May 19, 2024

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Interview with François Bourassa: The language of jazz can be understood and appreciated almost everywhere: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist François Bourassa. An interview by email in writing. 

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

François Bourassa: – I grew up in Montreal, playing classical piano when I was young, then rock guitar when I was a teenager.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the your musical instrument?

FB: – My Mom at the very beginning played classical piano.

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

FB: – In jazz I was mainly self-taught, I had won the JazzFest prize in Montréal and made my first trio album in 85 before I went to New England Conservatory. There Fred Hersch and George Russell influenced me..among other teachers.

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

FB: – I developed by listening to a lot of music and by practicing a lot.

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

FB: – A mix of everything – transcribing solos, and classical exercises.

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

FB: – More abstract harmonies close to modern classical.

JBN.S: – Which are the best jazz albums for you this 2017 year?

FB: – Craig Taiborn’s, Marc Copland’s. I can say that I think the music is personal, away from clichés and it is passionate.

JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

FB: – Gigs: Our launch of Number 9 at the Montreal Off Festival de Jazz last October 11th was really inspiring for us, and when we play festivals we love it.

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?

FB: – I would say to make sure you work hard, but also find time to have fun also. Note that it is difficult in many fields, not just music. Be kind to people, and remember it is a way of communicating.

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

FB: – Jazz is an artform around which there is business, the same as many artforms.

JBN.S: – Which collaboration have been the most important experiences for you?

FB: – I have had many many fruitful collaborations, but I love playing with my band the most.

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

FB: – Some are 100 years old. Or older. Some are just a few years old. It can be a personal choice, but everyone should know a few ‘standards’: there are enough that people can make their choices personal.

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

FB: – Music should be inspired by the purest intentions.

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

FB: – I want to continue to play as much as possible, trying not to worry too much about the future: if you worry, you suffer twice.

JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

FB: – There would be lots more paying gigs!

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

FB: – A solo album.

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

FB: – Any music that uses improvisation can have similarities to jazz; jazz has been called America’s world music but now belongs to the world. The language of jazz can be understood and appreciated almost everywhere. 

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

FB: – A continued wide variety from avant garde classical to chanson and beyond.

JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

FB: – Hear Lester Young back in the day.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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