May 24, 2024

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Interview with Amr Hammour: Music will be a major way to control a person behavior … Videos

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist, composer, educator Amr Hammour. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Amr Hammour: – I grew up between the middle east and Europe (Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turky), traveling in between (I have both Syrian and Serbian nationalities). Watching and listening to my dad playing music with his own band back in the 80’s was something made me interested in learning music. I grew up with 60’s and 70’s music as well as Jazz.

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

AH: – When I was around 8 years old, dad tried to teach me the guitar  but I refused, after that I was jealous of him teaching my sister so I asked him to teach me but he refused, in that point on I was determined to learn so I started taking piano lessons when one of his friends. Then I started taking the guitar and acted  like playing so dad saw my determination, so he started teaching me chords and basic exercises. At the age of 16 I heard for the first time the record Question and answer by Pat Metheny and I was blown by the sound and the phrases he was playing, since that time I knew Jazz Guitar is the sound I want. Actually most of my teachers was the records I listened to!

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

AH: – My personal life experience had a great effect on developing my sound, I always felt the need of moving to the next step, actually till now I still do that. eventually on each step I was either transcribing an improvisation or analyzing a compositions or even experimenting by changing guitars, effects and Amps. The conclusion would be a composition describing the moment I was living.

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

AH: – The main exercise is a psychological one, which is based on having a target and after reaching it, just inventing the next one (nonstop Targets).

The Idea of having these targets is what made me practice every day in order to reach each level of this mind game.

If we are talking specifically about rhythm then I would say a metronome is a great friend of a musician but in some point it will be dangerous, because it’s not a human actually the perfection that produces is not organic so as much as I used metronome I was trying to just play freely in order to feel the rhythm from nature.

Because of my family route I grew up listening to odd rhythms and I find quit interesting to practice and get them involved in my compositions.

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

AH: – No preferable patterns, I simply enjoy what the moment is producing.

JBN.S: – What do you love most about your new album 2018: <Eight Moments>, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

AH: – The most that I love is how it was formed actually. each moments of my life and the challenges is being translated into this record, each stage is showing the development of my personality as a composer and guitarist as well as the personal life.

The other thing that I love is the collaboration that I did with all the musicians who performed these songs in live performances before the recording, this gave me a lot of inspiration, combining other people experiences.

I am working on two deferent projects. One is an Oriental Jazz album and the other will be a smooth jazz project.

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

AH: – Both of them has the same importance! sometimes in a certain period one of them should be dominating but eventually Karma will turn around.

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

AH: – I was performing with Saxophonist ( Charles Davis ) that was in 2009, I remember asking him about the way he approaches Bebop improvisation and he simply answered me, I don’t know what I do I just improvise!

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

AH: – Performing with Saxophonist (Charles Davis).

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

AH: – Reaching them won’t be easy these days! The media is controlling their brains. I think we should find a compromise. Rearranging new hits in an interesting way and posting it on social media and get them to view it, would be the best. From this point the musician job will be composing in a compromised way.

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

AH: – Music is frequencies which is organized and combined together according to each and every period of time. Each Musical generation has their own collection of frequencies which is related to their experiences in life.

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

AH: – Music will be a major way to control a person behavior, which we already noticing with recent focus on music therapy and (Media) . The fear will be, for what it’s going to be used?

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

AH: – Nothing! Because each period should just pass and the new one is coming.

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

AH: – Music doesn’t have a frontier for me.

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

AH: – All music styles are related to each other, but Jazz, world and Folk has the same concept from the sense of improvisation and sometimes forms.

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

AH: – I listen to anything that feels good at the right moment.

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

AH: – I would like to stay where I am, but if it doesn’t hurt then I would like to go back a couple of thousands years and check how music was.

JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

AH: – Do you like these questions and why?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. Of course we like, we created questions that, in your opinion, makes jazz and blues musicians possible for a to share his views and mind.

AH: – It’s my an honor to be interviewed by you Simon and answering your great questions was inspiring, they gave me new ideas even rethinking some ideas I had. Best of luck; Amr Hammour;

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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