June 21, 2024


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Interview with Kenny Werner: Since Trump’s been elected I am totally a-political: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist and composer Kenny Werner. An interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.com: – Please explain your creative process.

Kenny Werner: – I put my hands on the piano and allow them to lead me. I as a composer I put notes together and they organize themselves. Then I get a sense of what it could become and go from there. Sometimes I have a specific theme in my head and I just write it down. That also happens.

JBN: – What are your main impulses to write music?

KW: – Not really motivated right now. Instead I’m writing a new book.

JBN: – What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments and pieces in your work and/or career?

KW: – A CD I did for a Japanese label in the early 90s called Paintings. 2006 CD “Lawn Chair Society “ for Blue Note. One I did for Half Note in 2009, I believe titled “No Beginning, No End.” Early 80s, “Uncovered Heart. My latest solo CD “The Space.” And really any of my trio cds.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2019: <Solo In Stuttgart>, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

KW: – I allowed the notes to come through and watched them happen from “The Space.” Right now I’m working on a new book. The solo in Stuttgart is just me in 1992.

JBN: – You’re very active politically online, but you’ve mentioned that you keep it separate from your music?

KW: – Sometimes I make a point with my music. Lawn Chair Society was very political. But since Trump’s been elected I am totally a-political. I watch “West Wing” on Netflix. That is my government.

JBN: – How would you describe and rate the music scene you are currently living?

KW: – Some of the greatest instrumentalists we’ve ever had. A lot of them. Younger all the time. There must be a mass reincarnation for years now of former music masters.

JBN: – What’s an average day like for you?

KW: – Wake up, meditate, do some work, have breakfast. I routinely go to an Ashram. Chant, meditate, but I might do work or practice a bit. Time at home is very unstructured and not too fascinating,

JBN: – Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?

KW: – Today, I just imagine that the music comes from a Universal Consciousness and I am the instrument. I try to “follow” what wants to happen.

JBN: – Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans.

KW: – I don’t do a lot of social edia. I respond to people who email me and are very grateful for something I’ve done. I try to be respectful and understand that that person must have been really moved to take the time to write to me. When I see them in person I try to be gracious. The music or talent is a gift to me and is meant to be hared with them.

JBN: – What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite?

KW: – Favorite part: A lot of freedom to control my schedule. Least Favorite: Uncertainty.

JBN: – Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?

KW: – Not much. It has occurred, being nervous before a performance, but I wouldn’t say performance anxiety. I try to remember that it’s only music. It’s not life or death. That’s more a delusion of the ego.

JBN: – Tell me about your favorite performance venues.

KW: – Oh, I don’t know. Lets skip this. I can’t remember most of them…

JBN: – What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

KW: – Only do it if you have to. Don’t think “I should be a musician.” Only if you have no choice. And if that’s where your love is.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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