Interview with Randy Brecker: Spirit and Music = Love … Video

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Jazz interview with jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker. 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?

Randy Brecker: – You never quite know where you are going, that’s the whole idea (!) especially if you are playing with like minded professional musicians and it’s a conversation not just a trumpet  or whatever ‘solo’, so some ideas are presented by the other musicians…then you follow a path that is instantaneous…you don’t have time to consciously think about it…

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

RB: – The spirit is always there, since music is spiritual in itself. Maintenance is dependent on daily practice to be able to play what you hear in your head.

That’s where the work and craft enter the picture, and broadening your ‘so- called’ Jazz Vocabulary.

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

RB: – Well we just do the best show we can do, straight from the heart and usually the audience likes what they hear!…then we feed on their acceptance and enthusiasm.

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?

RB: – It helps I guess, but  it should come organically without you thinking about it too much. I found my voice in my writing which then effected my playing and vice- versa…I just knew didn’t want to sound too much like my jazz heroes I wanted to contribute something that was out of my own life’s experiences…that subtle place between jazz and soul and rock that I had grown up with in Philly.

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?

RB: – Hopefully I play it and you feel it and enjoy it…if not, onto the next one. I’m just trying to play my horn to the best of my ability thats about all I can say.

JBN: – The pandemic has changes things for musicians so drastically. What do you see for your extended future? You know what you have going on? You have life?

RB: – I don’t know any more than anyone else..it’s day by day, week by week, month by month … with our federal government and our President with his head up his ass, I don’t see much for the immediate future…hoping for 2022 as far as going back to live performances, then we’ll see. in the meantime we’re (with my wife saxophonist Ada Rovatti) doing a lot of home recording for people and practicing. enjoy being home with my family so we’ll see what comes back and when… thankfully I’m not in a dire situation, but many are, so I just think of the many people who really need help and try and contribute to them too.

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

RB: – Jazz Musicians should all be millionaires. As Mel Lewis said to me once: “Where is it written that Jazz musicians have to be poor?”

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

RB: – Music education in schools or at home …. otherwise they’re just going to be inundated with commercial crap that is wherever you look in social and mass medias. And it doesn’t matter how old classic tunes are, that’s irrelevant. Last time I looked, Bach and Mozart had some good melodies.

American values and appreciation of culture is at an all time low and the buck stops with Trump and his whole family and administration. Remember the White House under Obama? Herbie played there many times and I played there too once (with Herbie and others).

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

RB: – Spirit and Music = Love …  and are the same thing, and for me, along with love of family which in total are the Meaning of Life. I really don’t care about much else.

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

RB: – With all the bombardments of social media and home media, too many to mention … last night: a lot of Latin Music…

Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Orlando Maraca Valle (flutes) and his band: ‘New Jazz Frontiers’, and oh yes, Art Farmer with Jim Hall, Steve Swallow, and Pete La Roca 1964 Live TV show in Europe and a little Jacob Collier to round at the night at 4AM.

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

RB: – It all sinks in … I spend a lot of time listening, and when I lived in NYC I’d go out to hear live music for inspiration quite a bit. That’s how musicians get inspired by listening to each other…

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Randy Brecker Master Class 2017 - YouTube

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