Jazz interview with jazz singer and saxophonist Danny Bacher. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Danny Bacher: – I grew up in Wayne NJ, I have always been interested in Jazz. What got me started was being very close to my grandparents, and listening to the music that they were in, like Big Band and Swing. Goodman, Ellington, Basie, Sinatra, etc…
JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the jazz vocal? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the jazz vocal?
DB: – Being that I have a theater background, it felt like a natural choice to use my voice training to go along with being a saxophonist and a frontman/bandleader. I’ve worked with many wonderful teachers on both voice and sax. Wonderful artists and performers like Roseanna Vitro, Ed Joffe, Dave Demsey, Bob Mover, Nancy Marano, Marilyn Maye, and many more. I’ve learned so much form each of them, and continue to study and work with teachers today. I think we’re all, or should be, always learning, working on and improving.
JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
DB: – Tone has always been at the forefront of what I do. I feel it’s one of the most important things in this business. Have a sound that is indelible to you and helps one standout in a world full of imitators. Once again, it’s something I’m always working on, and will probably continue to do so forever.
JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
DB: – I always try to keep my practicing to the point and fun, and not overdue things in the wood shed. This helps to keep what I do spontaneous and fresh on the bandstand.
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?
DB: – For me, melodic lines always lead. I find it’s important to play inside the changes, and hear lots of good ideas with this knowledge, but I also try very hard not to approach things to analytically. I don’t ever want to come across as an “academic” improviser.
JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?
DB: – By avoidin them.
JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
DB: – I feel that everyone needs the basis of knowledge for this work we do as musicians, but at some point, I believe it’s best to let the soul takeover, and allow the ears and heart to guide. Your brain will follow suit, I assure you!
JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?
DB: – Not only am I okay with it, I think it’s paramount! We are in a business where we need the audience to make a living. It’s not just about what an artist wants. In fact, I feel that comes second to the needs of those paying to see you. Please you’re audience, and tap in to what they want, and then give it to them! Surprisingly, for some reason, this seems like a bold concept today.
JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
DB: – I feel blessed, having grown up where I did, only minutes away from the Jazz Mecca of the world, NYC, I’ve gotten to play with, hear, see, chat and hang with so many of the Jazz greats (many who are now gone) like Joe Williams, Doc Cheatam, Milt Hinton, Jon Hendricks, Sonny Rollins, Sir Roland Hanna, and the list goes on…
JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
DB: – By making it accessible to a wider audience. Once again, we must consider them first! If we continue to alienate younger audiences, by making the music inaccessible , we won’t have younger audiences. I think this is always a challenge for genre’s of music on the fringe. It’s a hard question to answer, as I feel it’s always something that we as artists are grappling with.
JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
DB: – Finding what makes you happy, and spreading that to others.
JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
DB: – For more people to take the time to realize the beauty in Jazz, and appreciate why it’s such remarkable music.
JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
DB: – I always like what the JALCO is doing, along with Cecile Macloran Salvant. I think she is an exciting vocalist in Jazz right now. I also, being an “old soul”, am constantly going back to the “classics”. Folks who made this music popular. Musically , my tastes tend to be historically leaning. There’s just so much to learn from the masters.
JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
DB: – Hmmmmm. Newport Jazz festival, 1958! Certainly one stop along the way!
JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…
DB: – Next time, would you consider doing a phone interview?
JBN.S: – Thanks for answers. We will not do an interview with the phone to avoid blundering.
JBN.S: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?
DB: – Harness what?
Interview by Simon Sargsyan