June 20, 2024


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Interview with Martin Soros: That’s why I do jazz: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Martin Sörös (Dr. Syros). An interview by email in writing. 

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

Martin Sörös: – I was born in Heidenheim, a small City, 80 km far away from Stuttgart. Music was always there at home. My father was a dance musician and my sister is a classical singer.

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?

MS: – Picking up the piano was not my decision when I was eight years old. First instruments for all of us kids were the piano and the recorder. I also started playing the Saxophon with the Age of 10. When I was 15, I have chosen the piano as my main instrument. I fell in love with those Jazz Harmonies and Voicings!

And then I also picked up the Fender Rhodes…! From the beginning I had an idea how I wanted to sound the Fender Rhodeswhen I bought the first one at the age of 20. There are just so many differences to the piano and I was looking forward to the new challenge with all the advantages and disadvantages that make this instrument so characteristic. Of course I still mainly play the piano. With „ Syros“ you can always hear both instruments at the concerts.

Thanks to my teachers Eric Mayr, Harry Berger, Klaus Wagenleiter, Prof. Martin Schrack, Prof. Klaus Graf, Prof. Steffen Schorn, Bernhard Pichl, Prof. Hubert Nuss and Prof. Rainer Tempel.

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

MS: – Trying to hear every note you play. It´s a life’s work. But it´s really amazing if it works. It never works all the time. Also listening to musicians with a great sound and melodiousness helps to get better sound.

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

MS: – I always start practicing 20 – 30 min with technical exercises.It always runs the metronome, also for nearly everything else I practice. At this time I’m trying to practice some Paradiddles on the piano. I like to think more often like a drummer.

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?

MS: – Sometimes you get a positive surprise.However, there should be a conscious decision in advance whether you want to create a disonance or harmony. The Judgement of inside or outside.

John Scofield was the biggest Influence for composing my harmonic patterns. His leading chord sequences especially at the end of the 80s knock me down to this day. (Blue Matter, Loud Jazz)

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

MS: – One cannot close oneself to influences. I even think it’s a great thing. It fills up rather strangely when there is no new album at the moment that you really like.You can’t do anything completely new today anyway. So it’s good to mix many influences to your own, special sound.

Next we will do a Single and we also want to make new live Videos. The new programme is also being developed further and further.

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

MS: – I would like to play all the time with my heart and my soul when I am on stage. You actually need your head when practicing rather than on stage.

The best moments are when your head turns off and you play things you haven’t practiced yet. That’s why I do jazz.

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

MS: – I think you should know what message your music has and what audience it could appeal to. But people love authenticity! You have to do your thing and hope the audience likes it. People feel when something is wrong. To please everybody is not possible by the way.

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

MS: – I played a special gig on a festival four years ago. On this evening we had to struggle with difficult conditions. We had a far too short program because we played with a sub on the one hand and on the other hand the solos were played much too short because two of the boys had half a food poisoning. Apart from playing together I looked at the clock all the time and I was really glad that we had made it in time. Luckily no one recorded this… The audience liked it anyway.

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

MS: – Playing and listening to standards is needed to understand the development and history of jazz. This music is timeless. Think about some Jazz CD´s from the 80´s and Fusion music- this music is dead. Standards are not dead. This is combining all Jazz Musicians over the world.

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

MS: – John Coltrane has done everything to open up new worlds with his music and to develop himself and the music further.But he, the grandson of a priest, probably had a very special approach to spirituality. Therefore there is probably no second John Coltrane on earth:) Of course, especially in despair, I like to let myself be inspired by him and try to continue working on myself and my music. It doesn’t necessarily have to be spiritual, but music should have a certain depth or soul in my opinion.

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

MS: – It would be fantastic if more people would listen to jazz again. Especially young people! A better social position for the profession Jazz musician would be just as desirable.

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

MS: – I’m listening to:

Chick Corea – Now he sings, now he sobs
Kiefer – Happysad
Michael Brecker – Two Blocks From The Edge
McCoy Tyner – Trident
Joe Henderson – In’N’Out
John Coltrane – both directions in music
Bill Evans – You must believe in spring

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

MS: – I love the music of the 60´s! So I would go to the USA, listening to „The Miles Davis Quintet“ or The „John Coltrane Quartet“. Cats like Herbie, Mccoy, Chick a.o. on the piano.

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

MS: – How is life and jazz in Armenia? I only know Tigran Hamasyan 🙂

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. So – so, but besides Hamasyan there are Yervand Margaryan – trumpeter, Vahagn Hayrapetyan – pianist, Armen Hyusnunts – saxophonist, beandlider Armenian jazz band, Arman Jalalyan – drummer and more others … And Yerevan jazz festival, which is organized by Kamo Movsisyan.

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

MS: – I don’t know what to say.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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