Interview with Joao Lencastre: It’s all about the soul: Video

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Jazz Interview with jazz Portuguese drummer Joao Lencastre. An interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.com: – When you improvise, you know where you’re going. It’s a matter of taking certain paths and certain directions?

Joao Lencastre: – I prefer not to know where I’m going, I love the spontaneous interaction and unpredictability of it. I think that’s the beauty of improvisation.

JBN: – Do you ever get the feeling that music majors, and particularly people who are going into jazz, are being cranked out much like business majors? That they are not really able to express themselves as jazz musicians?

JL: – Maybe in more mainstream situations and major labels you get asked to play in a certain way and that doesn’t give you the freedom you have in other projects. But I think there’s always room to give your input to the music

JBN: – What about somebody who is really gifted and puts together a band and just gets upset to the point of quitting because of the business aspects-the agents and the clubs?

JL: – I think no matter what, when it’s something you truly believe, you should keep doing it.

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

JL: – Be honest in the way you play. When you play “the real you” people will feel it.

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

JL: – When I’m practicing the instrument it’s a more intellectual thing, when I’m playing music it’s all about the soul. I just want to react to what I’m listening and not thinking about any theory, chops or whatever…

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

JL: – I think the relation with the audience is a give and take thing. The audience will feel your energy and give it back to you. So it’s very important to always play very honest and pure…like Miles used to say “…no matter what, just play through it..”

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

JL: – Back in 2006, on the day before starting the tour with Communion, featuring Bill Carrothers (piano), Phil Grenadier (trumpet), André Matos (guitar) & Demian Cabaud (bass), I had a discal hernia and the disc “exploded”…so I had to go straight to the hospital. The doctor said it would be at least three weeks to recover before I could play the drums…I told him that after operation I could go and play…

And so I did … five days after the operation I was back to play the rest of the tour and record what would be my first record as a leader “ONE!” (Fresh Sound/ New Talent).

The concerts were really fun (although I was in pain the whole time) and the recording came out very well and had great reviews…Happy end!

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

JL: – Jazz has evolved a lot since that era, and what happens with some young people is to listen to the more contemporary things and then go back to the beginning, or not … But Jazz is so vast, and it has so many different ramifications, that you cannot say you don’t like Jazz just because you don’t like a little part of it…

JBN: – And lastly, being a teacher, do you find it difficult to write music yourself?

JL: – No, it’s a very spontaneous and natural process, but it’s something it can’t be forced … I just play the piano and eventually will come up with some idea..

JBN: – How important is it to you to have an original approach? Can you comment on the bridge between being a musician and being a composer?

JL: – I think the most important thing as a musician and an improviser is to find your own voice, both as a performer or as a composer. First absorb as many influences as possible, practice as hard as you can and then just let it go, feel what the “real you” has to say…

JBN: – Do you have an idea of what it is you’re trying to say or get across? Is it an idea or is it just something that we feel?

JL: – I know what I wanna say as a musician, and again as I said before, when you play in a honest a pure way, people will feel it.

JBN: – What do you see for your extended future? You know what you have going on? You have life? If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

JL: – My philosophy is very be positive, let it flow and things will happen…

One thing I would change if I could would be probably end all the free streaming music platforms that are ruining the musical industry…

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

JL: – I listen to many different musical genres all the time … these last couple days I’ve been listening to Elvin Jones New Trio “Puttin’ it together” featuring feat. Joe Farrell and Jimmy Garrison, Farmers by Nature (Craig Taborn, William Parker, Gerald Cleaver) “Love and Ghosts”, John Scofield “Pick Hits Live”, Dead Cross “Dead Cross”.

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

JL: – My goal is to touch as many people as possible with my music, to give emotions when people listen to it.

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

JL: – Back to the 60’s, to watch live the Miles Davis Quintet, Coltrane Quartet, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Beatles and many more..

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

JL: – What’s for you the meaning of Jazz?

JBN: – My Life, improvisations !!!

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

JL: – Just believe, be positive and let it flow!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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