May 24, 2024

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An interview with Iiro Rantala: Most of the time, there’s nothing new that pleases me … Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Iiro Rantala. An interview by email in writing.

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

Iiro Rantala: – I grew up in Helsinki. My mother and father had a bicycle shop. My mother heard I could sing, so she took me to choire audition. It was Cantores Minores, very well known Finnish boy’s choire. I got in at age of 6, and a year later I was already touring Europe with them. Singing Bach. As a soprano.

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

IR: – My first intrest actually was the piano part of Johannes-Passion and Messe in b-minor. Soon I was the choire’s rehearsal pianist.
Then I just moved on to other styles.

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

IR: – I think piano chose me. I had few teachers during my years on 10-18 but I really think that doing music professionally from early on, is the best teacher I’ve ever had. I always had a big appetite to perform, so I’ve been doing gigs since I was 7. That has really taught me everything I know.

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

IR: – Playing Mozart Piano concertos have developed my sound. You need a clear tone, not too loud but clear and beautiful. I have learned a lot listening how Keith Jarret plays the melody lines in standards. Also Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, fantastic frasing….

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

IR: – I’ve also listened a lot of Richard Tee and Chick Corea. Both rythmically very strong players. I have always been very strict on the rythm issues. I put a lot of emphasis on the rythm.

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

IR: – I cant answer this. I dont think music through harmonics or patterns. To me composing is very simple: You either have an new musical idea or You dont. Most of the time, there’s nothing new that pleases me. But sometimes I find some new sounding think. Then I start to develope it into a composition. Sometime it goes fast, sometimes I have to think week after a week.

Картинки по запросу Iiro Rantala & Ulf Wakenius - Good Stuff

JBN.S: – What do you love most about your new album 2017 with Ulf Wakenius: <Good Stuff>, how it was formed and what you are working on today. Next year your fans like we can wait for a new album?

IR: – I like Ulf’s new tune Vienna. It’s a really great composition.

Next year…. I dont know yet.

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?

IR: – Dont be boring. People dont want to get bored in a music concert. Make it fun and focus on reaching communication with the audience. Not just among the band.

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

IR: – Yes, it can and it already is. But not for too many people, unfortunately.

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

IR: – It’s not about the tunes. We need new, talented, amazing artists who are not boring and make jazz sexy again.

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

IR: – Music is the meaning of my life. I dont need any other spirit than that.

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

IR: – I really try to live in this moment, I really am learning that now.

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

IR: – Duo gigs with Ulf Wakenius.

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

IR: – Folk music I dont know. But classical and jazz world’s can be very similar, at least for me. Last April I did a concert with the Kammerfilharmonie Bremen, playing my music and Mozart concerto.
Working with them didn’t feel so different than being in a jazz group. I hope this concert will be my next ACT release.

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

IR: – Verdi, Mozart and Donizetti.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

IR: – Solo piano and piano&guitar duo with Ulf.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Iiro Rantala

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