May 20, 2024

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Interview with Damien Groleau: I want to find answers with melodies, but we only can try … Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Damien Groleau. An interview by email in writing.

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

Damien Groleau: – I’m interested first for the large panel of expression that music can offer, and secondly to many possibilities to communicate with people. Music is my life, in a certain way my religion, and it’s a wonderful way to find peace, in society and with your closed ones.

I must admit that Erroll Garner and Duke Ellington was my first musical astonished experience when i was 12, it was the beginning of my love for jazz music, before being attracted by many others horizons.

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

DG: – The most important thing i keep in mind since i began to play, around my 6, was to look for my own way to play music. Obviously we love to recognize Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John Coltrane and so on, when they play just one note! But it’s a fabulous paradox that the more we want to sound like ourself, the more we need to study, copy exactly what play other musicans to find our proper way. I don’t know if it’s really effective for me but, it’s my way to lead my musician life.

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

DG: – Rythm is the oxygen of music, even if it’s rubato! It’s the same thing with a comedian, the sense of rhythm ( « sens du rythme » like in french ). I learned to apply exercices from Indian music, the rhythm is spoken, it’s a good way to never be lost in time. Rythm is essential, you cant’ dissociate from the other aspect of your musical work. Bach said a thing like this, «  you have to play the good note at the right time », it’s subject to interpretation, but we understand that is so important to feel the moment.

JBN: – 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?

DG: – Thank’s for your question, it’s really a compliment for me… I love so much Bill Evans, did you ever listen to his music with output harmonies ? I mean consciently output ? Like Bud Powell, Thelonius Monk, and many others, when you study their way yo play, all is «right», using the richness of harmonie itself, appoggiatures, late notes, advanced notes, you can find so much ways to play with dissonances and consonances, that you can find listening to those genius, it’s seems to be wrong but all is perfectly played! But i have to admit that i love to hear to Herbie Hancock, François Couturier, Django Bates etc… those musicians using others way to go out in harmonies! i’m fascinating by the harmonie,

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

DG: – Hum… I guess trying to play exactly like my influences is the best way for me! it’s sound so differently, probably because i don’t reach my goal, and the result is… another thing! I love so much musicians, Michel Camilo, Uri Caine, Keith Jarrett, Mario Canonge, Amaury Faye, Brad Mehldau, i would love to play exactly like all this wonderful artists, but… i can’t, and here finally my own universe, it’s really once again a big paradox for in artist life. It’s the same thing with most of painters, and writers…

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2019: <Damien Groleau Trio – Trilogues>, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

DG: – What i love the most in music is communication, that’s why i named the album «  Trilogues », trilogues with you, your instrument and music who borns with this association, trilogues with the trio, trilogues in my life with my wife and our child, and so many others way to create a third thing, or spirit with communication.

Image result for Damien Groleau Trio - Trilogues

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

DG: – I read something about John Coltrane, he said he didn’t care about the complexity or not of his music, the actual point was to touch people or not. Music needs and complex balance between architecture, techniques, sensibility and energy, i’m sure you have to achieves many steps before to be able to express yourself without any boundaries.

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

DG: – I often ask me this question, do i have to follow the movement or listen to what i really need to play, and i vote for the second, even it’s not the best way to be popular… But i always keep in mind to reach my public anyway trying to give them somethings to feel the moment and see others worlds.

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

DG: – The first time i played in US in the university of Washington, with Paulien Brikkenaar van Dijk, Royce Campbell, Chris Damon and David Drubin, or when i first played with Didier Lockwood, and so many people to thank about musical emotions. Musician’s life sometimes can be so rich! it’s a bless.

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

DG: – I think that melody is eternal, and the most important thing beyond all is to sing and touch with melodies despite styles and musical heritages. But today, like every times, musical landscapes are changing, even if a lot of young people keep studying jazz music, the world is moving… and Jazz gets a nice presence on festivals and radios today isn’t it ?

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

DG: – Music is for me a way to be in Life, i do agree with John Coltrane, music is my spirit, nights and days during all those years and i hope for my entire life.

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

DG: – I would be rich and famous ? No i’m kidding. I love so much the result of history, i mean, in 2019, we have the privilege to know the music of Jean Sebastien Bach, Frantz Liszt, Duke Ellington etc… maybe the only thing i would change is the timeline, why not being in 2519 and see what human genius has bring in music ?

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

DG: – I’m listening to Amaury Faye, a young pianist who studied in Boston and, i think he’s one of this guy who will be able to bring music a little further, and the music of Bebo Valdès which i particularly love this times..

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

DG: – I want to bring Peace, i want to find answers with melodies, but we only can try…

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

DG: – In the 19 century, i love so much this time in history of arts in general, in Europe you had Chopin, Liszt, Gabriel Fauré, Gustave Courbet, Victor Hugo, it was a wonderful time for creativity.

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

DG: – Would you be interested by my next releases?

JBN: – Thanks for answers. Yes, of course!

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

DG: – I am able to say… thank’s for all tis consideration ! Thank’s Simon for your great questions, and maybe we will have privilege to see each other one day for real.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Image result for Damien Groleau

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