is no bigger crime than sounding like another and no bigger compliment than sounding like yourself.

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

NP: – This is possibly the most important aspect of music, balancing technique and love.  Too much or little of one can ruin a voice for me.

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

NP: – It is the artist’s responsibility to give the audience an honest representation of their art.

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

JBN.S: – No memories

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

NP: – There need to be big characters in the music scene; Monk, Miles, Louis Armstrong, Hawk, Elvin – these were players that were bigger than life.  There isn’t very much of that anymore to get excited about.  Unfortunately, good music isn’t good enough.

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

NP: – Music and love can transform lives and maybe that’s the meaning of life.

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

NP: – Equality for all.

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

NP: – Jazz? Alive: Godwin Louis, John O Gallagher, Seamus Blake, Joe Lovano.

NP: – Dead: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Michael Brecker, Art Tatum.

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

NP: – Individuality.  If mine’s not for you, that’s fine, but know it’s me.

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

NP: – I want to share the stage with Miles, visit other galaxies, make a difference in other people’s lives.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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