May 28, 2024

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Interview with Dave Rempis: Musicians should be compensated for their work, along with other artists: Video

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Dave Rempis. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Dave Rempis: – I grew up in Wellesley Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. I got interested in music, and particularly saxophone, through a family friend of my father, who’s Greek. His friend was an excellent clarinet player in Greek bands around the city, and I used to see him play at weddings and church functions. My brother started playing clarinet also when I was about 7, and I decided I really wanted to play the saxophone, also because for some reason I really liked the saxophone player on the Muppets – Zoot.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the saxophon? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the saxophon?

DR: – Not sure, but I just gravitated towards it very strongly. When my parents rented one for me, I remember opening the case when we got it, a few days before my first lesson, and finding it to be an absolutely magical and mesmerizing object. I was very lucky to have some great teachers as a young person. My first was Angelo Urbani, who mostly played drums as a working musicians around Boston, but also played and primarily taught clarinet and saxophones. Then I worked with a great woodwind player named Mike Monaghan during high school. He taught and performed all over, and was known in the area as one of the great soloists in Herb Pomeroy’s Big Band. In college I studied briefly with Frederick Hemke at Northwestern University, but really didn’t gel with that program, and quickly dropped out of music school to pursue an anthropology degree.

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

DR: – I’m not sure! It just slowly shifts. I play every single day (almost) and listen to other players whom I love. I think that’s how it develops and shifts over time. I’m not a big fan of trying out different gear, etc. I’ve had the same horns since I first bought them (alto, tenor, and baritone) and have only ever changed mouthpieces once on alto. I mostly look to myself to adjust my sound.

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

DR: – I think all musical routines and exercises need to incorporate all the different elements of music making. There are ways to focus in on certain things, but if you spend all afternoon playing something that you only think of as focusing on “rhythm” for example, all of the other elements of music go out the window, and that can be detrimental. Practice makes permanent, not perfect as they say. And it’s important to be considering the best overall “sound” on one’s instrument at all times.

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

DR: – All of them! They all have their purpose at different times, and there are countless approaches to harmony.

JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

DR: – For me, intellect is something I try to develop offstage, so that I can let myself be in the moment as an improviser when I’m onstage.  That’s hopefully where soul comes in and takes over.

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

DR: – I’ve been a professional musician for 20 years. I wouldn’t know where to begin! There are so many.

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

DR: – All of them – each and every experience working with other musicians sheds further light on the various approaches and possibilities that are out there. Even a first time collaboration can shed just as much light as working with someone I’ve been playing with for 20 years. Each and every experience is totally unique, and has to be taken as such.

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

DR: – Stop playing the “standard” tunes and write your own music. That’s not something new in jazz. Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Julius Hemphill, etc. The list goes on and on.  If you’re not performing your own music, you’re not respecting the reality of the so-called “tradition.”

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

DR: – This might require a book to answer this one!

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

DR: – As a travelling musician, bedbugs and car accidents cause anxiety and fear. And the fact that computers and cars no longer have cd players!

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

DR: – Musicians should be compensated for their work, along with other artists. It actually has value for our society. A friend pointed out recently that people are willing to pay $2 for a small bottle of water that flows freely from the tap in most countries. And yet they won’t pay for music.

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

DR: – I don’t know! We’ll have to see where things go. I’m not big on creating long-term plans. I feel as though doing that can be helpful but also can keep you from participating in the opportunities that present themselves. As an improviser I like to keep my options open.

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

DR: – There are similarities on a fundamental level between all kinds of music. That said, the term “world music” is incredibly dated, and inherently non-sensical. Any music performed on planet Earth would have to be considered “world music” which makes the modifier “world” truly useless. Jazz, like all other music, is therefore “world music”.

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

DR: – More than anything, I find that I continue to buy folk musics from around the world.

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

DR: – Really wouldn’t matter to me! A friend of mine once said that he could move somewhere else, but he’d be taking himself with him. I think the same is true in this case.  Every time and place have interesting things about them to discover. Spin the dial and let’s go!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Dave Rempis

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