Jazz interview with jazz drummer Ziv Ravitz. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Ziv Ravitz: – I grew up in Israel. I was born into a family of musicians. I was surrounded by music. As a kid I was drown to drums. played everything I could with a pair of sticks.
JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
ZR: – The biggest lesson I learned over time is that the biggest commodity anyone have is the way they see the world. They are the only one to see it that way. It is not an easy task, but committing to that is the way to really pursue a personal voice. Let go of what you think others hear you or mimicking someone else. really follow what you hear inside your head and what makes you happy when you play. be persistence with that.
JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
ZR: – I do not have a specific practice routine that i do everyday. It depends what I want to work on that day. it can be different or the same but it is what the day ask for. but when working with rhythm I treat every exercise with the same 2 elements. First element is to Listen to the space between the notes. Notice the space they create and by that increase the accuracy of the notes them selves. Second element is what ever exercise I do, I take it over different meters. Dealing with meters help one develop better time.
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?
ZR: – I do not think of composition in that way. I compose what I want to compose and what I hear in my head. Using concepts as composition tools is great when I have writer block, then I use a tool like deciding to write with a dissonance or not. My music does have dissonance in it but i like balance. I like that even there is a dissonance it will not feel as that but as a color to balance the pallet of sounds I want to convey in the composition. The same it is for me in using complex rhythms. I would love to use them if they serve the music the same as with dissonances. they are just tools for the compositions.
JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?
ZR: – You cannot avoid influences. the only way is to accept that this will effect you. at the end when facing any decision you it is you infant of you. wether you are influence by something or not. in that moment listen deeply to what your voice want to say. and wether you want it or not it will be tented by the influences in your life. not just music…
JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
ZR: – It is very hard to say. In every step there are moments that one is more present than the other. When composing a song your soul is searching for the story but your intellect helps you construct the composition it self. When you play your instrument you use all your skills that you developed over the years combining with the analysis one is doing in the moment of the music but all of those decisions are going through the looking glass of your soul. there for this answer is very hard to answer clearly. but for me I feel that the balance of emotions is higher in comparison to the intellect.
JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?
ZR: – I cannot give the people what they want because I do not know what that is. I agree there is a relationship between the audience and the artist and it is an important one. with out any of the two sides the equation will not work. What I want to give the audience is honesty from my side. to stand behind my art to represent it honestly. for the audience the difference between a diminished chord to an augmented one is not that obvious but they do understand the emotions stand behind that. So as long I can transfer my emotions in an honest way to the audience then I am giving to the audience what I FEEL that they need. I am not sure if that what they really want…
JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
ZR: – One of the most memorable moments I had was during a recording session with Shai Maestro. He asked me to play a solo piece over the voice of Neliy Androva and Theo Blackmann. I remember this moment so well. As if all stand still for me. SO many memories and emotions were running through my head just before starting to play. I was overwhelmed by emotions and then the feeling of letting go and disappear in the music was so magical. I loved that moment…
JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
ZR: – Jazz musicians are hanging too much for that music. it is very very important music for the development of that genre and I love playing it. But that music was written in a different time with different intention behind it. I think the way to bring people closer to jazz is to play who we are today. you can still play those standards which are just beautiful songs but with the intention of today behind it. it will not sound like the “Jazz” that people think. Jazz for me is freedom. It can be many things. not just those standards. But the way to bring it is to start this education early. expose children to Jazz but not traditional jazz because that will not talk to them. we show them the music of jazz today. and by saying that I am not saying contemporary jazz, although that is amazing as well. I am thinking there is a need for progression for a program depended on the target audience. Depends where we are in the world. We have a mission as jazz musicians to bring more people to the community. Jazz is Dying. it is such an amazing art form and it is slowly dying.
JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
ZR: – I think that this question is the one that will keep change till the end of my life. The meaning of life is different everyday. As long as you live the moment life is there to share that with you. The Spirit that coltrane was referring to is more to do with what guide him in his path in life (I think). For me the line separating between life, music, love, relationships, children all of it is one. it all comes from the same source. I live my life where music guide everything in me but also let many other elements of life guide me. and I let those effect the music in me. it is a whirlpool that effect each other not knowing what effects what. I just enjoy the current of my river and let it be.
JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
ZR: – If I would had to change one thing in this world to become a reality is to not deal so much with the business behind the music. One need so much time to deal with everything around music these days that it takes energy from the music it self.
JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
ZR: – These days I went back to listen to String Quartets of Bartok and Piano pieces of Ravel.
JBN.S: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
ZR: – We are all the same. No one is more important than the other. We need to listen to each other and connect. Share our thoughts and emotions. I wish so much that we will all be able to release our ego and find balance with out that need. In music all is possible.
JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
ZR: – I have to say that there is no other time I would like to be in more than now. But I would go in time I would love to go to the time before all of this when man and nature was one to see how it was then. but not to stay there…just to visit 🙂
JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…
ZR: – How can you help to bring music to more people? to enrich their life with that.
JBN.S: – Thanks for answers. For this, You had to agree with our condition of cooperation and cooperation with us.
JBN.S: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?
ZR: – I am not sure I understand the question I have to say…If you are talking about music and how can I harness music, then I do it everyday. with everything I do.
How I talk to people. How I eat. How I love. Music is in everything (sounds cheesy but it is true! I love what music gave me in my life. this propose and passion. this energy and drive. music is a gift!
Interview by Simon Sargsyan