June 14, 2024


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Interview with Laurent Maur: Them dream or escape from the weared world we are living in … Video

Jazz interview with jazz harmonica player Laurent Maur. An interview by email in writing.

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

Laurent Maur: – I was born in Paris, then moved to south east of france (near avignon) .music came early in my life, but just as a listener (jazz, blues, rock, pop, classical, etc), i began to practice music around 18th years old (blues harmonica) then i moved to paris and earn my life baskin in the subway and streets for 4 years, after that i met some musicians to play blues with and around 24 i did a jazz school and switched to chromatic harmonica.

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

LM: – The sound is pretty influenced by Toots i guess, HE was the sound, so i tried to imitate him the best i could and then i guess tried to keep a good sound and developing «my own» sound.

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

LM: – I used to play with latin guys in the past, and from them i realized i know nothing about rhythm!! so worked on it to try to improve it … my main exercice is when i practice scales, arpeggios or whatever technique, i always mix the exercise with something rhythmic for example, if i work on even division (eights notes for example) i will accentuate or use 3 or 6 ,notes pattern and same if i practice triplets, i would use even number of notes (2, 4, 8) which allows you to play polyrhythms.

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?

LM: – I like play «in» for sure, and i like contrasts in music so i think play some «out» notes is necessary, i guess, to maintain people ear’s interest in what’s going on.

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

LM: – I want to play so everybody can understand what’s going on (i try at least ), so my recipe is to put a lot of good groove, or swing or whatever you call it that makes people feel good in their body, and then use the harmony and melody to make them dream or escape from the weared world we are living in …

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

LM: – I like freedom and i also like to communicate with people through music, so i keep my freedom but always think on doing a good program so that the audience his not bored after 20 minutes we play, so much marvelous and different things to play, variety is a good key to please both musicians and audience i think …

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

LM: – Oh man, so many good stuffs in a musician’s i still have a very good memory of just hanging around town in Beijing (i use to live there) after a gig a little drunk, discovering the city on my electric motorbike: absolute freedom!!

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

LM: – I think jazz is a way to play, if you make a young guy listen to Duke, Armstrong, Bird … if he has a little of taste he will find the thing interesting, it ’s the way you play it that does the thing i think … when i discover bird i was 20 years old, and his music was already 30 years old, and what about bach or Mozart? just kidding, i think the main problem nowadays (at least in france) is that on TV don’t have access to the good stuffs anymore !! when i was kid, movie soundtracks, TV shows, cartoons (remember the music in those Tex avery!?) good music was everywhere, so even if you didn’t know you were listening to good music, you actually were !! it’s not the same at all nowadays …

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

LM: – I don’t really know, i just know that when i first bought an harmonica and try to do something with it, i knew it would be for the rest of my life … i don’t know if it ’s spirit? did i have a choice? i still don’t know.

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

LM: – I would like the jazz community to be a real brotherhood.

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

LM: – Getz, Bill Evans, Coltrane, Bird, Miles, Cannonball, Toots … you know, the guides!! and also i discovered tiny desk concerts recently, i like to go there and check new stuffs!

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

LM: – Peace and love i guess …

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

LM: – I would like to see all those guys for real!! and if i have to choose one place and time, the «in the still of the night» from bird with a choir, his playing and expressivity is so beautiful and soulful and makes me cry often … thank you Bird …

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

LM: – What are you listening theses days? i will check it, new influence is always good.

JBN: – Thanks for answers. Joe Lovano, Keith Jarrett, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Toots Thielemans, Dave Douglas and more others.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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