May 27, 2024

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Interview with Mike Chéret: Real jazz is there, waiting for you. Life is there powerfull! Video

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist and composer Mike Cheret. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Mike Cheret: – There was no music in my family, but i always loved music, even the few i had access to.

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

MCH: – When i was 16, my uncle who did blues and pop music when he was young, bought me a alto sax. The day after that i did 5 hours traning, and each day after that. I had a local teacher but as i was practicing too much and too fast, i had to switch to another, and after 2 years more, i entered the national conservatory. It was hard time for me : i had to learn piano, reading, composing, so much things i never did cause i was just a player with good feeling but few knowledge.

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

MCH: – I was an alto player for 17 years, thinking about hard bop players : Jackie Mc Lean, Phil Woods, Cannonball. Then i was frustrated no to reach the high level i expected to and was prisoner of my working routine. I was playing the same stuff, boring myself.

So i decided to switch to tenor, and had to learn al my repertory in Bb. New fingerings, new changes, new ears ! It opened me to music again, out of routine.

Then i developed my tenor sound, always moving until today : fisrt for 2 years i worked to catch Getz sound. Finally had it but let it away because it was too much imitation. Then moved to Dexter, and then Ralph Moore, who became a friend ! I never catched his sound but i think of it when i play.

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

MCH: – So then i practiced again with passion, and i changed my way of practicing, including more improvisation into it, more comprehension of the value of each note insted of just imitate without understand. I also decided to pay attention to the time feel, and rythm quality.

So i put metronome, and practiced quater notes on the changes, and rythmic patterns.

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?

MCH: – I think deeply about most things i do about sound or harmony. I go more and more into inside, would say « pure » melodie and harmonies.

As a beginner i was always searching for dissonance and complexity, now i assume simplicity and get that from Getz and Rollins. I played few times with Scott Hamilton who gave me a lesson about that just playing beside me these amazing beautiful things. Simplicity is a chalenge. Not everybody can play like Getz or Chet: just pure beauty. I practice in that way now.

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

MCH: – I practiced Getz, Dexter, Turrentine, Rollins, Bergonzi (and others but these one stayed in me) and each of them let something in my playing. I don’t know what, but the all mix makes my playing nowaday. I don’t prevent influences, i just mix them and take care not to go in a single way, witch would go into imitation…

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

MCH: – I practice everything slowly and deeply consciously, for long long long time, until i get to no need to think, and play from that moment with soul.

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

MCH: – In my opinion, people don’t want something. They just take music and decide if they love it or not.

And they are supposed to love quality and honesty in music, music from the heart goes to them for sure.

Problem is that many music « managers », journalist, festivals bookers and others, want to decide what people want, and they have the power to decide what they will have! And they give audience more and more shit music, business music, music with many things around the music (marketing, videos, photos, interviews, concepts..) but often nothing inside music. A beautiful packaging with shit inside. Nowaday you have to be female, to have 15 years old, to play and sing (Summertime, nothing too complicated or new). I know so many great players around who don’t have any concert in any festival…i lead jam session in a main jazz club in Paris fro 15 years, and never a jazz journalist or a festival booker came only 5 minutes to ear new cats, never in 15 years.

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

MCH: – I keep in my heart forever playing with Scott Hamilton, and also very special moment was playing with Ralph Moore because he was a main influence for me, i listened his music for years and years, and one day you are just next to the guy and he blows and you’re there into the music, like being inside the album you heard thousand times !

I spent an hours before a concert where i was playing in first part of Benson, talking and drinking wine with him backstage, just the two of us. He’s a master of masters, and he’s really a beautiful person. He said to me: «musicians are my family».

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

MCH: – Youngs, as i did, always enter jazz by the jazz of today, and then get back to the tradition.

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

MCH: – Practicing music for a lifetime, and sure it’s the same with anything, sport, painting … brings you to think and feel Life, going inside of you to understand who you are, what you expect to give, feel the time of a life (always too short when you have something to reach). Then paying attention to others: listeners, other musicians … That’s entering sprirituality.

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

MCH: – I would give opportunity to many jazz musician to be heard by the public, by changing all the way festivals and concert places are booked.

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

MCH: – Rollins each day! Getz, Turrentine, Trane, Henderson, Potter, Lovano, all the greats, and Rollins each day !!!

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

MCH: – 1959 Rollins on tour. Stockholm, Vanguard…

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

MCH: – I don’t have questions, just request: please jazz listeners, come to jazz clubs, sharing moments with us. Real jazz is there, waiting for you. Life is there powerfull!

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу MikeCheret

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