July 19, 2024


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Interview with Bob Mintzer: I hope music and art can remain an integral part of life everywhere: Videos

Jazz interview with Jazz Tenor Saxophonist Bob Mintzer. interview by email in writing.

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

Bob Mintzer: – I grew up in the New York City area. Music had always called me from a very early age. I was fascinated by the sound of all kinds of music, and was curious as to how music worked and fit together.

JBN.S: – What interested you in picking up the saxophone?

BM: – I was always attracted to John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and onward. Something about the sound of the tenor sax resonated with me. Also the great tenor saxophonists had such an expressive approach to playing.

JBN.S: – What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the saxophonist you are today? What made you choose the tenor saxophon?

BM: – I mostly studied clarinet with teachers. Don Sinta thought me for a semester at Hartt College in Connecticut. The rest of the time I learned on my own, mostly by checking out other players.

JBN.S: – What about the Your sound did that influence at all? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

BM: – A musicians sound is determined by their musical influences, who they are as a human being, and by the musical settings they find themselves in. My main objective is to make a nice sound come out of whatever instrument I am playing.

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

BM: – I have always played drums and piano, two instruments that allow one to work on rhythm vis a vis using multiple limbs. I’ve also been fortunate to play with great drummers. Jazz is so much about time, and it is critical to have a strong internal time sense. Playing in Afro Cuban bands, funk bands, and in recording settings where you have to play with a click all improve one’s timing.

JBN.S: – Many aspiring musicians are always looking for advice when navigating thru the music business. Is there any piece of advice you can offer to aspiring students or even your peers that you believe will help them succeed and stay positive in this business?

BM: – The main ingredient in achieving success in the music business is having a strong product to offer. That means playing your ass off, having a high level of intention in your playing and writing, and finding a way to play that honestly represents your beliefs and concepts.

JBN.S: – Аnd finally jazz can be a business today and someday?

BM: – Most jazz musicians I know do a wide variety of activities. The include writing/arranging, teaching, publishing books and arrangements. This is the recent model for an aspiring jazz musician who wants to make a living.

JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are from half-a-century ago?

BM: – It’s a given that whatever material you play has to be of a high quality. It is also a given that the main body of standards that come from the 40’s thru 60’s stand up to the test of time. The next consideration is the treatment of whatever material you are dealing with. If you develop a concept and sound based on your particular
musical preferences that is honest and well thought out, generally speaking people will respond.

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

BM: – The spiritual component of music is a powerful thing. When you connect with the right musicians and can successfully surrender to the whole, amazing things happen that can only be described as spiritual. When all parties are fluent in the subject matter and can stay out of the way of the unfolding musical journey, it is as if
the people playing are only vessels for the music. When all things connect I feel like it is not me playing, but rather a collective energy that is generated which taps into a power greater than ourselves.

JBN.S: – What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

BM: – I hope music and art can remain an integral part of life everywhere. My fear is that this will not happen as we are distracted by power, greed, and ignorance. I hope that people will some day realize that we are all in this life together, and should find a way to take care of one another.

JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?

BM: – Playing with the Yellowjackets tonight Next is working with the WDR on Monday. After that more writing, practicing, a new Yellowjackets recording, a new big band recording, and more teaching.

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between the blues/jazz and the genres of local folk music and traditional forms?

BM: – I guess you could say blues and jazz are a folk music of sorts.

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

All kinds of music! Also lots of public radio.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

BM: – I play the Eastman 52nd street tenor and soprano saxophones. Great horns! The mouthpiece is a Rafael Navarro “Bebop Special”. I play Ishimore woodsmen reeds strength #4.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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