July 13, 2024


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Interview with Denis Gäbel: Jazz needs work: Video

Jazz interview with a bad musician, as if saxophonist Denis Gäbel. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Denis Gäbel: – I grew up in a small town in the west of Germany. My family was all about music. I started playing Cello the age of 6. About the same time my mother played me an Elvis Presley album, that really hit me. I couldn’t stop dancing and faking English.

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?

DG: – We were four boys and our parents enjoyed watching us trying out all kinds of instruments. When I was 11 my mother lend me her own soprano sax and that felt pretty natural. I was lucky to have a great local teacher, Richard Bracht, who was a very positive and inspiring person, who invited me on stage with his band when I could only play a bunch of pentatonic scales. These were very joyfull experiences. Beyond that, there was a nice Jazz Exchange Program between my city and schools in California and Texas. The two most inspiring persons I met there were Tim Ishii (saxophone instructor and director of JazzStudies in Arllington) and Gary Pratt, a great teacher and musician form the Los Angeles area.

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

DG: – A lot of long tones and listening to great players and trying to imitate there sound.

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

DG: – In these times I like to make up my own technical exercises which always have a link to the music. I like to do things pretty organized first f.ex. playing groups of five, and then later try two make it sound more natural and intuitive. I recently worked on a Joe Henderson Solo and I’m trying to get a small piece of his time and flow.

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

DG: – I’m trying to get more and more freedom on playing over changes, playing really clear or going outside and bringing it back.  It’s a neverending challenge. I’m also working on playing something like random and but strong lines on modal music.

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

DG: – I love Tim Armacost’s album “Time Being”. It has a great flow and strength. A true jazz album to my taste. I also enjoyed listening to Ben Wendel’s “What we bring”.

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

DG: – I was reading about a very nice definition about the word “intuitive”. It said to work on things so much that they become an intuitive part of your playing. That’s what I like to do. Jazz needs work but it’s great to not hear it too much.

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?

DG: – The good thing about Jazz is that it gives you joy just working on it. Small club gigs or even a good practice-day can bring the greatest fulfilling moments. To me it is very much fun to work on my stuff. Of course everybody is looking for recognition, but if you don’t get it big time, it shouldn’t stop anyone from working on their thing. Sometimes finally playing one great chorus on a tune can mean a lot to yourself.

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

DG: – No big business for sure. Certain Jazz-Styles will never be for a big crowd and that’s ok. I myself always prefer listening to Jazz in a club like the Village Vanguard rather that a big Concert Hall. Of course there are many ways in jazz and some do attract more people. I guess it’s nice to fish in a few waters.

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

DG: – You have to just love it when you hear it. As a child you choose naturally what you like. I’m sure all over the world there a young people around that listen up when they hear Charlie Parker on the radio. Others will skip the station. It’s important to feed the first ones with more Jazz.

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

DG: – I’m not a religious person at all. I believe it’s important to find your place in the world, in your society and that people inspire each other in real life.

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

DG: – Hopefully I can be part of many great musical projects and be able to practice and play the tenor saxophone. To not be able to do that for any reason that I can not influence is something that I worry about sometimes.

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

DG: – Stevie Wonder should decide to do a club tour in Europe.

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

DG: – Joe Henderson, Charles Lloyd, Chris Potter, John Coltrane, the opera singer Giuseppe di Stefano, Joey Calderazzo Trio, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington and his Orchestra.

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

DG: – I found a very nice early Selmer Super “Balanced” Action that works great with a mouthpiece handmade by Ron Coelho (RPC).

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

DG: – To see Duke Ellington’s Orchestra in the late 50ies somewhere. On record it’s already such a complete Jazz experience and I’m sure seeing that live will be the thrill. Maybe John Coltrane Quartet afterhours.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Denis Gäbel

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