May 18, 2024

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Interview with Chris Kase: I don’t think jazz has to do or be anything other: Video

Jazz interview with jazz trumpeter Chris Kase. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Chris Kase: – I was born in New Jersey, but spent most of my growing-up years in Trumbull, CT. My mother was a musician and music teacher, and my brothers have all been involved in music at some point in their lives. There was always music in the house, either via recordings, the radio, or people practicing.

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

CHK: – I actually wanted to start on guitar at age 9, but my mother was wise enough to steer me toward a band instrument. She probably thought I would have more opportunities to learn and play as there was a good public school music program where we lived. So I had to quickly pick an instrument to sign up for a summer music program organized by the local public schools. We often saw The Boston Pops Orchestra on their Sunday evening program “Evening at Pops” on PBS. There were a lot of shots of the trumpet section and I always focused on the principal trumpet player. I found out decades later that his name was André Comé. So that was the image that came to mind when I had to choose an instrument. That was in 1973.

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

CHK: – I would say that you don’t find a sound, the sound finds you, and that it’s the sum of all the music and musicians you’ve listened to over the years, regardless of style. And of course, I’m still working on it.

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

CHK: – I use the metronome a lot. I avoid improvising over play-alongs in my own practice. I like playing music in odd time signatures and do a fair amount of that, so much so that I wrote a book of fairly difficult jazz trumpet etudes in odd meters entitled “Odd Meter Escapades” so that advanced students and pro players have some structure when working on this sort of thing. The trumpet is a fairly demanding instrument, you need to play it pretty much every day, so I spend some time each day working on sound and technique.

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

CHK: – I consciously avoided a lot of the typical harmony found in standards and be-bop tunes for many years, in an effort to find something a little different (notice: I didn’t say “new”). But I think now I am able to use those things in a way that still sound personal and interesting to me. So most paths have an end, or they may connect you to other paths. Things may sound fresh for a long period of time but eventually, they don’t.

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

CHK: – Natanael Ramos: “Islander’s Dilemma”.

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

CHK: – Hard to say.

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

CHK: – Let’s just say that every time I perform or record, even teach, I learn something. Whatever the quality of the job has been, whether the experience has been positive or negative, you learn.

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

CHK: – I was very fortunate to study, perform and record with Kenny Wheeler (Chris Kase: “A Song We Once Knew”, Satchmo Jazz Records, 2000).

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

CHK: – Actually much of the repertoire is quite a bit older than that. I don’t think jazz has to do or be anything other than what it is in order to be interesting to any age group. Look at Classical music: it is what it is. You either like it, love it, hate it, or have no opinion one way or another, like many things in life. Have you heard of the Sant Andreu Jazz Band (Barcelona)? A bunch of talented young kids playing some really old tunes and being as true as they can to the style. Nothing watered down or sugar coated, they just dig it. Sure, they are imitating sound and style, important tasks for anyone who wants to play jazz. I wonder if many of them will go on to create and improvise.

A more pertinent question would be: “How do we get public institutions to invest in promoting improvised music in all of its forms?”

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

CHK: – To what Coltrane quote are you referring? This question is a little too broad.

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

CHK: – I don’t have any expectations. My way has been to “hope for everything and expect nothing.” Fear impedes thought, as does anger. Some of today’s world leaders are a great source of anxiety.

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

CHK: – “Gigs for everyone! All my men get solos, solos for all my men!”

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

CHK: – To me the word “frontier” implies “border” and I’m not sure those terms are part of my musical thinking. I hope to continue writing, performing and improvising. The next project hopefully will be self-evident.

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

CHK: – I’m not a musicologist, but I’m pretty sure someone more qualified than me has already made the connection between jazz and folk music, both from America and Africa. I believe the term “world music” was coined by the record industry.

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

CHK: – Lately I’m listening to whatever the next project is in which I’m involved. When I have quality time to write music I don’t listen to anything. I try to bring a new composition to perhaps 60% of my own gigs.

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

CHK: – A week on 52nd Street in the late 40’s would be nice. Do I really have to explain why?

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

CHK: – ”Where are my glasses?”

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. At me you have hammered 🙂

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Chris Kase

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