Interview with Angel Bat Dawid: Music is the healing force of the universe: Video

Jazz interview with jazz clarinetist, singer and composer Angel Bat Dawid. An interview by email in writing.

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

Angel Bat Dawid: – I was born in Atlanta Ga. My Mother is from there, my parents met in College. But my Father is from Louisville Ky, So we moved back to his hometown when I was about 3. At 7 my family and I moved to Kenya. We lived there 4 years. Returned to Kentucky, and then moved to Chicago area in my late teens.

Music has always been a focus of mine. My Father played a lot of amazing music in the house especially the music from his era 60’s and 70s’. Lots of Funk, Rock, Soul, Jazz, Gospel.  No genre was expemt it in our house only had to be Good Music.

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

ABD: – My sound developed because I listened to a lot of music. All kinds. From Classical to Jazz to hip hop. All of it. I am obsessed with sound.

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

ABD: – It is important to play music everyday. How can one call oneself a musician if you don’t do that. Its not as compartmentalized though. Its all spiritual and sequences vibrations and such. I am trained in western classical music. So I definitely still play my etudes and I love Yusef Lateef book of Respository Scales. I also listen to my records and play to them and learn a lot of techniques from theamazing black masters of music.

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?

ABD: – I play what sounds and feels good to me. I play myself first. In my college music theory classes the professor would give us composition assignments, where we would have to use certain progressons and chords and such. When I first got those assignments I would treat them like a math problem. And then go to the piano and see if it worked. It didn’t work and it lead to dry ass no feeling compostions lol. So One day I started with the feeling of the progssion and the sound at the piano first and then I wrote it out and the…ding ding. I was making music…real music. All that to say that yes I understand and study composition and sturcutre but at the end of the day Its all about what sounds good and feels right in my spirit. Certain chords certain intervals have certain effects on the body mind and spirit. So I tap into it though a tracne sometimes, and often times I record, because I be in a different concionsess when I play.

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

ABD: – I don’t even understand this question, because I cant be colored by disparate influences ever. I grew up in a house with a music snob lol. Wasn’t no bullshit music every played in my house. lol

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

ABD: – We humans are 90% music. We should be doing it all the time. Music is the intellect, music is the soul. And it’s the spirit!

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

ABD: – I interact with my audience as a human being who has a lot to say musically. That means I treat the audience like my family and friedns. It doesn’t matter how many people. I want them to feel fed , healed, better, uplifted and powerful after they  hear my music. And I want them to feel blessed and healed from mental anguish.

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

ABD: – This last performance I did at a college radio station (whpk)  had a live audience and the Brothahood (my band) and I were performing We are Starzz from my album.  Repeating this chant over and over of course we arr tranced the fuck out eyes closed floating in another space..when I opened my eyes a young man in the audience was weeping so deeply and strongly. He was being healed of something. We embraced afterwarrds and he was in such gratitude.This is what Music is really for has always has been just this for me.

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

ABD: – Young people are only interested in rebellion. Jazz isnt bad ass anymore. I think it largely has to do with Academia too which has turned it into a relic and theres a wavering scent of pretetiousness amongs jazz enthusiast..young folks hate that shit..I know I did… but There are more and more younger muscians now who are recognizing that this Black American Artform is suppose to move and shake the things up. More hamhock in your cornflakes, ring around your bathtub, joints rolled in toilet paper..etc

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

ABD: – All black music is Spiritual.

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

ABD: – End the explotation of Black American Music.

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

ABD: – Alot Alice and John lately.

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

ABD: – The same as Albert Ayler… Music is the healing force of the universe.

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

ABD: – I love to take a ride to pre westernized pre European colonial Africa and meet and play music with my ancestors.

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

ABD: – Faith is all I have and need …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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