February 28, 2024

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Interview with Barry Greene: I remember the bad ones more than the good! Video

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist​ Barry Greene. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Barry Greene: – I grew up in North Bergen New Jersey. I had a friend who began to learn Beatles tunes on the guitar. I was hooked at that moment 🙂

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

BG: – I had a teacher in my Junior Year of High School named Russell DeFilippis. He had gone to Berklee and set me on a path to get there myself. Once I had direction all I needed was drive. Eventually I became my best teacher. I recognized my weaknesses and worked very hard to overcome them. For about 4-5 years I put close to 8 hours a day practicing and playing with musicians better than me.

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

BG: – I grew up in the 70’s and loved rock guitar players like Jimmy Page, and Van Halen. Once I was introduced to jazz I went for the Mike Stern/ Scofield sound. Overtime I just wanted a pure guitar sound, that’s how I play 90% of the time. I tried to mimic my heroes like Martino, Benson, Wes and Joe Pass. I love each of their sounds.

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

BG: – I always play with drumgenius or a metronome. I also try to play with people who have great time! I still practice scales every day although most of my time is devoted to working on a different tune each day.

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

BG: – I still love playing standards but love music by Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. If a tune has a good melody I’ll probably enjoy playing it. I do love all of the modern guys but I don’t often play odd metered music.

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

BG: – It depends on what you’re doing. When I’m practicing and working on a concept or harmonization, I’m relying on my intellect more than intuition. I don’t mean to say that’s it’s purely clinical but a lot of the generation of ideas comes from applying specific methods to my practice. When playing, it’s the opposite. I rarely if ever think about anything and just listen to what I’m hearing and reacting to input from fellow musicians. This by the way is the biggest challenge for struggling improvisers. Many find it difficult to rely solely on intuition.

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

BG: – I remember the bad ones more than the good! This is a story I tell all the time, it was a life changing event, and I think it could help your readers. I grew up only 10 minutes from New York so it was routine to drive into the city and go to jam sessions. I was in my early 20’s and feeling overly confident about my playing:) I was called up and asked what tune I would like to play. I said Autumn Leaves. The only problem was is that they played it in G minor. I only knew the real book key of E minor! I couldn’t do it and the band leader told me to lay out. From that day, I understood the importance of being able to play tunes in all keys and that developing my ear needed to be a priority.

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?

BG: – It’s cliche but be true to yourself. Follow the path that feels right to you and more than anything be the best at what you do. I’m not a saying you’ll ever ​BE​ the best, but your mindset must reflect nothing less. Success will come your way with that attitude. It might not be in the exact way you imagined, but excellence has a way of attracting people from all walks of life.

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

BG: – I don’t think jazz can be a business unless you are at the top of the list of players. Teaching, writing, composing, all aspects of being a musician are important in order to make a living as a jazz musician.

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

BG: – Regardless of how old the tunes are, young people get excited and out the idea of creating music on the spot. I agree that the tunes and lyrics don’t connect with young people but the creative aspect of the music can be addressed on music written today or 100 years ago. Kids must have to be exposed to it an early impressionable age.

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

BG: – When in the most creative state of improvising you do feel as though you are communicating on a much deeper level than ordinary language. There is a spiritual aspect to it for me although it’s not religious. There becomes a oneness to everything when you are communicating solely with a musical instrument. I get close most of the time but only rarely feel that I communicated everything that I wanted.

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

BG: – As a 56 year old man, I don’t have many concerns other than staying healthy. I have a full time position at the University of North Florida that affords me a tremendous feeling of stability as well as providing me with a happy retirement. My video lessons are also doing well and I plan to continue to play gigs, record and keep the site going until I’m no longer able to create new content.

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

BG: – I wish there was a greater understanding and appreciation for improvised music. Although I love technology, and employee it in my work every single day, I think young people are not getting exposed to truly creative music which makes it hard for creative musicians to have an audience and prosper. Again, I think jazz should be taught in schools particularly since it is one of America’s greatest treasures.

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

BG: – I’m not sure, I’ll continue to write and perform. I love playing this new GA-35 guitar from Benedetto guitars. It has a different sound and feel that I’m enjoying very much. I’d like to do more traveling, and have always wanted to get on the European jazz festival circuit.

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

BG: – Yes. Both are born from the cultural realities of the time. It was not born by luck or programmed on a computer, jazz truly is the music of the struggle of the black man in America at the turn of the last century. It’s a powerful music that has now been adopted by the world. It’s incredible to hear all of the amazing talent that can be heard on YouTube from the most unlikely sources. Very inspiring.

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

BG: – I have different satellite stations that I listen to that feature jazz, R&B, classical and pop. I listen to everything and have learned from all of it.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

BG: – I have two benedetto guitars and two benedetto amps. I also use an Acoustic Image setup with a Raezors Edge Cabinet. The guitars are strung with thomastik 13’s and 12’s. The guitars are the Bravo and GA-35. I’m very happy with the sound of both!

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

BG: – I would love to be able to speak to Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Wes Montgomery. These musicians changed the course of jazz music and I would love to get personal insight as to their inspiration and vision.

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

BG: – I would just like to say thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions. I wish you and your readers the very best of everything​.

JBN.S: – Thanks so much for answers!!!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Barry Greene

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