Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Bálint Gyémánt. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Bálint Gyémánt: – Bálint and I both grew up in Budapest, Hungary. There were no musicians in my family, so choosing the freedom of jazz was my way of rebelling against the rules. For me the rock music and the guitar playing was the two biggest inspirations.
JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the guitar? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the guitar?
BG: – The guitar was a big love for me from the first time. I started to learn classical music, than rock, and finally the freedom of jazz. I had many great teachers in Hungary and also is Oslo. I won a scholarship to the Norwegian Academy of Music, it was a very important part of my life musically. I’m very grateful for this time.
JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
BG: – I’m searching constantly. I think that the people I play with influence me a lot, and I’m lucky to have played many concerts from the beginning on, which gave me a certain experience. I’m not afraid of taking risks in music, which is essential if you are looking for new sounds.
JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
BG: – Mostly I am focusing for really simple scales, easy exercises, but practicing them very precisely. The main idea is to never give up the quality of the sound I am making on the guitar.
JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?
BG: To be honest, I am not really thinking that way. In music I would like to communicate something very honest. In jazz, almost anything could be an inspration, this is why it’s tho most interesting genre of music for me.
JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
BG: – For me it’s very important to speak fluently on my instrument in the music I play. If I have to choose, I am more like a ‘soul’ guy.
JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?
BG: – No, for us it’s the other way around. We do what we do, and people decide if they want it or not. Fortunately a lot of people want to hear our music, so we can keep working. We’re very lucky with that.
JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions, which you’d like to share with us?
BG: – Last year I made a solo album with my trio, and had Shai Maestro the brilliant pianist as a guest. These kinds of sessions are very inspiring, and also I could learn a lot from it. I also had the chance to play and record with Joey Calderazzo like ten years ago. With Veronika, we played with Erik Truffaz. These moments are very special in my life. To work with these kind of geniuses keep me fresh. It’s always remind me to work on myself as a musician, and as a human being.
JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
BG: – I don’t think that every listener has to know the music history. Jazz is the freedom, and the only genre what can make a fusion with any kind of art. We just have to show the new generations, that this is the coolest thing in the world. J
JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
BG: – I would like to eliminate the bias of the audience, and make them interested in unknown music. So that they would come to the concert even if they don’t know the artist, and let us surprise them. This happens many times by the way, but it would be great to see even more listeners open enough to try something they don’t know.
JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
BG: – I am interested in every kind of music. Just looking for the story what somebody telling me in his or her art.
JBN.S: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
BG: – Joy!
JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
BG: – I would love to se Bach. How he worked, composed, lived. I would not be brave enough to talk to him about music, just would be great to sit on a chair and see him painting with notes.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan