Interview with Aron Namenwirth: I don’t really think about audience: Video

- in INTERVIEWS, The bad musicians, VIDEOS

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Aron Namenwirth. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Aron Namenwirth: – I grew up in the back woods of North Eastern Connecticut – West Willington and Block Island Rhode Island traveling back and forth. My Father Zvi Namenwirth was a big opera and classical music lover playing it on the radio all day Sunday my Mother Cynthia Bloom also loved music oscillating between Janis Joplin and Carmen. They both played the baby grand piano until it was destroyed in the first of two fire. They bought me a recorder that i taught myself to play at 10 and then a crappy guitar at 12 with a tuning fork – never could get it in tune.

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

AN: – 10 years ago I started playing with a bunch of artists friends- Scott Fulmer and Paul Slocum, and Ken Butler were the first to play with me. Ken taught me 12 bar blues, Scott and Paul improvised with me. I put 3 bands together in a couple years playing songs i wrote, mostly 3 cord stuff i could do, inspired by the likes of black flag, fugazzi, ramones, minutemen, all those groups that i obsessively studied. I met Neil Connelly on Craigslist he was pivotal in he took my songs and put them in time and helped the other bandmates learn them. I played with a lot of talented musicians during this time including Justin Johnson, to many to mention … This crashed after a couple years. I met John Loggia, Grady Gerbracht, Damien Olsen, Adam Dym and Stephen Gauci about 7 years ago and they introduced me to the free jazz scene. Listening and Playing with people forced me to develop with my musical limitations, Playing with the likes of Stephen Gauci who came by and gave are free weekly lessons and playing regularly with the likes of Blaise Siwula, Eric Plaks, and more recently Sandy Ewen forced my appreciation of what a guitar can do. I was wrestler in high school it’s kinda the same you are thrown out there after a lot of training and it’s a scramble for your life.

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

AN: – I practice obsessively- with a metronome at least 2 hours a day sometimes much longer like 6. I run through all modes, major and minor scales at different speeds from very slow under 50 to as fast as i can stay in time pushing the speed. Nick Demopolis was my last formal guitar teacher and got me started on some jazz foundations which Gauci has continued to press. Now the focus is reading the likes of Charlie Parker and Traine- developing my melodic improvisation.

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

AN: – I embrace any and all influences- I agree with Picasso on that, these are out there to be copied. I could never play them the same way.

JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

AN: – I am constantly playing with my peers. Almost every day I have a session or gig so the momentum is established at least before this virus thing, but now I am zooming and exchanging files online working on albums it’s a constant flow. I play with the radio jazz and classical stations, experimental music, and youtube. I meditate, and am a swimmer, I think it is such a physical practice that being in shape both mentally and physically is super important. It is all part of a flow, I get out of the pool go to a recording session, then to a gig. It all follows breathing.

JBN: – Ism is culled from a variety of lives dates with various performers over the course of a few years. Did your sound evolve during that time? And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?

AN: – Not sure what your referring to.

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

AN: – Well if you let me substitute body for intellect/ intellect play little role in my practice i leaned to this as a visual artist. BREATH There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want? I don’t really think about audience. I am happy that they are there but that has more to do with then I know my musicians will get paid. When i start to play the audience disappears.

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

AN: – I remember a gig at Freddie back room and we- Larp played after a Korean band, We had two Drummers Neal Connelly and Sergio Alexis, The Korean’s started dancing it became a mini mash pit. My mic went flying, tables with candles started over turning it was kinda of scary. To conrast that last month I was with Dave Sewelson and Luisa Muhr,- Daniel Carter had just hurt his knee at my place a few days earlier. Some english guy at this club on the lower east side called abasement had just performed a mind crushing loud set pushing a giant speaker around the room rapping in a suit. I remember his pointy shows piercing my eardrums and dropping my ebow behind a bench. When we went to play the crowd was so loud i could not tell if the house amp was working or not. It wasn’t. Finding the sound guy in the masses was a challenge while people waited. Well as we had Luisa unamplified voice this was a trying. I waited and waited for the audience to quiet which they miraculously did. It was so inspiring to see such a scene for this.

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

AN: – I think that young or old people need to experience music jazz or whatever idiom live. I created a space todo that in. There are other spaces like Live at the Bushwick Public House that become scenes. It is really community building. If people have a place to go to be together and experience something that is alive and full of positive and even negative energy then becomes contagious. We as musicians need places to play and we either find them or make them. Though perseverance and continuity the word gets around and people come. The standards are ingrained in everyones subconscience it is how they are reinvented and combined with other forms of music that is the future. When thinks are dumbed down the masses hop on cause they can get it then the form is made more complex until the process repeats.

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

AN: – Yes he got it. I have always been a dark dude. This summer i had an awaking, it involved nature, land and water, sound and time everything was connected though spirit. It was the spirit of burning orange light warmth and love. What was so clear was the immense beauty of the natural world. Human spirit in the form of love finds form in the vibrations of sound. When those feeling take a physical form they entropy into human waste.

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

AN: – I would like to see people try to listen to new music rather then same old same old.

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

AN: – In the words of Star Trek “To go to someplace never gone before” Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go? I’m fine in this moment thanks. No going back- the future will be here before you know it.

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

AN: – How would you describe GETTIN’ HOT in as many words?

JBN: – Rubbish!

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

AN: – Well thanks for the interview good to lay it out. I think after being trained as a painter and print maker at The University of Ct. and then Yale grad school and working as a professional artist 20+ years in N.Y.C. and gradually evolving to new media and the Spirt Surfers I have had a lot of time to learn about the creative process. How important it is to trust in ones feelings and to absorb from others what they have to offer and know what to reject. Since becoming a guitarist what was once a struggle while not effortless has taken on a life of it’s own and with it a new beginning. I am so thankful. This process of change began in crisis was transformed by psychoanalysis and here we are.

Aron Namenwirth, Leonid Galaganov, Charlie Sabatino and Welf Dorr ...

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