June 17, 2024


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Interview with Oytun Ersan: I let my soul lead, the intellectual process simply gets involved: Video

Jazz interview with a bad musician, as if bassist Oytun Ersan. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Oytun Ersan: – I grew up in Cyprus. It’s a small country in the Mediterranean. I was born in the aftermath of a civil war and as a child, I could sense everything that was happening around me despite my parents’ efforts to keep me and my brother safe and peaceful. My father, who has passed away a couple of months ago, was a bass player. He noticed my interest in music as I could not help myself but move my head in line with the rhythms whenever I heard music on the radio. My first instrument was a saxophone as it was a gift from my father who was almost certain that I would become a musician one day, just like my brother. When I was 15 years old, I joined the Municipality orchestra. I was the youngest member.

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?

OE: – Back in 1999, I was still playing the saxophone and we had a concert with the orchestra. While I was waiting for the event to start, on the big screen at the stage, a concert was being screened. That was the first time I listened to Ric Fierabracci. He was soloing so beautifully! I got so excited while watching him and fell in love with those grooves. I decided on that particular day and promised myself that I would learn how to play the bass guitar. The legendary Ric Fierabracci, my bass hero, has produced my new release and I still cannot believe that this has just happened!

I have received one-on-one training from a highly influential bass teacher, the amazing Joe Hubbard, who has taught some amazing bass players such as Pino Palladino, Paul Rurner (Jamiroquai), Mike Mondesir (Billy Cobham), Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson) and Dave Swift (Jools Holland).

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

OE: – Throughout the years I played pretty much everything, including Rock, Folk, Latin, Reggae, Blues and Jazz. I also performed with different symphony orchestras. I guess this is how I discovered and developed my own sound.

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

OE: – I practice for at least two and a half hours a day. What has really helped me improve my current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm is to practice in 60 bpm. I know that is pretty slow but that is the whole point.That is why it is very effective. I practice for 15 minutes and rest my fingers for one minute. While resting my fingers I do stretching exercises. Then I carry on practising for another 15 minutes, until my two-and-a-half hours daily practice is over. I think of this as my lifetime duty. This requires a lot of patience. But it’s worth it.

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

OE: – If you want to learn the language, you need to know the patterns really well.There is no doubt about that. But I cannot think of any harmonies or harmonic patterns in particular that I could call my favourite. I don’t have a preference.

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

OE: – There are many but if I had to choose two, I would definitely say A Meeting of Spirits by the legendary Garry Husband and Mike Stern’s Trip.

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

OE: – I think the two should be inseparable. That’s the balance. I let my soul lead, the intellectual process simply gets involved. What I cannot tolerate is when the focus is too much on the scales and chords. I simply cannot tolerate that for more than a few seconds!

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

OE: – During a recording session at the studio, my strap lock broke. I was accompanying the amazing Eric Marienthal’s solo in L.A. (one of the tracks from my album Fusiolicious). I was absolutely hypnotised! I simply could not stop playing. I was seated while recording and my bass guitar was slowly sliding down. By the time the solo part finished, the bass guitar was above my knees. I was lucky enough to pull it back right on time and continued playing.

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

OE: – The collaborations as part of my second album Fusiolicious have been the most important. Collaborating with all those incredibly genius musicians, not to mention my bass hero Ric Fierabracci, has been an unforgettable experience.

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

OE: – Contemporary jazz may be the answer. There are plenty of contemporary jazz materials out there that can be introduced to the young generations. If we are talking about music students in particular, I would say workshops and clinics may provide a good opportunity to do this.

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

OE: – Sharing my feelings with others is what makes my life meaningful. As a musician, I do this through music. Music is the fuel of my spirit but at the same time, my spirit is the fuel of my music.

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

OE: – I would make sure that only the good music was popular. Dreams, dreams…

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

OE: – Yes! Absolutely. I think we are all influenced by folk music in some way.

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

OE: – Lao Tizer’s new release Songs from the Swinghouse. An incredible album with so many influential musicians. Absolutely wonderful!

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

OE: – I would really want to experience the late 1960s, early 1970s America where Jazz Fusion was first developed. Musicians at the time were simply experimenting, combining jazz harmony with different styles such as rock and funk. Oh, and I would definitely be the biggest fan of Joe Zawinul!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Oytun Ersan

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