May 18, 2024

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Interview with Monika Herzig: Let the music speak for itself: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Monika Herzig. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Monika Herzig: – I grew up in a small town in Germany where I learned to play piano and church organ – I was always drawn to music and involved in any music groups that were around.

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

MH: – I was drawn to the piano as a special instrument early on but had to beg my parents to get one. My most influential teacher was David Baker when I got my Doctorate at Indiana University. He knew how to tailor the instruction to the student needs and he was a beautiful mentor.

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

MH: – I started in a Fusion group and was drawn to groups like Weather Report and Return to Forever. From there I worked my way backwards to study the piano masters through transcriptions and style analysis. In fact my Undergraduate Thesis explored the styles of Art Tatum/ Thelonious Monk and Chick Corea and I ended up publishing a book on Chick Corea as well as David Baker

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

MH: – I’m trying to learn playing drums at any opportunity I get and I’m practicing on a daily basis.

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?

MH: – I love beautiful melodies and I love the idea of the listener being able to follow my thought pattern. Improvisation is composing in the moment and there is no need to create dissonance where it’s not needed or if it’s not desired. The essence of jazz is to portray your personality and ideas when you improvise so it wouldn’t make sense to try being someone else than I actually aam.

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

MH: – I don’t think I’m trying to prevent disparate influences – I love new ideas and inspirations and am constantly evolving.

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

MH: – Not sure there is a calculated balance – let the music speak for itself.

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

MH: – People are not coming to a concert with an image of what they want – they want to experience something special that elevates them out of the regular day and troubles – happy to provide that

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

MH: – Thaat could take up a book – with this group my favorite memory is our CD Release Party at the New School in April when a whole bus of young female players from the Jazz House Kids program joined us for the show.

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

MH: – It’s about the process and music, not necessarily the repertoire. We live in the age of creativity and this is one of the few art forms where you practice the creative process on a daily basis.

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

MH: – That might be part of a whole article – but any artistic expression is an essential way of communicating for all human beings. Language is not enough to express what we can express and communicating through the arts helps us to use our whole intellectual and creative capacity.

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

MH: – The unfortunate economics where it is really difficult to make a decent living as an artist, create music and bring together any size band that’s needed for the music.

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

MH: – I love the music of my bandmates.

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

MH: – I would like to taste a bit of the NY Loft Scene in the 60s – a time when boundaries were burst and everything was possible.

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

MH: – To all the audiences – think about how you can support the music and art you love  – and to all policy makers – please realize the value of artistic education and expression.

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Monika Herzig

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