Interview with Dave Latchaw: The intellect is there to analyze after the fact: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz pianist Dave Latchaw. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Dave Latchaw: – I grew up in Kendallville Indiana which is in the Northeast of the state. I first got interested in music at a very young age when I heard my great grandmother play. I started to perform improvised concerts for her when I was 5 years old. Being from Indiana my first recollection of recorded music was from local radio and tv. Hearing such artists from Johnny Cash to the Andrew Sisters. I always was drawn to music. At 10 I started formal piano lessons. Our school system had a great music program which developed many great musicians. As a Freshman in High School I heard a 20-piece jazz band for the first time and thought it was the coolest thing ever. That is when I knew I wanted to be a musician. While in High School I played in band and studied with Scott Stroman. Scott went on to be the director of the London Jazz Orchestra. Being a teenage musician in the 70’s from Kendallville you were inspired by Jazz Rock Fusion and Progressive Rock. That was what everyone was into outside of school band.

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

DL: – My sound has evolved over time through practice, study and performing a wide variety of styles. I feel my sound is still evolving. I am just as curious about music now as I was when I first got into music as a kid. I think as I live life, experience more, practice more, study and so on, my sound will keep changing. It will still be me, but different.

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

DL: – The last few decades have been inspired Konnakol for rhythmic concepts. I especially like some of the Hemiola aspects you can create. The hands are handy for groupings of five. I use the metronome or a track to play along with.

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

DL: – Ideally when I play there is no conscious thought. I just play. When I listen back to something I played, I might hear certain influences. I think that could almost happen to everyone. When I play in an ensemble, I just react to what I am hearing. I feel a certain level of detachment from the process may help. I think if you are playing like yourself you really do not think about this when playing.

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

DL: – I think if you love what you do and the people you do that with you are always in a state of preparedness for performing. I try to only perform things I love to do with people I love performing them with.

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

DL: – To me it is the soul that should perform the music and the intellect is there to analyze after the fact.

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

DL: – Ideally the audience knows what to expect, so it is easy to give them what they want. Nothing worse than being miss booked.

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

DL: – Played keyboards for the Scottish Rock Band – The Heat. We were one of the few unsigned bands to record a Radio 1 session for the BBC, played the London Marquee and got to hang out with Sharon Osbourne. I have taught and performed several times at the Rockowe Ogrdki Music Festival in Plock, Poland with Krzysztof Misiak and other world-class musicians.

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

DL: – Fortunately, here in the Fort Wayne, Indiana there is a thriving jazz scene in the community schools. One middle school here has won several Down Beat awards. I am very active in jazz education. I think education is crucial. Get kids hip to jazz at a young age.

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

DL: – The Spirit that is a good question. For me, a couple of important elements of the spirit needs to include empathy and lack of ego. Life should be full of the process of being more in touch with the spirit.

Well, the meaning of life we will never fully understand until we are dead. I am just going to appreciate every minute of it and figure it out when I gone. I should have more time.

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

DL: – That you could play in real time with other musicians via the internet easily on a app like Skype, FaceTime or Zoom.

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

DL: – Keith Jarrett solo piano music.

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

DL: – Not a message as much as a nice sonic distraction to enhance Daydreaming.

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

DL: – Just ahead a couple a years, when the world is safe from COVID and we can travel, play and see music and so on.

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

DL: – Have you listened to Look In?

JBN: – Yes, but your sounds pretty crap to me. And you don’t have normal video on the Youtube and views …

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

DL: – I will link to it when it is posted.

Thank you so much for this opportunity and your patience waiting for me to get it done.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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