May 28, 2024

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Interview with Clemens Orth: The essence, the soul …. Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist and composer Clemens Orth. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Clemens Orth: – I started playing piano at the age of 6. got classical lessons back then. At age 11 I got the opportunity to play at our local church as an organist. Took classical organ lessons and piano lessons until age 15 – that time as an organist was my first encounter with improvised music doing preludes for chorals. From age 15 on I got interested in jazz. Playing in big bands at school, doing jam sessions with friends, etc – major influences in my teenage years were: classical music, R&B and Pop Music.

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

CO: – My first musical ideal in jazz was bill evans, but also peterson and some of the old stride guys. When I start studying jazz at the university of cologne I got strongly influenced by john taylor with whom I studied for 4 years. I was impressed by his harmonic conceptions and metric approach.

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

CO: – Studying in new york from 2001 – 2003 was very influencial to me – from that period on I started working on odd meters, polyrhythm and so on…lately I try to get deeper into indian music. I practise with metronome and leave out several beats to improve my macro time – whereas with polyrhythms I tend to practise more intuitively – trying to hear the complementary rhythmic melody so to say and not to think about it too much.

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?

CO: – The harmonic vocabulary I grew up with was a lot of chopin, skrijabin, ravel…all the romantic pianists I loved – I could find identification with their music. Back then I was even more a harp player on the piano than today …my time was completely “felt”  – that became quite a task for me when I started working on odd meters, etc because I had to change my overall approach of playing – mostly in terms of phrasing and articulation. Nowadays I would say I can switch. Between a super smooth touch and nailing down the notes but the 1st thing is definitely more “me” – because of the source material “christmas chorals” i´ve also chosen to feature that part of my paying more on that record.

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

CO: – I´m a painter – i like colors – and i like lots of them – i have no problems with mixing up styles and shapes.

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

CO: – On that album i´d say it´s 90% soul – and some 10% oddmeter, messiaenish chords, cross rhythms or more intellectual stuff….

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

CO: – That´s the idea of an “christmas” album I think – I want to the listener to feel good…My last album “BEP” is very different and far more offensive…

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

CO: – My regular Trio features NY based drummer Ross Pederson and bassist Sam Minaie…we recorded a complete album in my Studio using spontanious ideas and sketches – and it turned out great! you can´t do that with a lot of musicians.

Very different form “in dulci jubilo”.

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

CO: – I´m hosting jazz series for over 15 years now at different venues and if there´s one thing that helps audiences getting infected by this music it´s communication (both within the band and to the audience)…if there´s something great going on musically – that spirit is unique and people get directly infected – no matter if the source material is standard tunes or coldplay tunes…that magic of creating music at the moment has remained the same from jerry roll morton until today – and that energy will save this music – but it has to be played on a uncompromising high emotional level … otherwise the sparkle will not jump over..i think in those days we´re in where everthing became so adjusted and calculating this is even more important.

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

CO: – I think it´s just what I mentioned … to really mean something in music it has to be played with an exceptional deep attitude – Coltrane had that for sure!

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

CO: – More financial and social security for musicians…more openness towards styles and ethnic backgrounds…

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

CO: – Since I run  my own, little jazz club in cologne I listen to a lot of CD´s –  applications from bands … it´s a task to stay open musically…

JBN.S: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

CO: – I often have the wish to make the listener discover the “real” content of music. The essence, the soul …. not paying too much attention to the technical aspects.

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

CO: – I´d love to participate in the mid 19th century romantic movement in europe…

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

CO: – Is there life after jazz?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. I can not imagine …

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

CO: – No idea! Just did it 🙂

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Clemens Orth

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