May 27, 2024

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Interview with Fred Farell: It’s said that balance is the key to life: Video

Jazz interview with jazz vocalist and liricist Fred Farell. An interview by email in writing.

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

Fred Farell: – I was born in 1945 and grew up in Paterson, New Jersey. My Mother was an Amateur Singer. I loved hearing her sing! Later at about 10 years old I began playing drums, until my late teen years.

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

FF: – My sound evolved through listening to ALL the great singers and crooners of the day. I listened intensely to their recordings trying to emulate all the styles they represented.

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

FF: – I sing the Standards daily, augmented with Vocal Scales learned from Voice Coaches. I try to implement varied Phrasing and Tempos in that Practice.

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?

FF: – I am not a schooled Musician. The Harmonies on the CD selections were written in the 1970’s by Liebman, and Beirach respectively, who studied the Classics, and with teachers like Lennie Tristano. The compositions selected were their very first writings. I was immediately attracted to the melodies and harmonic patterns for which the lyrics were composed.

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

FF: – I’ve ever listened to colors what I’m re-creating as a singer.

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

FF: – It’s said that balance is the key to life. The balance between Intellect and soul I think depends upon the artist, and what what they might want to convey to an audience.

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

FF: – What I believe the audience desires is the truth of who the artist really is through His or her’s art form and presentation. I’m ok with giving that of myself.

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

FF: – Studying vocal Improvisation with Richie at his Spring Street, NYC living space. My first gig at Richard’s Lounge, Lakewood, NJ, on which Barry Harris played the final night. Being asked by Jay Clayton to join “The Voice Group”, which she conducted.

Being asked by Mark Murphy to attend a recording date of his on 57th street, NYC.

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

FF: – Keep playing the Standards with a High Degree of Integrity – and Creativity in venues from Schools, Colleges, and of course Clubs. Share the recordings of the great Jazz masters past and present!

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

FF: – I endeavor to live guided by father, son, and holy spirit in my thoughts, actions, and deeds. This choice directly impacts my life as an artist, and brings me to wholeness as a person.

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

FF: – That every musical artist would have their niche and enough work to support that existence.

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

FF: – I still listen to “Bird”, Miles and Trane – for me they represent the blueprint for JAZZ. Lately, I’ve been listening to a variety of pianists in the Jazz idiom – solo, and in group formats.

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

FF: – I’d say that healthy Introspection, and a deep connection with God, makes you a better Individual, and makes this a better planet to coexist on.

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

FF: – My time is now … for me, the present is the most exciting place to be!

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

FF: – Interestingly, how long did it take you to formulate these In Depth Questions?

JBN: – Thanks for answers. More …

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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