June 17, 2024


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Interview with Hugo Fernandez: Music is beautiful and it can mean different things to people … Video

Jazz interview with a bad musician, as if guitarist Hugo Fernandez. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Hugo Fernandez: – I grew up in Mexico City, we had a guitar at home and slowly picked it and started learning classical and Mexican folk music with the help of a private teacher.

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

HF: – I picked the electric guitar because I loved the sound of rock music. I played in a rock band as a teen ager and later on I started working as a sideman for pop singers.

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

HF: – I was exposed to jazz music in my early twenties and the “real practice” of understanding harmony and music in the guitar started.

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

HF: – Tons of exercises over the years I have done… one good exercise is to drop beats from the metronome. In other words, don’t let the metronome guide you beat by beat…  For example start listening the metronome doing quarters, then half notes, then whole, once every two measures etc.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now? You’re playing is very sensitive, deft, it’s smooth, and I’d say you drift more toward harmony than dissonance. There is some dissonance there, but you use it judiciously. Is that a conscious decision or again, is it just an output of what goes in?

HF: – I play at many times very vertical or harmonically concerned… I improvise around the color of the chord and if I feel like it, I put more dissonance with the tensions I choose for a particular chord.

JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?

HF: – I never think of these… I only try to play things I like…. if it’s “disparate” I let it be like that.

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

HF: – For me there is no correct answer, it all depends on how you as a person.

JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?

HF: – I want to grab their attention and keep them listening and that is difficult. I always think of a good balance in the repertoire.

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

HF: – Many surprising things have happened performing live.

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

HF: – Classical music is older than jazz and people still study and performing it. If the tune is beautiful then it’s worth checking it out, it doesn’t matter when it was composed.

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

HF: – Music is beautiful and it can mean different things to people… it’s important to try to find out more about our inner self, music can help but it can be with something else. The deeper we “go inside” the easier we can see the bigger picture of reality.

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

HF: – More music, painting, dancing, sculpting in schools at all levels.

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

HF: – I would like to live in NYC when Miles’ second quintet was around or Coltrane’s Impulse era …

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

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

JBN.S: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers, but but following your answers you are a pretty empty musician. Unfortunately …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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