Interview with Jean-Paul Estievenart: I have no idea what I want to be: Video


Jazz interview with jazz trumpeter Jean-Paul Estievenart. An interview by email in writing. – When you improvise, you know where you’re going. It’s a matter of taking certain paths and certain directions?

Jean-Paul Estievenart: – For me Improvising depends on a lot of factors. With who, where, when… I don’t follow one specific direction or schema but I’m maybe more following the sound and try to play in the music and not against.

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

JPE: – I think It is almost impossible not to hear influences in whoever musican’s playing. I think It’s a good  thing when somebody comes to you and says… you remind me this or this musician.

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

JPE: – It comes naturally if you are doing it with no goals. A lot of practice = Intellect. Giving your guts to the people ones on stage= soul

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

JPE: – IMO, if you are honest with people and with you… whatever you propose, It will work.

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

JPE: – There is so many… Maybe that one when I was playing in Burkina faso. After 10hours of driving, soundcheck, the concert will start but the electricity went down. Completely blackout. No music anymore and at some point the sound engineer took a saxohone out of nowhere and start to play really trash improvised music. We went to drink a beer and to have party but no concert anymore that night. That was something J

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

JPE: – Beautiful music never dies or get old. There is so many styles of jazz that anyone could like this music. As a young musician, I think that you can easily find what you like in the past and start from there, no matter the period. Example: If you like Pat Metheny, you will try to play like him but after a certain period of practice, you will understand and learn that Pat came from listening all the great masters and you’ll get back to it naturally.

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

JPE: – Music is not difficult to write, beautiful melodies are. It is just a matter of being yourself. It sounds easy but anyway. Composing is not for everybody and I’m not saying that I’m a good composer. I’m just writing what I hear in my head.

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? 

JPE: – It depends on your state of mind. Some people like to practice to sound the closest to Charlie parker or whatever. Other people like me, try to find another way of putting the notes and lines together to get an improvisations and compositions that will reflect your identity but it takes an entire life.

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?

JPE: – It is just a feeling I believe, your mentality changes over the years so you, as a musician, you change too. You just have to follow your emotions.

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?

JPE: – I have no idea what I want to be. I just want to practice to master my instrument and give my feeling and passion to the audience. I would change something in the musical world… More improvised music on radio, television etc… People need more of that liberty in their ears.

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

JPE: – Listening to a lot of Baroque music and especially the German trumpeter Matthias Hoefs. He is incredible.

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

JPE: – I just want to transmit Passion, love and fire.

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

JPE: – New York end of the 50’s. Listening to the new vague of avant guard musicians coming like Ornette, Eric Dolphy, Coltrane, Miles 5tet and so on….

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

JPE: – Why do you like jazz so much?

JBN: – Because jazz is my life!!!

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

JPE: – It’s an easy life here in Europe I would say… much easier than wake up at 5am and have 2 works just to eat and pay the rent. Life can be easy, Its just a matter of choices.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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