May 21, 2024

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Interview with Gustav Lundgren: I really try to shut of all the intellect when I play: Video

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Gustav Lundgren. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Gustav Lundgren: – I grew up in Stockholm. My father was a trumpet player during his teens. He listened to Jazz & Brazilian music during his whole life. He definitely inspired me in so many ways.

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?

GL: – Well initially I played the drums and later some electric bass but I switched to guitar at age 12 and I started taking classes from Jonas Eriksson in Stockholm who was a diverse guitarist, playing everything from rock to jazz & blues. I started playing guitar in the early 90s so the Grunge movement was really inspiring. I loved Pearl Jam, Alice in chains, Nirvana, Sound garden but also Jimi Hendrix. All music from Seattle…

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

GL: – I started playing jazz and early in my career I started listening to John Scofield who was the perfect transition from blues & Jimi Hendrix to jazz and more contemporary sounds. He is still one of my favorite musicians and composers and I know you can hear a strong chunk of his music, sound and phrasing in my playing still at present day. Later in the mid 90s I started listening more to Bireli Lagrene, Pat Metheny, George Benson, Kurt Rosenwinkel & Django Reinhardt but even more to saxophone genius John Coltrane. These players together with Tal Farlow & Wes Montgomery are still my biggest direct influences.

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

GL: – I don´t really have time to practice like I used to. These days I´m just composing or checking out repertoire for different new projects. I also practice some classical guitar and gypsy picking technique from time to time.

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

GL: – 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? It´s definitely an output of what goes in. I really don´t think when I play. I close my eyes and I meditate. I listen to what the other musicians are playing and I try to go with the flow. I know that all the music I listen to every day will effect my playing unconsciously.

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

GL: – Well, as I said before I really try to shut of all the intellect when I play, I wan´t to be spontaneous and honest while improvising. If I think about what I play and star analyzing myself I would directly loose my flow. This is why I stopped teaching back in 2012. Now I don´t really have to answer to anyone regarding what I play or why I play it… But I do know what inspires me.

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

GL: – Well, I don´t really think about it too much. I know people are crazy about the gypsy jazz stuff I do and they are less crazy about my more contemporary jazz projects. However I don´t really pick the repertoire to please the audience, I just play the music I like to play. In the end of the day I play because I enjoy it, not because someone else should enjoy it. If I wanted to make money or become famous I could start writing pop songs like so many other of my Swedish colleagues are doing.

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

GL: – Impossible to fit all those memories here but I have to say that my latest recording with Chris Cheek, Jorge Rossy & Tom Warburton turned out great and I´ve never worked with such professional, open and inspiring musicians before.

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

GL: – I´m not worried about that at all actually. The American songbook is great enough to be popular for another century. It´s all about playing good and honest music with a lot of output and swing. If someone played a standard with the same energy as Sonny Rollins or Django Reinhardt I know that young people, especially young musicians will dig it in a hundred years just like they do today.

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

GL: – Well, I think the meaning of life is reproduction. However I didn’t realize that before becoming a father. I love music, but I guess you can love a lot of other things just as much. However there is nothing you can love the same way you love your children. I don´t believe in no religion nor the afterlife. I believe in the circle of life, like in the Lion King…

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

GL: – Teleportation should be possible! I hate traveling and the way I´m destroying the planet while doing it. Yet I fly almost every week. Flying with a super expensive guitar in a soft case is also quite a pain in the ass…

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

GL: – Different stuff all the time. As we speak Djavan (from Brazil). But lately I’ve been enjoying some organ jazz. Sam Yahel for example. Guitarists Jesse van Ruller & Peter Bernstein with different organ players also.

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

GL: – I´m extremely happy with my career. I don´t wanna change anything really. If I would like to change something I could do it. I´ve always created my own destiny and my own career since I was 12 years old. I´m extremely determent. I don´t need anyones permission to do what ever I want to do. I think I might move back to Spain permanently at one point in the future though…

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Gustav Lundgren

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