Jazz interview with jazz trumpeter, composer Joshua Trinidad. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Joshua Trinidad: – I grew up in Denver, Colorado. I originally became interested in music through my mothers love for listening to great music and sharing it with me at a young age.
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?
JT: – Interesting question. I actually chose to play the trumpet because it was the only wind instrument that I could make a sound out of. It was an easy choice once I figured out that I could actually play the trumpet. I pay a deep amount of respect Ron Miles and Hugh Ragin for teaching me how to play the trumpet. They were very important to teachers to me in my growing stages and still are in many ways.
JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
JT: – My sound evolved overtime by listening to international trumpeters. Specifically those trumpeters in Scandinavia. I was fond of the sensitivity that these trumpeters played with. I spent many years figuring out how to make my trumpet sound more like a cello or a flute.
JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
JT: – I play through and use the thesaurus of melodic patterns and scales book on daily basis. From this book I have learned how to build my own personal practice routine as needed for reading, writing, and trumpet exercises.
JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?
JT: – I prefer simple harmonies and simple patterns. I refer back to modal music a lot or music from the “cool” era of jazz. I think less is more when it comes to notes.
JBN.S: – Which are the best jazz albums for you of 2017 year?
I loved Kendrick Lamar’s album “Damn”, I also really liked James Blake’s album from 2016 titled The Colour in Anything.
JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
JT: – Love. Love is the highway that runs traffic to both the mind and the heart. It is important to constantly create a balance of the traffic. One road cannot be “backed up” or in gridlock.
JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions, which you’d like to share with us?
JT: – Over the years I have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with so many amazing people, however some the most memorable performances and recording sessions were with The Bad Plus, Sage Francis and performing music for the Ken Burn’s documentary “Vietnam”.
JBN.S: – Which collaboration have been the most important experiences for you?
JT: – I think performing with local bands in Denver has helped me grow the most. I performed with rap groups, country bands, soul bands, free jazz groups etc. All of these bands have helped me learn more about myself and music in general.
JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
JT: – Jazz has to be relevant to the listener (youth). It upsets me when I hear jazz musicians making music that makes listeners feel like an outsider. I like to welcome all listeners to my music and I consider everyone’s path to my music.
JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
JT: – I agree with Coltrane. For me the meaning of life is love. The love I have when I make music. The love I have for my family and friends. The love I have for learning and exploring the world. All of those feelings of love are the nucleus of what life is all about. It sits in my chest and in the center of my music. I try to make it audible.
JBN.S: – What are your expectations of the future? What brings you fear or anxiety?
JT: – I have no expectations for the future. I live everyday, one day at a time. I must. I must live in the moment. It is best to live in the “now” versus tomorrow. I fear nothing. Not even death. I am prepared.
JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
JT: – I would change the culture of trumpet players in the USA. While I love the music of Maynard Ferguson and Jon Fadis, I find it to be like a sport. You know, all of the trumpeters trying to play higher and faster than the one next to them. Or which trumpeters can create the most complex music or re-create textbook passages. Its all silly. I would love a less sports approach to music.
JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?
JT: – I am writing my next album already. I am thinking about doing another trio album with this band. I like recording in Norway. I might head back to Ocean Sound in Giske, Norway to do another session. I am also interested in working with a piano player and creating some duo music. I am planning on playing in Europe more over the next few years.
JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between jazz and world music, including folk music?
JT: – Yes. Jazz music is the folk music of America and it has spread across the world and is now being played in all cultures. I love it. I love the way jazz music sounds in Norway most.
JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
JT: – These days I have been listening to a lot of Radiohead and Mathias Eick.
JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
JT: – I would transport myself to the 1930’s / 1940’s in Torreon, Mexico so that I would meet my grandfather Ernesto Trinidad and ask him how he got involved in music.
JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…
JT: – While I love playing acoustic jazz trumpet, I also play my trumpet through effects pedals. Much like Nils Petter Molvaer and Cuong Vu.
JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. What? Where a question from yourself?
Interview by Simon Sargsyan