May 18, 2024

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Interview with Jungsu Choi: Without intellect, music would be empty: Video

Jazz interview with jazz composer and bandleader Jungsu Choi. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Jungsu Choi: – I was born and grew up in Seoul, Korea until the age of 26 when I moved to Europe to study music. If my memory serves me right, my first composition was gospel song when I was mid-teens. I became awakened to music while playing guitar in a church band in my teens.

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

JCH: – In my music, I’ve tried to express many different kind of musical ideas not only from jazz but also from other different music areas like classic and rock. Actually, rock music was one of key roots for my musical background. To be inspired by diverse areas, especially I’ve studied and analyzed classical music composers such as Nicolas Slonimsky.

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

JCH: – As I mentioned above, I like to study and analyze modern classical music composition techniques.  Among them, Nicolas Slonimsky was especially one of the most influential composers to way I compose music. I’d say that my music might be divided into before and after I’ve my eyes opened to Nicolas Slonimsky.

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?

JCH: – Usually, when I compose or arrange, the general flow of the melody and bass line come first. There are so many diverse ways to develop compositional ideas. Sometimes, I assemble the top line and bottom line first, and then choose harmonic devices and density. Chromaticism is one of key factors for my harmonic devices. The beauty of dissonance make music more beautiful, I think.

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

JCH: – Without intellect, music would be empty. But, without soul, it’s not music. I think.

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

JCH: – There need to be the balance between the two. All the musicians are responsible for establishing their own independent musical domain. That’s what sophisticated audience want.

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

JCH: – The gig at Bimhus in Amsterdam was JTO’s debut stage performance. Each member in JTO is a veteran top musician with a lot of experience. Before this, we hadn’t ever given a concert of this new music, even in my country of Korea. We were really excited that our music would be finally performed in front of a European audience. Also, Bimhuis is a world-renowned jazz venue. We enjoyed the gig and the appreciative cheers of the audience with this experimental jazz of ours. Bimhuis is a fantastic stage for jazz musicians and in addition has a sophisticated audience. It was an awesome debut for us.

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

JCH: – I think it’s not the matter whether they are old tunes or not.

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

JCH: – Coltrane was also an eminently philosophical musician whose work came to express a spiritual vision. Every single person has her/his own inner world. Writers pour their life into the book and painters draw their emotion on canvas. Like this, composers put their philosophy on SHEET.

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

JCH: – Chopin, BTS, Steve Reich, Miguel Zenon, John Meyer and then…

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

JCH: – I don’t know. I mean that I usually don’t try to put any specific messages into my music. If you like it, just enjoy it your own way. When someone listen to my music, some may find any meaning, philosophy and messages in their own way or some others may listen them just as sound.  I just want them to feel what they feel from my music.

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

JCH: – Going back to the time when I started music and I would like to play my CD for me at that time! I will ask and tell me how you feel with this music? This is what you will create 30years later.

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

JCH: – Thank you so much Simon for your great questions! You are jazz critic. I don’t know if you play jazz or not. But I wonder… do you think that there are some differences between jazz critic without and with experiences as a player?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. I am not a musician and do not play jazz. There are no differences between a jazz critic and no experience as a player, in my opinion. There is still no learning and teaching without a huge game, but this does not mean that there is no illiteracy among jazz critics.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Картинки по запросу Jungsu Choi

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