May 18, 2024

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Interview with Masha Art: I don’t like the way I sound: Video

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Masha Art. An interview by email in writing. – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Masha Art: – I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Russia. I startedsaxophone when I was 10 years old and I liked the final themefrom the cartoon called «Darkwing Duck ». Then lost my interest for a while because of a complicated relationship with my teacher. What is more, when I was 12 I broke my spine and got 3 concussions in half a year. So that’s how I started with jazz. I had to go to the music college (Mussorgsky) to live normally with such an addiction as jazz.

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

MA: – During my early youth, I played a lot of different exercises for many hours, transcribed solos and copied the sound of Parker, Ederley, Coltrane. Then I listened a lot to Joe Lovano, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter. However, I don’t like the sound of alto saxophone, I played the tenor, but because of the injury, I had to switch to alto.

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

MA: – Yet I have not found 100 percent working and effective saxophone exercises. Everything is definitely in our head. I can say for sure that I began to play more incisively after taking a course of neuroleptics and antidepressants. I often fell out of reality and one should do a great effort to find logic in my solos. Now I regularly use the Indian practicing system “Konakol”, I also create various combinations of syllables and durations, which can shift the accents, going far from the main strong shares.

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?

MA: – I like the SUS-sound very much, and large minor ones with low or high fifth scale degree – I would use them everywhere. I often use altered scales on live performances, since the state of mind is very consistent with its sound. It is difficult to use off-sсale degrees when you feel tenderness and shyness to music.

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

MA: – If people had an idea of what kind of music they are going to and their expectations meet reality, then there is a chance that there will be a connection between us. Unfortunately, for various reasons, it happens so that I don’t like the way I sound, I close myself in, tense up and as a result, people get a «cocktail» not from relax and love, but a drink of doubts and rejection.

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

MA: – As well as modern. I’m proving it with my own example. People care about the contact they have with certain people, choosing certain music. Let’s listen to music together and then the mirror neurons of the other will do their work and then, again and again, the student will feel joy. At least let’s realize the tremendous value of that music and the need to learn it.

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

MA: – I think that the meaning of life is to feel the presence of your soul. When we feel it, there is no doubt that God exists. John Coltrane is my favorite saxophonist just for this reason – through his music, we can embrace his soul. His sound proves the idea of the existence of God.

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

MA: – Brad Mehldau, David Binney, Camilla Bataglia, Emma Frank, Dhafer Youseef – I’m following these guys the last 4-5 years.

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

MA: – Probably I’m sending something else, but it seems that the most important thing is to send love, otherwise the music becomes just an informational message.

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

MA: – I would like to see how God created the world.

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

MA: – What would you change in today’s music situation?

JBN: – Thanks for answers. I would remove or not provide a scene of bad musicians, especially in jazz …

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

MA: – There are some interesting projects. We grow to live and we live to grow, so I’m constantly improving. I want more and more.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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