June 14, 2024

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Interview with Aron Talas: At the end nobody cares about chords and rhythms, just the feel: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Aron Talas. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Aron Talas: – I grew up in Mezőkövesd, a small town in Hungary. My studies have started there with classical piano, recorder and percussion. My interest was always around rhythms. I liked the pieces of Bartók from the first time.

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?

AT: – When I heard jazz for the first time, I was 14 or so. I wanted to be a rock drummer, but I heard Dave Weckl, Joe Morello, Buddy Rich playing, and decided to study jazz. On the theory lessons in conservatory I realized I don’t know anything about chords so I started to learn more piano and it become my main instrument. Though I still play drums, and finished the University MA on both instruments. I had great teachers in the schools, but I think jazz is a lonely thing on one hand, on the other hand the most important things you learn during playing with other people.

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

AT: – During school days there was always that dilemma between “the history” and “having individual style”. Lately I found its much better to just let the things come and just work everytime on something, play around things which are inspiring. Individuality can not be forced.

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

AT: – There are a lot of good exercies, which are coming from existing song/melody fragments, ryhthmic stuff etc. To make own exercises is important also, but the most important thing is to always create something, even if it’s just a warm-up.

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

AT: – I like the lower register on the piano, darker chords. Sometimes I use polytonal chords, but I try to make every chord count within the context.

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

AT: – I’d rather name a few from the past years:

Jimmy Cobb: The Original Mob, Tigran Hamasyan: Mockroot, Brad Mehldau&Joshua Redman: Nearness, Ambrose Akinmusire: A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard.

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

AT: – I think soul is more important. At the end nobody cares about chords and rhythms, just the feel. Of course its important to collect tools, but only the result counts.

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

AT: – At Zinc bar on a tuesday jam Roy Hargrove joined in. I felt I can taste a bit of JAZZ.

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

AT: – Playing with Niels-Petter Molvaer and Eivind Aarset was a great experience. It was 6 years ago, I would definetely do it now in another way.

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

AT: – Good question. Since jazz is not considered as “dance” music, its really tough. Especially with bebop, or modern jazz. Fusion can be an answer, but its controversial too. DJ Tiesto made Adagio for Strings, which is known by hundredmillions, but only a few checked Bach’s piece. Anyway, people need open minds to listen to jazz.

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

AT: – I believe there is a similar thing between artist, athletes, geeks and people who are really into something, a kind of respect. The more you learn, the more you can appreciate the old masters, and their message. For a musician, playing should be a kind of sacred thing and be happy only because of that. The struggle is always there anyway sonehow.

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

AT: – I live in Middle-East Europe, I don’t expect anything haha. My fear is more like a sadness, that most of the people have false pre-image about jazz.

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

AT: – I would “give” the same money to all of the genres in the music industry, and we would wait for the result.

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

AT: – I want to make sooner or later a solo piano album.

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

AT: – Improvisation for sure, lot of rhythms, tonal systems, and the message of course (Blues and folk songs).

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

AT: – Bill Evans, John Scofield, Tom Jobim, Tigran Hamasyan, Brad Mehldau, Vulfpeck, Chet Baker …

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

AT: – I would go back to the 50’s when the hungarian national soccer team was top-class. For real, I  would definetely try the 70’s when a lot of people came to jazz concerts in Hungary. I also would watch the Bill Evans trio with Scott LaFaro in the 60’s …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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