Interview with Joscho Stephan: I can help to make people feel comfortable: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Joscho Stephan. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Joscho Stephan: – I just pick up my guitar backstage and play for myself, something between 30 – 60 Minutes, not longer, because there should be some energy left for the performance.

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?

JS: – Of course I started with my father Günter in 1996, so we founded together the Joscho Stephan Trio (with different bass players), and this setup still exists. Beside that Band, the Trio worked with a lot of different Soloists (Violin, Vibraphone, Clarinet etc.), and of course there are special setups, like the Transatlantic Guitar Trio. It’s a lot of fun to play with different people, because its always inspiring, and I learned a lot of new things because of all these great players.

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

JS: – I think Gypsy Swing is the best example for the balance. Django Reinhardt´s music contains always soul, but he was also one of the best guitar players, so maybe his technique and knowledge of music (without knowing any music theory) helped him to sharpen his intellect, so I think this balance is noticeable in Gypsy Swing music.

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

JS: – Definitly: Yes. I never had a problem to play Minor Swing (one of the most known Gypsy Standards) or Rondo a la Turca (Mozart) or Hey Joe to make people listen to me. On the other side: Because of these “famous” songs I am also able to fill my concerts with own compositions and not well known songs. Often at the merch desk, people want the CDs with the original material, but they found about me (on youtube for example) because of Hey Joe. All the songs that I play on stage, I enjoy to play, otherwise you wouldn´t find them in my program.

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

JS: – I met Tommy Emmanuel in Dortmund, when I was 23. A friend of mine asked the organizer if it’s possible that I can share the stage with Tommy, the organizer asked Tommy, and he said yes. That changed my whole life as a musician, it opens a lot of doors. In 2015 he was a guest on my album Guitar Heroes. Just before the recordings I played in the states on the same festival as Stochelo Rosenberg (from the Rosenberg Trio), so I asked Stochelo also to join me on the album, so that was also a wonderful encounter. Last but not least one of my heroes just contacted me via facebook in 2014: Bireli Lagrene. So he followed me a few years on youtube and contacted me. That was amazing, he also accepted to be a guest on that album. So it’s always a beautiful experience to play with these masters.

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

JS: – I am fine with everything, every job has ups and downs, but the hardest part is travelling at the moment. So if we could finish all the road work that would help maybe the most, so that we don’t stuck too often in traffic.

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

JS: – I was never really a political person, also not somebody who wants to missionize other people, so if I can share some happiness and if I can help to make people feel comfortable listen to my music (and maybe they are able to forget about all the stress, problems that they need to deal with) then I am satisfied. Making people happy (or sometimes bringing tears to their eyes) is the most important thing for an performer.

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

JS: – No doubt, to see Django Reinhardt in Person would be absolutely amazing. There are a lot of videos available from famous jazz, pop and rock musicians, but just very little material from Django, so to see him playing in Concert would be great.

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

JS: – What kind of music you prefer? do you have a favorite musician?

JBN: – Jazz music is my life !!! Yes, of course, they are many and all in Jazz.

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

JS: – Of course it´s a lot of work. Mostly I am working 7 days a week, but music is the thing I always wanted to do, so its enjoyable to me.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Review: Joscho Stephan Trio - Paris Berlin | HIGHRESAUDIO

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