June 25, 2024


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An interview with Michael Schlierf: My slogan is: Where words stop music begins … Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Michael Schlierf. An interview by email in writing.

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

Michael Schlierf: – My parents are both music teacher, so I grew up with classical music and the piano. I also tried trumpet, drums and guitar but came back to the piano. Because of perfect pitch I was able to replay any kind of melody I am listening. This of course was very helpful to find my way into the world of music.

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

MS: – The piano is the instrument where you can do really everything. You can play harmony, melody and groove / rhythm at the same time. I was also impressed from the design of the grand piano – the big black instrument has some magic for me. This is still the same today.

JBN.S: – What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the piano?

MS: – I started with the whole classical program and did some competitions. With about 13 I startet in a Dixieland Band and after I while somebody showed me his Oscar Person records. After this day my whole life changed: I wanted to listen and of course play like Oscar Peterson. So it was very helpful that I got all the classic teachers till I reched my 20th birthday. After that I have been several times in New York and I took some lessons at great musicans like Bill Mays and other guys. In this time it was always important to listen and trancribe music, because this is the essence of the whole thing. If you don’t listen, you can not play. Sheets will never replace this important step of development.

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

MS: – After playing a lot of standards I never stopped listening to all kind of music. All the classical music is a great fountain of inspiration. I also liked the jazz interpretations of modern pop songs. After listening to many hours of Keith Jarret for example I realized, that I was also playing some versions of his vocings. This happens to all kind of great musicans even if they don’t play the piano like Pat Metheny.

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

MS: – All the classical technique is still one of the best practice you can do today. I also rehearsed some scales of course and rhythmic patterns. The most effective way for me was just to play with a cd and tried to follow the music while I was playing along. Another imoirtant thing is to sing the melody or the groove pattern because singing is the most direct control of your understanding. When you are not able to sing a melody or pattern you are not able to play it right. The Singing doesn’t has to be perfect or beautiful but authentic.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?

MS: – In the meantime after re-harmonic every song I come back to the pure and clear sound, where every note fits in the whole tension. Some songs of Herbie Hancock for example are so easy but genius and this excites me.

JBN.S: – What do you love most about your new album: <Land in Sicht>, how it was formed and what you are working on today. Next year your fans like we can wait for a new album?

MS: – Land in Sight was a progress over many years. There is the whole bandwidth in the 19 songs. I also tried some experiments for example the storm or fog, things that will happen on the sailing tor, which is the album “Land in Sight”. For me it takes several years to develop such a personal album Therefor I don’t know, if or when I will release another album.

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?

MS: – Today it’s nearly impossible to live from music. Many musicians teach to get money from. I personally try to be honest in my music and I don’t want to follow any trends or special songs the people are interested. Of course I want to make my audience happy but I have to be happy first in my music and playing. Therefor I don’t play some gigs today where I don’t can play my style of music. In the past there where always people lime Miles Davis who played new ideas, which where not famous at this time. But these revolutions are the main power of music.

JBN.S: – Аnd furthermore, can jazz be a business today or someday?

MS: – Of course. There was never so much Jazz in the world than now.

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

MS: – Jazz is not the standards of last century. Jazz is the most honest kind of music, which reflect the heart of the musician. There is no other style of music which represent the feeling of the player.

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

MS: – My slogan is: Where words stop music begins. Therefor I prefer the instrumental music. This language is international. Everybody understands it. We are humans, made to communicate and the best way to talk is the use music.

JBN.S: – What are your expectations of the future? What brings you fear or anxiety?

MS: – I try to just follow my path of understanding music. I personally have no fear of the future. I just hope, that I can make many people happy when they hear my music. And it’s not important if they are many. Its’ important, that I can touch there hearts and maybe bring light and joy into there lives.

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

MS: – I would like to play more live gigs with my music in the future.

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between jazz and world music, including folk music?

MS: – Well every kind of music is individual but has a spirit in it. So the power of music is similar to every kind of music. And there are always people behind these styles.

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

MS: – I was listening to Johann Sebastian Bach Wohltemperiertes Klavier and I had 5 different pianists where I listen. It’s very interesting how they interpret these very old compositions.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

MS: – I prefer more and more playing on acoustic instruments. My favorite is the fazioli grand piano.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Michael Schlierf jazz


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