May 27, 2024

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Interview with Linley Hamilton: You need intellect to articulate but you need soul to reach people: Video

Linley Hamilton

Jazz interview with jazz trumpeter Linley Hamilton. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Linley Hamilton: – I grew up near Belfast and played in a brass band but got an opportunity to play Dixieland and New Orleans jazz when I was quite young. When I was about 21 years old I got into the Irish Youth Jazz Orchestra and that got me into listening and playing a modern form of jazz, and from then I was hooked.

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 your musical instrument?

LH: – I was given it at school when I was about 9 years old and had some significant teachers over the years. My early development was made possible by two key teachers…Trevor England who was an inspirational theory teacher and John Trotter who mentored me on gigs. Bobby Lamb, Trombone and former Woody Herman Herd musician, became conductor of the youth jazz orchestra and he helped develop all my concepts of time and harmony.

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

LH: – The first thing was to develop a sound in my head from listening to my favourite players…Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Woody Shaw. I listened incessantly and tried to develop an embouchure that allowed the air through fast which gave me the option of power, but also by developing techniques which allowed me to make my sound at low volume with some unvibrated air. Controlling and developing this technique, and being open to using articulations that were available for all of jazz history, has helped me develop my sound.

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

LH: – I like to develop exercises for triad pairs, but fitting them into musical sentences. I try to practice different ways of constructing musical sentences, using stanzas of different length, and multisyllabic phrases – equating it to clauses with commas and full stops. It helps me to smooth out my phrasing but also to have a narrative to my solos so that it feels like I am playing a story…using motives and developing rhythmic and harmonic ideas as I go.

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

LH: – I love practicing patterns and most diminished harmonic activities I find these helpful in opening new pathways for improvisation, but I have worked hard at internalising my improvisations, so I am responding to the music in a natural way and not thinking too hard about what harmonic devices I am going to use,  but confident that those harmonic devices are present in the language of my improvisations…such as altered harmonic or Lydian choices.

JBN.S: – What do you love most about your new album 2018: <Making Other Arrangements (feat. Cian Boylan & The Camden Orchestra)>, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

LH: – I love the fact that most of the people I work with on it are either close friends or people I admire. Brendan Doyle is both…Guy Rickarby someone I have known for years, the ultimate professional, Dave Redmond, the funniest and most sincere guy I know…quite a combination. Cian, well, I’m really lucky to have met him. He’s a genius but one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He listens to and loves all genres of music and is open to any ideas. He is smart and caring and takes care of business. I have entrusted him with a huge role in this album, making arrangements out of my ideas and translating my heart into the arrangements – he also coordinated the musicians. He is amazing and made this all possible. The secret weapon is Conor Brady – engineer and producer and an amazing understanding of people and personalities – a magical contribution. It’s all about playing it live now with the full band and we are just about to make that happen!

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

LH: – Julian Wasserfuhr and Anders Bergrantz both put out wonderful albums in 2017 – they are my favourite trumpet players in the world today. Also, Lianne Carroll – wonderful musicians!

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

LH: – I think music is about communication – you need intellect to articulate but you need soul to reach people – the soul wins.

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

LH: – Too many to mention – just the many occasions when you spiritually connect with other musicians for the greater good – no competition, just mutual respect with the music the end goal. Audiences can see when this happens and they feel part of the gig – perfect!

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

LH: – Working with Cian is something I will definitely do again. I have a band I play regularly with in Belfast with Steve Davis drums and Kyron Bourke on piano and vocals –  it’s a hugely musical experience and has had a big effect on my musical approach in recent years helping me to refocus on the melody again and helped me to search for melodic pathways in my improvisations.

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

LH: – Help them to fall in love with the music –  expose them to great recordings, introduce them to live players and live playing situations and encourage them to create their own personal relationship with the music and facilitate them and support them when they choose to follow their own path, which is of course valid!

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

LH: – Yes, it is a language and we can communicate using it. Musicians who show the most compassion and empathy for the people they play with and the people they play for, make the biggest connection with their music. I guess that is spirituality – it is certainly humanity.

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

LH: – No real expectations – just hoping to be healthy enough to keep making my music and playing with other people for other people and sharing in the communion that brings us all together.

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

LH: – I would try and delete the negativity that some people bring to the party through their fears and insecurities. Maybe the first thing to do is to help reassure these people that everyone has a right to play and listen, that we can’t all be superstars but we can all share in the love that the music creates.

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

LH: – Not sure yet. There is still so much to do with this record – touring, broadcasts…I am a university lecturer so all the solos I play on it need transcribed and analysed for research – that should keep me busy for a while.

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

LH: – Yes – it’s a language so phrasing, vocabulary, musical grammars are all available –  the great communicators can beat the language differences and get the stories out.

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

LH: – Julian Wasserfuhr, Cassandra Wilson, Anders Bercrantz, Nils Landgren, Lianne Carroll, Brad Mehldau, Sachal Vassandani, that’s a few anyway…

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

LH: – I am happy here … but if I could visit safely for one day and return it would be a few hundred years into the future to see what the next generations have dome with the gifts we have left them – how much of our developments they have kept, what new innovations they have created – anything good I would bring back and share.

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

LH: – First I want to say that I have found the questions very challenging but also they have helped me to think about what I do in a different way. My question to you is…What do you think jazz musicians can do to disseminate their learning and make the world a better place?

Thank you Simon … you’re special.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Linley Hamilton

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