Interview with Florian Pellissier: I try to love and be loved: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz pianist and composer Florian Pellissier. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Florian Pellissier: – I grew up in Paris, France . My mom was a classical amtateur piano player, and my dad is a jazz fan, my older brother introduced to the Sex Pistols, ACDC, the Stooges and Earth Wind and Fire when I was 6… So that’s pretty much the mix with maybe the cartons soundtracks I was watching on TV. Tropical music and Afrobeats came a bit later when I got a chance to go dancing with girls.

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

FP: – My sound evolved totally randomly as I haven’t great piano technique, and I don’t shed so much, for all the other keyboards, it depends on the new guy joining my studio set, is he a Minimoog ? A Prophet 1O from Sequential? A Solina string a Jupiter 8? I learn and trip around with the synthesizer I have in my hand. And the new ones I meet in different studios. I’m a natural born analog synth lover. And Rhodes, rhodes is necessary for the joy of my ears.

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

FP: – Unfortunately, I still don’t have any, but I’m planning on using Lockdown in France to get myself together and maybe have a more healthy life and becoming a virtuoso 🙂

As for rhythm, I practice drums. When I can.

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

FP: – Ah ah this is a funny one, I think the exact opposite , I try to be influenced by all the music that’s around me, and add it to my psychedelic mind. That’s why I have as many Dj’s friends as musicians, I love Dj’s they give me so many new sounds. Musicians are so tight today and so far away into their speciality, sometimes music became so complex, they have a tendency to listen only the art that they think will feed them in their right direction. Hopefully Picasso never thought this way, neither Miles.

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

FP: – I try to relieve the stress making jokes with the musicians I’m playing with, mostly friends or amazing human beings like Leron Thomas or Iggy Pop.

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

FP: – It’s 2 per cent Jazz and 98 per cent Funky.

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

FP: – I try to love and be loved like Bob would say, I try to not bore and be bored too, then I have so much respect for Black American Music, I studied in New York at the New School, my school mates were Michael Rodriguez, the Strickland Brothers, Leron Thomas, Robert Glasper, Manuel Valera, Mike Moreno, Reid Taylor, Dan Blankinship, I was a white French jazz tourist at the time, and still am. So I consider myself so lucky to be able to play sometimes in front of people, I just enjoy it and with the small knowledge I know of the Culture, I try to do my best not to be unrespectful.

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

FP: – Oh I have so many, maybe the last and biggest was being on stage with Iggy Pop’s band for the release of his last album «  Free », I’m part of Leron Thomas Group, and as Leron produced Iggy’s album, he had us record for it and bring us on tour with them. What an amazing experience, sadly the rest of tour got cancelled due to some virus, we hope to restart in 2022 but …well… let’s hope. Anyway, enough tears , we were closing the «  London Jazz Festival » in a packed Barbican in London, and as the album is darker and more mellow than Iggy’s most famous stuff, half of the show got this jazz vibe and then the other half went totally Stooges , Punky and 70’s straight jammed and I was playing Hammond B3 organ and Honer Clavinet with wha wha and distorsion and was having so much fun my spirit left off my body and I saw the end of the show from the ceiling…..

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

FP: – You can’t … Ah ah … No you have to find a path, I used to teach and those last years a lot of great band like Lettuce or Snarky Puppy can bring young girls and guys to jazz from the funk, fusion and fun side. As a teenage I was more a Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Hendrix fan, my dad was playing me some acoustic jazz, but at first I thought he was crazy cause he was changing the LP’s on the stereo, and they all sounded exactly the same, with this drum beat going chaba da chaba da and some players going do bad dobadodobahip bap dooo bedobedap, crazy….

Then at 15 a friend of mine brought Herbie’s Chameleon, I was with my best friend totally high on weed and red wine, the timing was perfect, and the Moog bass line cut me in half, Paul Jackson and Harvey Mason playin that rhythm and then Herbie  Hancock Rhodes’s solo so mint, so perfect, I decided to give my life to have a glimpse of what Herbie felt playing that chorus 🙂

So I had to learn everything , from the chords to the lines, from standard to progressions, interplay, sipirituality, politics, history, colonization, slavery, masters, power, guilt, tears, gears, studios ,girls, drugs and here I am ….. Ah Ah

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

FP: – I don’t, I simply don’t, I try for myself to make as little wrong and pain as I can for the people around, try to make music to ease myself and others, as I write those lines we are waiting to know if Trump will be reelected, when I look at the stupidity and ignorance of our world leaders wether it’s Putin, Macron or Trump, I have no more faith in humanity when I think that a majority of people is able to vote for such danger… The planet is dying, they don’t care, they put people against each other in order to save time for their friends to make billions.  Difficult for me to have hope in Man Kind, such a stupid living form. For me Trump embodies human meaning of life : like the most stupid and ugly creature who sees itself as a genius…..

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

FP: – I would invert the laws of business between music and entertainment and instead of giving 99,9 % of the money to the entertainment, I would give it to the music and the musicians who struggle. It’s really scary as you keep evolving in the music and business world how you can meet really non talented and not really start people taking the job of thousand amazing struggling musicians….. This all world is upside down

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

FP: – I play in so many bands, that I have projects beginning, albums done, or at the editing or mixing point, so I mainly listen to myself Ah Ah Ah…. And it’s not good…. No more seriously I have the chance to have a new born baby since July, so I play a lot of music for him going from Bach Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould with is the first sound he heard after his own scream out of the womb. Bill Withers a lot, Stevie Wonder, Bud Powell, Brad Mehldau, Busta Rhymes, Leron Thomas, Jasper Marsalis, la bande organisée … we just looked at a live stream from the Village Vanguard of The Bad Plus, I love them they are as inventive as funny and super skilled, this is my type of humans

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

FP: – Depends of the season, from fight the power, to free the prisoners to pussy riots to love and sex, and wonders of the world.

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

FP: – I would like to go back to god’s 6th day of creation, and talk with him about the way he messed up humans, if we could repair the wrong chromosome from the start…

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

FP: – Yes, why did you contact me, how did you find out about me and my music and what did you like or dislike in it?

JBN: – From the Internet. I am referring to all the new CD releases.

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

FP: – I have no idea, I just go day by day, try to have more fun and make more music with all the beautiful musicians I’m lucky to have met all around the world from Brazil to West Africa, from Paris to NYC. This is the only way I don’t have to look down.

Florian Pellissier Quintet | Discography | Discogs

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