June 14, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

Interview with Denman Maroney: Everything is related: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist and composer Denman Maroney. An interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.com: – When you improvise, you know where you’re going. It’s a matter of taking certain paths and certain directions?

Denman Maroney: – An improvisation is a conversation. We share a vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. In a structured improvisation, we know where we’re going and think and feel our way there together. In a free improvisation, we don’t know, but we know what we want to play and let the sounds take us there. Unlike talking, we can play simultaneously and still hear, understand, and direct each other. At given moments we decide who leads, follows, or goes on together, what changes and what doesn’t.

JBN: – Do you ever get the feeling that music majors, and particularly people who are going into jazz, are being cranked out much like business majors? That they are not really able to express themselves as jazz musicians?

DM: – I don’t teach, so I couldn’t say, but I do find it odd that tradition is founded on the work of innovators. We stand on the shoulders of giants, but ultimately we have to jump off.

JBN: – What about somebody who is really gifted and puts together a band and just gets upset to the point of quitting because of the business aspects-the agents and the clubs?

DM: – There always will be tension between artists who want to fill heads and producers who want to fill seats.

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

DM: – That is neither possible nor desirable.

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

DM: – You can’t have one without the other.

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

DM: – I play what I want to hear and believe if I want to hear it, you must want to, too.

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

DM: – I prefer to live in the present.

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

DM: – You can’t be new if you don’t know old.

JBN: – And lastly, being a teacher, do you find it difficult to write music yourself?

DM: – I’m not a teacher now, but even when I was, no.

JBN: – How important is it to you to have an original approach? Can you comment on the bridge between being a musician and being a composer?

DM: – I am I, so I celebrate myself and sing myself. I feel no less me playing your music than mine.

JBN: – Do you have an idea of what it is you’re trying to say or get across?

DM: – Is it an idea or is it just something that we feel? Feelings and ideas cannot be separated.

JBN: – What do you see for your extended future? You know what you have going on? You have life? If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

DM: – I would like everyone to know that there are only two kinds of music: good and bad.

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

DM: – I crave the silence and darkness that modern life obliterates.

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

DM: – Everything is related.

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

DM: – La Grotte de Chauvet.

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

DM: – May I go make my coffee now?

JBN: – Thanks for answers. Yes, of course, but it would be nice to answer questions normally so that readers know your intelligence, if any.

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

DM: – I don’t know yet but know I’ll think of something.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan


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