July 13, 2024


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Interview with Christian Eckert: Everything in life is important: Video

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Christian Eckert. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Christian Eckert: – I grew up in the Frankfurt area with parents active in the student oposition in 1968, so the music of my childhood was stuff like Janis Joplin, Ten Years After, Hendrix and also some Latin stuff. Of course there was a point I wanted to listen to different music then my parents and that was 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?

CHE: – I chose the guitar because a Charles Kosman, a Dutch classical guitarist and friend of my parents gave me a guitar,  then I took lessons with a teacher who was a classical guy, but also interested in Jazz. He gave me a tape a tape with Wes Montgomery Smoking At The Half Note, that really blew my mind. I was really lucky to be part of a music school combo with other kids who were really into jazz, like bassist Johannes Weidenmüller, pianist Anke Helfrich and drummer Felix Astor.

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

CHE: – I moved to the Netherlands to study jazz guitar with teachers like Wim Overgaauw and Hans Voogt and was playing there a lot with fellow students from the strong Dutch jazz scene. An important thing for my development was a scholarship for the New School in New York, where I studied with Jim Hall and had the chance to play, and listen to a lot of good music that was really inspiring. When I came back to the Netherlands my sound and time feel had really changed.

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

CHE: – I love practicing and writing music. I still learn standards and try to combine harmonies and single string improvisation. The guitar is a real abstract instrument and after years of practicing you still get more familiar with the fretboard and things make more sense. I’m not a big fan of learning licks and don’t think there are tricks to make you a better musician … for me music is a part of your life and personality.

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

CHE: – I think standards are a really important part for my harmonic development, but today I’m more into more non functional and a little abstract harmonies. I try to make them sound easy with a strong melodic sense. Melody is something I often miss when I listen to younger musicians, but I think it’s very important to get the interest of the listener.

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

CHE: – Practicing at home is more the intellectual part, playing on stage is the time to fly. I’m not thinking about a balance so much, both are important.

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

CHE: – The nice thing playing live is that it keeps you fresh getting older. The contact with different people and countries keeps you open minded.

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

CHE: – I think the long term collaboration are important for me, because they make the music sound better if you keep them interesting.

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

CHE: – I have young students and also teach at university, you alway get their interest if if you put them in a surrounding where they play standards with other people on stage. But as a teacher you also have to get their interest beyond and make them think about arts, no matter which form.

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

CHE: – Everything in life is important and the result can be heard in the playing. For me my family, food sports and other art forms are important things. I’m also really interested in politics as part of our way of living together and deal with nature.

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

CHE: – I hope to develop myself. My biggest fear are the two big leaders.

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

CHE: – It would be a dream that quality pays of.

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

CHE: – Hhhhm it changes sometimes, but for sure write and play in a different texture. Maybe a duo, or a trio or with a string trio. Sound is everything. But sometimes it’s also interesting if you play a tune over and over, it opens musical doors.

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

CHE: – Oh yes everybody is influenced by folk music and especially for kids it’s important to sing it.

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

CHE: – I’m listening to Gilad Hekselman, Lage Lund and Vinicius Gomes at the moment.

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

CHE: – I’m fine where I am 🙂

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

CHE: – What are your quality features listening to music?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. Mind, not to listen to no high-quality music.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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