June 13, 2024

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Interview with Florian Weiss: An intellectual approach to composing can be very inspirational: Video

Jazz interview with jazz trombonist and composer Florian Weiss. 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?

Florian Weiss: – In my pieces I try to incorporate the improvised parts into a composition in such a way that they carry the bow of the tune decisively. But of course, it is still up to the improvising musicians, where they want to go, depending on a current mood, the room, the audience… Nevertheless, I often find myself taking not necesseraly the same paths, but playing a similar dramaturgy in my solos.

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? 

FW: – You mean, that people who are really good musicians sometimes not get the attention they would deserve? Yes of course, this happens a lot.

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?

FW: – The business is really tough and I think, a very difficult part about being a professional musician is learning to deal with it and try to not-burn out. Taking some time off helps, maybe have some other hobby besides music… But I’m still in my twenties, so who knows what I’m gonna say about that in 10 years.

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

FW: – My music, my playing, myself – everything is what it is because of all the influences I’ve had in my life. I think this is a natural and beautiful thing, isn’t it?

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

FW: – For me, knowing about music theory helps me to find ways to express certain musical intentions. An intellectual approach to composing can be very inspirational. But in the end, the music must speak to the soul.

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

FW: – Of course, I’m happy, if people like what we do on stage. But to me it should not have an influence on artistic decisions, whether people will buy the music or not. I like to think of it more as “lending a hand” to the audience, when we play let’s say a more complex composition. It can be something musical, like pairing a harmonically difficult part with a rhythmical basic one, or it can be also by giving the audience a hint in the announcement, what they could specifically watch out for in the following piece.

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

This dude has no memories?

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

FW: – The main issue here is the term “Jazz”. What is jazz? The term is being used for so many different styles and approaches to music, that for most of the listeners it became very unclear what a jazz-gig could sound like. Especially young people, who have might been confronted with the term “jazz” in school often expect there to be a saxophone player who would play loud and crazy fast lines. A big chaos! I think that’s where it starts: incorporating contemporary and improvised music into school. Build an understanding. Show the kids different styles of “jazz”. I think, that’s where they could get hooked.

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

FW: – I do teach some private students but I consider myself more a performing musician and I have been composing since my teenage years. It gets easier with practice.

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?

FW: – “A genius is the one most like himself.” I do think, that its important to have an original approach, but it wont be great, if you have to force it to be original. Writing music nourishes my playing and vice versa. It’s just a different kind of practicing, but in the end leads to the same thing.

JBN: – Do you have an idea of what it is you’re trying to say or get across? Is it an idea or is it just something that we feel?

FW: – Sometimes I have very specific stories or atmospheres in mind, when I work on a composition. But in the end, it’s up the the listener if they want to follow my story or build their own ones.

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?

FW: – Having a family, never giving up making music, never stop learning and evolving. I hope won’t stop listening to carefully made music and expressing their appreciation for it.

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

FW: – I have been listening to “Platinum on Tap” by Chris Speed, Chris Tordini and Dave King a lot these days.

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

FW: – Live in the here and now, listen, argue, breathe, be bored, be present, be attentive, embrace.

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

FW: – Probably to the future to see if mankind manages to save this planet.

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

This dude has no question for us?

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

FW: – Thank you for making me think carefully about some things!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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