Interview with Bartosz Hadala: We need body, and soul, and intellect to make music: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz pianist Bartosz Hadala. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Bartosz Hadala: – I grew up in Stalowa Wola, Poland. My father, Janusz Hadala, is a clarinetist and he decided I should study music. He bought a piano and after passing a basic exam I got excepted to the music program.

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

BH: – I started listening to Dixieland Bands at the age of 6.  When I was 15 I attended my first jazz camp where I learned a lot about jazz voicings and modes. Somehow Chick Corea was my very first idol, and I’m still a big fan of his music. In the meantime I discovered Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Danilo Perez, and Fred Hersch, and many others. I don’t know why, but I was never a big fan of be-bop, and I don’t really know the style of some of the biggest pianists of that time. I know the music of Bud Powell, and I know many other names, but I never really studied the style. My style developed by listening to various recordings, of course, but also by searching for sounds I liked based on the theory I knew.

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

BH: – Firstly, I do what everybody else does, I look for the best drummer I can find. Then, when I play, I engage in as much interaction with drummer as possible. Everything I play I try to sync up with the drummer.

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

BH: – I don’t think we can avoid coloring. If we hear something and we like it we will probably play it. In other words, listening to too many things can be dangerous 🙂

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

BH: – I don’t really prepare. The performance takes care of itself. The audience gives me enough reason to always try my best.

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

BH: – Well, we need body, and soul, and intellect to make music. I think all of those work together in mysterious way when I play. For sure, especially in jazz, the notes/rhythm we play are used to communicate with audience and the band. It means music is a language we all “speak”; it is full of different emotions and we communicate those as well. I cannot consciously balance intellect & soul when I play, I always follow my instincts and trust myself.

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

BH: – When the audience comes to listen to me I always stay true to who I am, because that’s all I know. I think about the audience when I compose/arrange my music. I always want to present my music in such way that there’s no doubt in what I wanted to accomplish musically. I love clarity.

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

BH: – My jazz debut album featured Randy Brecker on trumpet and Antonio Sanchez on drums. It was amazing to record my music with them and I don’t know if anything else can top that recording session.

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

BH: – We have to play jazz rooted in today’s music. Jazz needs stronger grooves and has to be ready for bigger stages.

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

BH: – I am Catholic. For me, everything concerning the meaning of life is based on the teaching of Jesus.

Spirit can be the aura/energy we create when living, whether we have a conversation, pray or play music. I know our personalities can translate into music we write/improvise.

Our spirit can be fueled by God, the Holy Spirit. I understand Coltrane was fully aware of the creative force coming from God alone.

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

BH: – I would like to eliminate certain people from the music business. By certain people I mean guys & girls who became famous for their looks or connections and not their talent. Because of them, the musical standards had to be lowered and the music and general audience suffers greatly because of that.

In other words, how many of today’s pop singers can be compared to Barbara Streisand or Whitney Houston?

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

BH: – I listen to everything, because I get to play many different genres on daily basis. When it comes to jazz I often go back to Fred Hersch.

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

BH: – My music is not any kind of protest, and I don’t think there’s a particular message. I like strong grooves and jazz, to me, is all about interaction. I want the audience to feel the joy the musicians feel while having the most innocent kind of fun when playing together.

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

BH: – I want to go to see Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Miles’s Quintet.

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

BH: – What is the direction in which I am going musically? I’m always trying to analyze what I do musically and to understand why. It is not always easy to see things clearly.

JBN: – 🙂 My question is do you have a question for me, not yourself …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

EST by Bartosz Hadala Group - YouTube

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