May 24, 2024

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Interview with Tom Bourgeois: Music is the big point of a musician life: Video

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist, clarinettist Tom Bourgeois. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Tom Bourgeois: – I grew up in a little town near Lyon (France). My father is a sound engineer and  my mother is giving drama lessons to kids. As a child I was in a artistic environment, a lot of concerts, art shows and many of my parents friends are artist.  So naturally, I started music,  but my parents never pushed me to do music or in this direction.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in learning your musical instrument? Which teacher or teachers had helped you to progress to the level of playing that you have today? What made you choose your musical instrument?

TB: – When I was 4, I was already very interested in saxophone, I saw a man playing “The Pink Panther” and that made me want to start to play the saxophone. But I had to wait because you need to develop your permanent teeth to start playing the saxophone, so I started at the age of 8.

Between  15 and 18 I had had very passionate teacher. I was not really practising during that period, but his passion of jazz inspired me greatly. I was working a little bit but mostly I was just listening to a lot of jazz music. Finally, after high school, I immediately started to study at the Conservatory in Lyon.

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

TB: – I can remember a lesson with the same teacher, I was 16, he told me that my sound was really great this time and   he asked me if practised during the holiday or if I change my reeds, or even my mouthpiece. I just answered that I didn’t practise at all. It’s maybe not a good example for “young cats” starting jazz, but the point about the sound is : it comes very naturally. Just listen to jazz a lot, practise and it will come. For me that was all !

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

TB: – I practise really “simple” exercices, the point is to try to play on the all range of the saxophone or clarinet. Triads or simple motifs or scales for example.

I also practise Bach pieces on bass clarinette.

My practise is also linked to the bands I’m playing with. Sometimes it’s very rhythmical , sometimes more traditional (learning standards). If I have enough time, I like to transcribe solos of saxophonist, whose work inspire me.

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

TB: – Triads, mixed triads. For composition , it’s mixing contemporary concept’s and “simple” melodies.

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

TB: – Miles Davis, Kind of Blue  😉 I love “Nouvelle vague” Stephane Kerecki.

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

TB: – It’s like yin and yang, you need both, one is feeding the other one and so on . Not only opposite,but complementary.

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

TB: – I like to record an album, it’s a very special moment. You focus only on music, everything is possible, but at the same time you always reach your limits at a certain point. You always have some surprises ( good or bad). Sometimes you expect something and an other unexpected idea/event arrives.

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

TB: – All. Having teachers, musicians, friends around you to inspire you.  One of the best experience for me is to bring composition / composition to a band, and see how every musician is bringing alive something written on a piece of paper, how the band is gonna go further to the composition, and how an idea, which was only from one person becomes something collective .

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

TB: – Continue to play those old songs, and at the same time stay open to create news things. It’s not because it’s an old song that’s is good or interesting, or bad and boring. The point is to give the feeling/spirit of that music to young people. Try to show them the richness of jazz, the mix between a lot of cultures, and show that we can still today play some good music called “Jazz” (standards or contemporary compositions).

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

TB: – Music is  the big point of a musician life. A life dedicated to music. Follow what you want to express, try to give something to music, but at the same point accept that’s there’s a lot of different point of vues, different kinds of music.

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

TB: – Not having enough time to write and play every music I want to do in my short life 😉

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

TB: – Change the power of big multinational company of music . There’s so many good music we’ll never listen to just because we live a world were your song need to be 3min30 for radio . I would like to make people more curios of the unexpected , or more open to new stuff.

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

TB: – The next frontier is to have enough money to do a next album. I have a lot of compositions and ideas I want to record . Maybe with an ensemble of 10 musicians, also write more piano pieces, continue to write for movies . I’m also very into “Renaissance” music for now . Maybe the next frontier will be to make something between jazz and renaissance concepts.

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

TB: – I dot have a lot of knowledge in folk music or world music.
I would say melody, getting feelings by the music, in certain music the dance .

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

TB: – I saw Jacob Bro in Bxl few weeks ago, a very interesting trio with Thomas Morgan and Joey Baron. It was very interesting, some songs beautiful, and I like to direction the have in music, between composition and improvisation.

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

TB: – I would like to go when the plans of the machine are just finished, copy it and then be able to go everywhere (before and in the past).

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

TB: – How did you get my contact ? I always nice to have someone interested in your music, thanks for writing me 😉

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. I am Jazz crirtic.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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