Interview with Marc Jufer: Jazz is alive: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Marc Jufer. An interview by email in writing.

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

Marc Jufer: – I grew up in the French part of Switzerland and still live here. My parents always loved music and especially Jazz. I remember being in my parent’s car, on the holiday’s road, listening to Thelonious Monk. At that time I wasn’t reactive about this music but I’m sure that I was impregnated with it.

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

MJ: – I think that my sound is constantly evolving with the type of music I play and listen to. All of my  first bands were more about pop and funk although I was listening to some jazz too. My sound was clearer, more aggressive. Step by step my taste changed and I tried to have a rounder and breathy sound.  For sure I changed a little bit my material like mouthpiece and reeds etc. but I think that the more important is to hear the sound in your head. It’s important for me to going continuously forward with being aware that your personal roots will always be there.

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

MJ: – In the past I worked a lot with a horn section, it was my main school for becoming precise rhythmically.  Since that I have the chance to work with amazing drummers, really creative and precise. Rehearsing with bands regularly is in my sense the best practice.

JBN: – 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?

MJ: – How! Thanks for these compliments. For sure I worked a with a lot of harmonies and harmonics patterns. Now I try to “ forget” it and play simply what I hear. I like to play “out” but I try to keep a melodic line to be coherent.

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

MJ: – Even if I don’t always hit my target, I have a clear idea about what I want to achieve. I played and listen to a lot of different styles and kept the influences I like and they help me to focus on my own vision.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2019: <Marc Jufer Trio – Trip to the Center>, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

MJ: – With time my music began to be more specific. I choose my partners for what I wanted to realize, the color of their sound, the approach they have to music. I’m very happy to share my music with them. Today I’m working to find gigs and combine them with Lisa and Devin’s availabilities, find solutions to play our music on stage. I am also working on new projects, bands. It’s important to stay constantly in research.

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

MJ: – I need both. I like when we have a really sort of structured score. It helps me to go further and give a support to push up the music and the improvisation and thereby, the emotion. The spirit of it is still the most important.

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

MJ: – It’s cool to have a good relationship with the audience but we want to share our music with them. It’s essential to be honest with yourself otherwise it would be impossible for people to enjoy the music.

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

MJ: – Maybe a general thought, something that happens regularly. During most of the concerts I give, I often meet people who are “afraid” about Jazz, free jazz with a lot of improvisation, without harmony and sometimes without rhythm too. Strange melodies for the uninitiated listener. I feel a certain apprehension on their part. At the end of the show, they often come to tell me that jazz is not their stuff, that they don’t generally like it but that today they have been carried away by our music, that they went on a journey. For me it’s fantastic to ear that. It’s proof that jazz could reach a wider audience. I think that as in many other areas, the fear of the unknown and a priori, prejudices, are a real barrier to openness.

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

MJ: – Jazz is alive. Musicians don’t play the same tunes nowadays as some years ago. The sound changes, the approach changes, the fashion changes. Jazz is a source of inspiration.

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

MJ: – Music feeds spirit and spirit feeds music. It’s life.

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

MJ: – Something entirely achievable, a better distribution of musical styles in the media. To make it possible for the public, especially young people, to discover and take an interest in things they currently have very little access to. Culture and knowledge are paramount

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

MJ: – The last album from the French pianist Benoît Delbecq “4 spots on stripes”. A lot of sensitivity, melody and music, wonderful.

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

MJ: – More than a message, music transmits different vibes that each people can feel with their own emotions. Especially for projects without texts.

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

MJ: – I’m fine in present, here and now. I’m just afraid about the future for my children, climate change, wars, a world without tolerance driven by profit and money.

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

MJ: – What give you such faith and energy to do your job, to live your passion?

JBN: – Thanks for answers. Yes, of course, because Jazz is my life!!!

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

MJ: – Keep the faith to continue to feel good, thanks to music and to try sharing that with other peoples.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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