Jazz interview with jazz clarinetist and saxophonist Rolf Kühn. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Rolf Kühn: – I grew up in Leipzig, and when I had to go to school in the morning, I heard on the radio German style dance music – and I liked it.
At the same time, I had been interested to try out several musical instruments to find out what would fit best for my self – and of course I wanted to play in a band someday.
JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
RK: – With out soul or without intellect music does not touch people while listening. It does not make any sense top lay music with out soul or without any intellect, the individual balance depends on the type of music and the interpretation.
JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
RK: – Of course, I remember my very first jam session in Leipzig right after the war. Meeting new musicians, playing and exchanging ideas and learning about different styles, phrasing sand techniques was really a new world for me. I think this is one of the most important moments when you start and study music seriously. And them any studio recordings I did in New York City with my own groups, with the Tommy – Dorsey – Orchester and the Urbie-Green-Big band were a wonderful additional waytodevelop.
JBN.S: – Which collaboration have been the most important experiences for you?
RK: – One collaboration had been very important for me: When I got to know Buddy de Franco 1954 in Berlin – we be came friend sand worked to get her on many occasions, recorded and toured together, it was always great fun, he was a wonderful person and up to now one of my heroes.
And, ofcourse, meeting Benny Goodman andplaying in his band fortwoyears, this was onemydreams.
JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
RK: – Don’t worry about young people, I am sure they’ll find out by them selves.
JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
RK: – What ever you do in your life, with out a great a mount of personal spirit – for get about it. Spirit should be the meaning of life.
JBN.S: – What are your expectations of the future? What brings you fear or anxiety?
RK: – My expectations for the future is very simple: I hope I will keep my energy, my personal development in music and never stop learning.
Hope fully, when you stay healthy, the future will be with out any fear.
Just go on with never ending new ideas.
JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
RK: – If I could change one thing in the musical world today, I would love to stop ignorance and prejudice complety.
JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
RK: – I still prefer listening to the very old Blue Note recording sand to the famous Big bands. Coltrane and Art Blakey. Oscar Peterson. Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis. I like Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Michael Bublé, Jacob Collier and Jamie Cullum andandand and … and of course I really like listening to the new generation of young European musicians.
JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
RK: – I would like to make a short trip back to the time when in Manhattan at the end of Forties to see all the fantastical jazz clubs of 52nd Street. When I arrived in New York in 1956, there were only half of them.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan