May 28, 2024

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Interview with Konstantin Reinfeld: You want to connect with the audience and that will always work better with soul than with intellect: Video

Jazz interview with jazz harmonica player and composer Konstantin Reinfeld. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Konstantin Reinfeld: – I grew up in a small town called Kempen, which is located in the Lower Rhine area of Germany close to the Netherlands. During my childhood my mother listened to a lot of jazz and bossa nova and my father was really into The Rolling Stones and Creedence Clearwater Revival. However, at that point I didn’t consciously perceive that I listening to such great music. Encouraged by my parents I started out with classical piano lessons very early on and I played the clarinet through most of high school. However, at some point the harmonica changed everything for me.

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

KR: – It was late 2008 when Michael Hirte won Germany’s Got Talent with his harmonica. He played easy evergreens on the harmonica but I immediately fell in love with the sound of the instrument. I went to the music store in my hometown, bought my first Hohner Blues Harp and learned the instrument autodidactically with the help of a textbook. Very soon the internet played a bigger role: I watched YouTube Tutorials, recorded my practice sessions, uploaded them and got great feedback from harmonica forums. Only later I attended a few workhops and got scattered Skype lessons with Ralf Fuckhardt, Ben Bouman, Carlos del Junco, Steve Baker, Dennis Gruenling, Mariano Massolo and Howard Levy.

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

KR: – I would say the most crucial part for me was just listening to a lot of different types of music and trying to incorporate the harmonica into those by transcribing or just playing along. At the same time my singing lessons at music school really helped me to make my tone even more natural. There seems to be no instrument closer to the human voice than the harmonica. There are no hands in between besides holding the instrument and playing the harmonica is just like breathing. You never run out of breath.

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

KR: – This is a very important question, because rhythm is the most important elements of music. For me the rhythm is the equivalent to our body. What I try to do is involving as much as possible when practicing rhythm. That involves dancing out rhythms, clapping, walking along and so on…

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

KR: – At this point there are no harmonies that I prefer and I would also say there have never been any. Harmony is always just about starting at a place and arriving at another and there are just endless options. The movement could be surprising, very climactic, contain no tension at all…it’s all about which emotions you want to express or evoke.

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

KR: – Intellect can be very important in music in every situation that has to do with preparation but as soon as you start to play it’s all about soul. It’s not too much about the note you play but rather how you play that note. You want to connect with the audience and that will always work better with soul than with intellect.

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

KR: – I am just coming back from playing at a great harmonica festival in Beijing, China, which was an amazing experience! I thought I wasn’t supposed to play at the opening concert so I adjusted myself to enjoy the evening listening to music. While I was sitting there the festival director came to me pointing at a Chinese schedule and he told me I had to play on stage in 10 minutes. So I immediately went to my hotel room and got my instruments to jump right on stage. This is how I performed and sang my first pop production called “Get Up Again“ for the first time in front of 3000 people! After my performance I was surrounded but 100 kids and their parents to take photos and give autographs. I wonder where they upload all these photos…

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

KR: – Who says that metal is more hardcore than jazz? The music itself is not the problem at all. There are so many amazing jazz bands right now that play original music but also jazz standards with great energy and this is what it’s all about…energy! Young people are really receptive to that and if you change the environment away from an old jazz club to a place that is relevant to young people, they will potentially start to dance and jazz will be more relevant very soon.

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

KR: – For me this is an ever-present question that will never have a definite answer. It will always change throughout life and I think a too eager search for the meaning of life will just prevent you from getting closer to understanding it. Just enjoy the doing. So many people do stuff but they don’t enjoy the doing of it.

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

KR: – I think everything has its time and of course a lot of things could be better. However, I would say it’s the greatest time every to make music now. Everybody can do it. You can write a song, record it, publish it and immediately get feedback getting in touch with people from all over the world…all on the same day! I think there is a lot more to be discovered on this track.

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

KR: – I just try to stay as open-minded as possible all the time. Right now I really enjoy some of latest hip-hop and trap productions but concerning jazz I always come back to Brad Mehldau and his trio.

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

KR: – Traveling to the past could cause the butterfly effect so I would rather go 150 years forward in time. This would be beyond belief but there would still be the chance of being able to comprehend the world then. I am sure the completely different culture and the advancements would be amazingly enlightening to learn about.

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

KR: – What are you eating for dinner today? Sushi?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answer. No, of course. Dolma!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Konstantin Reinfeld

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