June 13, 2024


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Interview with one of the Grammy award nominee Antonio Sánchez: Though I have other 5 Grammys this is the first nomination under my own name: Video

Jazz interview with one of the Grammy award nominee, jazz drummer Antonio Sánchez. An interview by email in writing.

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

Antonio Sánchez: – I grew up in Mexico City. My mother Susana has always been an avid music fan so she got me listening to all kinds of great music but specially rock and roll.

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

AS: – A friend of the family had a drum set that I saw for the first time when I was 5. The sight of the instrument was so beautiful that I immediately felt attracted to it. Then I heard the sound of it and was hooked for life.

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

AS: – The friend of the family that I was talking about was my first teacher. His name is Fito Navas. He was into rock and jazz so I had a little bit of both worlds. I used to play along to records all the time and later I went to the conservatory where I studied classical piano for almost 5 years before moving to Boston to go to Berklee College of music. That’s where I really picked up on my drum education and polishing my jazz chops.

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

AS: – I was a rock drummer first but I always like improvising, then discovered fusion and Latin jazz and eventually moved to more pure improvisational jazz and bebop.

My sound evolved from checking out different styles of music and contrasting drummers but my skins developed mostly from playing with really great musicians who expected me to perform at a very high level.

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

AS: – I don’t have much time to practice nowadays. I travel too much and I’m constantly writing music for my projects, film and tv so I keep my chops well oiled by performing a lot live.

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

AS: – I don’t stick to anything in particular when it comes to composition or harmony. I try take each new tune as a completely new adventure.

Image result for Antonio Sánchez Bad Hombre

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

AS: – I like that it’s completely different from anything I’ve done or anything I’ve heard. The juxtaposition of acoustic drums with a completely electronic backdrop is not something you hear everyday.

In terms of other projects, I’m releasing a big band record of my music arranged by the great Vince Mendoza with the WDR Big Band from Cologne. Vince did an amazing job and I love how he can make a big band almost sound like a symphonic orchestra. His arranging skills are just incredible.

Later in the year I will be releasing another album with my band Migration and a co-led project with David Binney of mostly electroacoustic improvisations.

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JBN.S: – You were nominated at the Grammy Awards: Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, how do you assess your potential?

AS: – I have no idea. Obviously I hope I will win this time because even though I have other 5 Grammys this is the first nomination under my own name. This one is extra special because I did everything on the album: production, performance, arranging, composing and engineering so obviously it’s very personal.

JBN.S: – We wish you every success and will follow you, however do you think that Grammys are purely musical or political overtones?

AS: – I think it’s a little bit of both. Sometimes it’s very obvious that the politics overshadow the music but sometimes they get it right too.

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?

AS: – Sometimes it takes a long time to start feeling like you’re getting ahead in your career but you have to play the long game and keep doing what you do regardless of the level of success that you might thing you should achieve at a certain point in your life. We do music because we love it. We all want to be successful but the satisfaction of making music and feeding your soul through that satisfaction is more important than to have financial success and feeling unhappy at the same time.

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

AS: – It is a business. Sometimes it’s difficult and sometimes it’s easy. It fluctuates a lot depending on what’s going on with the world economy and politics unfortunately but you can make a decent living with jazz if you’re lucky, hardworking and talented.

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

AS: – Musicians have to incorporate new and “younger” sounds that attract younger crowds. We have to invest in our future audience.

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

AS: – That’s a complex question that I’m not qualified to answer. I love music but our spirit goes beyond that. Music can be very spiritual, but can be very banal as well so that’s why it’s complicated…

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

AS: – I just hope I can keep doing what I do and feeling good spiritually and physically. Getting old and not being able to perform at a high level gives me fear of course. The current political situation also gives me anxiety but making music is a great cure for it.

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

AS: – Keep researching new sounds and possibilities.

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

AS: – Of course. Everything is intertwined.

You can make jazz feel folky or folk feel jazzy. The combinations are endless.

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

AS: – Radiohead, Hiatus Kaiyote, Bjork, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Sonny Rollins, Sigur Ros, Beck, Bibio and many others.

JBN.S: – And if you want, you can congratulate jazz and blues listeners on Christmas and Happy New Year.

AS: – I wish all the readers a great 2018 full of great music.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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