May 23, 2024

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Interview with Tyler Reese: Just like jazz is improvisation, life is improvisation: Video

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Tyler Reese. An interview by email in writing.

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

Tyler Reese: – I grew up in Fredericksburg, VA, outside of DC. My grandmother started teaching me piano when I was just a toddler, so music was essentially a part of my life from the beginning. From that point on I always loved listening to and playing music. I picked up the guitar at 12 years old, and was hardly able to ever put it down, which is when I decided that music was my path.

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

TR: – A guitar teacher of mine, Lane Drum got me interested in jazz when I was about 15 years old. Up until that point, all I wanted to play was rock and metal. He showed me many great jazz guitar players I had never heard of from the likes of Joe Pass to Wes Montgomery as well as jazz-fusion players such as Frank Gambale and Allan Holdsworth. Those players inspired me so much, that despite me being a metal head at the time, I learned to diversify myself through my practicing, and ended up taking a much bigger liking to jazz.

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

TR: – The above-mentioned teacher, Lane Drum was a big inspiration to me throughout high school. Also teachers I studied with a Berklee College Of Music, such as Julien Kasper, Jeff Lockhart, Dave ‘Fuze’ Fiuczynski, and David Gilmore were all big influences on me as both a player and person. I chose Jazz, because Jazz encompasses many different genres, and it is solely based on improvisation.

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

TR: – I was influenced by a wide variety of genres, which has a lot to do with how my sound has developed. Also, the experiences of being on different gigs calls for different styles and approaches to playing the guitar, which that alone has been a major factor.

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

TR: – When it comes to rhythm and time feel in general, a great method of practice would be to turn on a metronome or even a drum loop and play simple rhythm guitar riffs, focusing solely on the time feel and locking in as much as humanly possible. Also, on gigs, I’ve found a great way to maintain great rhythm is to try and lock in with the bass player and drummer, whether its listening to the kick drum or the backbeat. If you’re complimenting the groove, you’re definitely complimenting the music as a whole.

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

TR: – That entirely depends on the song being played and what it is calling for. Generally, if it’s appropriate for the music I prefer something in-between jazz and soul, as those harmonic voicing’s are very tasteful to my ear.

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?

TR: – Be on time, be prepared, and be chill. Being a great player helps, but those three things alone will get anyone plenty of mileage in the business.

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

TR: – Maybe not straight ahead jazz, but I do believe jazz is a business today through other forms of music; funk, r&b/soul, and even progressive music show plenty of jazz influence.

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

TR: – Present those old standards in a new way. New arrangement, add a more hip groove, re-harmonize the chords etc. I don’t think jazz standards by themselves in their original feel have much relevance in the real world these days other than music school and cocktail parties.

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

TR: – My perspective is this; in life, circumstances happen on their own, and we as humans are forced to improvise. We have so much happening in our lives that we don’t always have time to prepare when certain circumstances arise. Just like jazz is improvisation, life is improvisation.

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

TR: – I don’t have many expectations other than to keep doing what I’m doing. As long as I’m able to play music, things aren’t so bad in the end. What happens happens.

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

TR: – I would say mainly to continue gigging, and do more of it than I am currently doing. Other than playing music in general, I hope to find the inspiration to write another album’s worth of material.

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

TR: – There can be similarities between jazz and world music. Just listen to the Pat Metheny Group albums; there are influences from both sides of those spectrums. Folk music, in my opinion doesn’t have quite as many similarities generally speaking, but of course that is entirely up to the composer of the music.

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

TR: – I’m always listening to different music. Recently I’ve really enjoyed Gospel music. Sometimes I find myself listening to progressive rock music such as Dream Theater. Sometimes I’ll listen to John Coltrane records. It really depends on the mood I’m in.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

TR: – My current live setup is a Roland Blues Cube Artist 1×12 combo amp going into my pedal board. On my pedal board I have a Boss chromatic tuner, Xotic SP compressor, Boss Chorus, Holy Grail Reverb, Memory Man delay, RC Booster, Zen Drive, and a volume pedal. My current guitar is a Paul Reed Smith McCarty.

Happy New Year !!!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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