Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Thomas Lorenzo. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Thomas Lorenzo: – I grew up in Wollongong, NSW, Australia. I actually got into music at around 8 years of age, after the day I saw my brother in action, at a school debate. After the debate, I said to myself: How great it would be to be able to express what I feel in life every morning, but not with words but with music, wow. I got the call, and have never stopped since then.
JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
TL: – Sound is an extension of projecting to others, your musical ideas. My sound is only a consequence of finding the way to get my message across.
So minimum compression, delay and effects. Clarity in articulation. Playing soft so as to be heard loud. Everything I do sounds good on its own. When I play melody you can hear the harmony implied, and also the groove of the tune. When I play the accompaniment, I am always creating a new secondary melodic lines in the background that define rhythm and harmony .
JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?
TL: – A musician must have the most extensive knowledge of harmony possible: diatonic harmony, modal harmony, modal interchange, extended diatonic harmony, etc .
I would also suggest an in depth grasp of arranging skills, so as to understand how to develop a song in a group format: How to turn melody and harmony into meaningful jazz music.
I choose the most appropriate harmony , reharmonization or arranging technique based upon the style and the degree of tension and release, I feel that I need to portray.
I do not have preferred harmonies . I only choose the most adequate to the musical situation.
JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
TL: – Recording at West Lake Studios LA , USA with Alphonso Johnson ( weather report), Bruce Sugar ( Ringo Start) and Walfredo Reyes ( Chicago). The best musical experience I have had up until now. What I found interesting was that best musicians make you feel lonely when you are playing . In other words you have to come alive and share to fill in the space they caress you with.
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?
TL: – Be only yourself, share who you truly are, balance your strengths and weaknesses with the needs of others (your customer )and apply the best marketing practices to your musical enterprise.
JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
TL: – Jazz is a form of expression. The tunes we choose are irrelevant.
JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?
TL: – Develop the Spanish Guitar as a stand alone lyrical instrument, as you may hear in my latest you tube videos.
Continue collaborating internationally with artists who seek elaborate expression and joy in their music. I adore making music come alive through my music production services.
Continue sharing my knowledge with others through my online courses that will be released in the 2018.
Keep on touring and taking my music live through Asia, Europe , North and South America.
JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between jazz and world music, including folk music?
TL: – Jazz is a form of expression. Any song based upon constant improvised musical interaction with others, will be Jazz.
JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
TL: – Everything that I come across by everyday.
JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?
TL: – Electric guitars tend to sound pretty bad without an amplifier adding harmonics to the original sound. I always perform with valve guitar amplifiers to add the warmth, the distortion, the electric guitars do not generate on their own.
In terms of distortion or saturation, I have two-options and sound to choose from:
My fat Mesa Boogies amp sound with a Mesa Boogie 50/50 amplifier of 4 valves and a Studio Pre amp with another 4.
Or the thinner saturation and distortion of the Vox amplifiers.
I always output the amplified sound to a pair a Mesa Boogie Cabinets feeding Celestion speakers built in 1992 . The result is that of fat at tone thats serves well for both lyrical and rhythmic scenarios.
I can also as previously mentioned, add the room sound to the final mix which will produce an extremely unique character.
My personal choice of electric guitars is that of my handcrafted 1989 Paul Reed Smith, with single and coils and Humbucker pickups, my SRV Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster, or my 1982 Ibanez AS 200 with modified 1987 EMG pickups, and EXG tone controls.
In relation to acoustic guitars I choose form the artisan flamenco guitar sounds of Ramirez, Conde and Eduardo Durán. I perform or record with high end condensor microphones as: Schoebs and Neumann.
In terms of session recordings I record guitar tracks with the top of the line Apogee Ensemble Audio Interface. I deliver tracks in the following formats: 44.1 kHz (CD), 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, or 96 kHz sampling frequencies. Delivered tracks are non compressed; are suitable for further digital editing.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan