May 18, 2024

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Interview with Magnus Thuelund: Spirit or meaning of life … I do not know: Video

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist ​​Magnus Thuelund. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Magnus Thuelund: – I grew up in a small town (Skjern) in the western part of Denmark. Most of my childhood and teenage years was spent doing sports. The last years in my teens I was on the national team of waterpolo and not paying much attention to music. Actually it was quite random how I took up the alto saxophone – I was happy about music, mostly singing and piano, in primary school, and my teacher encouraged me to take up an instrument. I wanted to try trumpet and asked the music school to rent me one. But their message was: “ we do not have any more trumpets, but you can rent this saxophone”. A year later my parents gave me an alto and I was thrilled. I am a graduate from the conservatory in Copenhagen and later I did a master in composition with professor/keyboardist Django Bates. In between my years in Copenhagen I did a year of studies at the New School of Music in New York.

Some of what I learned from doing a lot of sports I find helpful in playing music and dealing with the music industry, such as focus, dedication and patience.

JBN.S: – What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today?

MT: – Different teachers have helped me develop. I want to point out Lars Moller, Reggie Workman, Armen Donelian, Marc Mommaas and Mark Turner from when I studied at the New School in New York.

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

MT: – Listen and imitate, listen and imitate. listen and imitate. I made a choice quite early, that I did not want to sound like Kenny Garrett. Which I find that a lot of the guys from my generation tried to do. I love his playing, but sound wise, and what has to do with musical language, I wanted to go in another direction. More like the sound of Lee Konitz or Walter Smith III. I am playing on a Buescher truetone from 1929, New York Meyer 7 mouthpiece and a custom made neck. I like the deep and very clear sound from that horn. I have been playing the same setup for the past 10 years and do not change a lot. I seek to myself to change and 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?

MT: – I am spending time on the horn several hours almost every day. Whether it is exercises or tunes or something else that I am practicing I always try to challenge myself with the metronome on different beats. Working on groupings, playing and composing in mixed meters helps/challenge me to develop further. And trying to put everything into a musical context, As master Sigurd M Rascher puts it “To be a musician is the goal, not an acrobat with fingers”

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

MT: – I do not have any favourites but I tend to come back to chromaticism . Working with counterpoint and letting voices dictate harmonic movement often brings something fresh to the table.

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

MT: – Great players can make even bad compositions sound good. . So often I am listening to the composition itself before listening to the players – Melody, Rhythm, Form, Dynamics and stuff like that. I look for music that tells a story, music that balances the before mentioned with predictability and surprise.

Working with Ralph and Nasheet on my album, made me go digging and listening to them on different recordings. Some of my favourites are : Ralph Alessi “Baida” and “Quiver”(ECM), Nasheet Waits “Equality” (Fresh Sound Rec), Other 2017 favourites for me are: Mark Turner “Lathe of Heaven” (ECM), Mark Guiliana “Family First” (Beat Music Prod).

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

MT: – For me intellect is mostly present in the practice room and I think that both should be balanced during performance.

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

MT: – Performing at Carnegie Hall with my former band Magnify. Being part of European Youth Jazz Orchestra. Performing with Django Bates Big band. Performing on an old French Wine Chateau this summer and touring with my band with Ralph Alessi and Mark Ferber- Travelling as a musician is great and you get to meet so many fun and interesting people around the world.

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

MT: – Doing the release tour for my new album “Angel From the South” with trumpeter Ralph Alessi, drummer Mark Ferber, pianist Nikolaj Hess and bassist Graig Earle has been very cool and important in my artistic development.

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

MT: – Lots of new tunes are turning into standard repertoire and are being played around the world – tunes by Dave Holland, Steve Coleman, Steve Swallow, and younger cats like: Gilad Hekselman, and Aaron Parks. Great melodies never gets outdated, so keep playing them but renew, refresh and reinvent.

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

MT: – Hmm, that was a hard one. I believe him. For me I play and write music because I want to and feel an urge to. Also because it expresses things and feelings that I can not put into words. – Spirit or meaning of life … I do not know.

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

MT: – Everything will get better ….. but only if you go for it and make an effort.

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

MT: – Make more people be interested in jazz.

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

MT: – I have a recording coming up with my compositions for big band that needs some work. And I also have a band that tributes the great Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. This is great deep music with a strong focus on rhythm and displacement of melody – mostly based on standard tune chord changes.

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

MT: – I guess there are. I am not really into world music, but I admire musicians who can present a balanced mix of jazz and world or folk music. Guys like Avishai Cohen is awesome. Mixing genres is not a new thing and is most likely making jazz accessible to greater audiences.

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

MT: – The 4 piano concerts of Serge Rachmaninov. Phineas Newborn Jr. “Phineas Rainbow” was just given to me on vinyl. And I keep coming back to both Donnie McCaslins “Decleration” and Radioheads “Amnesiac” Very deep and beautiful music.

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

MT: – Could be great to meet and learn from Johann Sebastian Bach and Igor Stravinsky. And for sure to go back to a time where jazz was the popular music of the time. Going to live shows with Charlie Parker or being in the recording studio in 1965 with the John Coltrane quartet doing the impulse album “Living space”.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Magnus Thuelund

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