Jazz interview with jazz trumpeter Win Pongsakorn. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.com: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested music?
Win Pongsakorn: – I was born in Bangkok, Thailand in 1992. I was the only one in the family who became a musician and my family always supported me.
When I was 10 in 2002, I joined a marching band and I played there until I finished middle School in 2007. I decided to continue studying classical trumpet in a pre-college program at the College of Music Mahidol University Bangkok, Thailand. So I studied classical trumpet for 3 years in high school. During that time I tried to explore every kind of music. I found the recording of Art Farmer Quartet Live at the Smithsonian 1982. Hearing that recording really made me interested in jazz music because I wanted to know what he was playing and I curious to know that?
Then I start to studied by listening and asked a professor in collage to guide me. When I finished my high school with a classical certificate. I decided to continued study a bachelor of music in Jazz performance in the same college. When I graduated I moved to Graz, Austria to Continued Bachelor and Master at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.
JBN: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
WP: – Actually I grew up with listening of many kind of music. So basically my sound was influenced from the past generations with Jazz language, articulations, and the way I respect the music that it should be.
I learned to compose and arrange music in the different environments, places, and people in the way that I heard or saw at that moment. I tried to bring out the characteristics of the places and people that I have met. I think that is the way I found and developed my sound.
JBN: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
WP: – I start my routine with long tones, then James Stamp and Clarke studies. It depends on how I’m feeling that day, sometimes I do Arban’s book as well.
The way that I developed to maintain and improve my current musical ability, especially pertaining to rhythm, is transcriptions. I did a lot of transcriptions, analysed, and played along with the recording. Not only trumpet players, I also transcribed saxophonists and pianists as well. Sometimes I will listen to the way a pianist is comping and how they have a conversation with drums.
JBN: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?
WP: – I think I have no reason to prevent disparate influences from affecting my music because everything that happens always has a reason in the way it should be. I am just looking for positive way to develop my music.
JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?
WP: – Most of the time before I have a performance I’ll listen to a recording that I like a day before a concert to get inspiration and keep my musical stamina.
JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2020: <Yes, it is>, how it was formed and what you are working on today.
WP: – The most thing that I like about my album <Yes, it is! Introducing Win Pongsakorn> is the fresh sound and way musicians collaborated in the band. We speak and understand the music in the way that it is supposed to be. We shared ideas about the songs and made my music even better..
Currently I’m working on debut tours of Europe and South East Asia and of course always making a new music.
JBN: – Ism? is culled from a variety of lives dates with various performers over the course of a few years. Did you sound evolve during that time? And How did you select the musicians who play on the album.
WP: – This project had a short period of rehearsal and recording. We had two rehearsals and two days for recording in Udine, Italy. It challenged me to explain and make them understand my music in a short period of time, but they were outstanding musicians. We connected and had a great time in the studio.
I first met Matyas Gayer and Oleg Markov when we studied at University of music and performing Arts Graz, Austria. Me and Oleg performed together for a year with different band. Matyas also had his own project with Oleg. I felt connected with their musical style and the way they interpret music. That is basically why I recorded with both of them.
Milan Nikolic, I didn’t know him prior to the recording. I got to know him because Jim Rotondi introduced me to him because I was looking for a bass player for the album. I sent my music to him and he was interested and agreed to do it.
JBN: – What’s the balance in the music between intellect and soul?
WP: – The balance of both things is how and when you going to use it. Sometime you don’t need intellect to guide the way you play. You just need your soul and let it work by itself. Enjoy things that you do and let it lead you to the balance of intellect and soul.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want.
WP: – In my opinion, I think I care about what the audience want musically. If people listen to my music and they can dance along, that’s what I want. In the same way, I could also play something that the audience will not appreciate. Everything is all about perspective. Like Roy Hargrove said “Let’s music speak for itself”.
JBN: – Please any memories from gigs, jams open acts and studio session which you’d like to share with us?
WP: – One of my best memories regarding performing is when I had a chance to perform with Sheila Jordan in Graz, Austria. I learned a lot from her and heard so many great stories that I would never find anywhere else. After the concert we met in the backstage and she said “I like your smile on stage, keep smiling and keep bluesy like you did” that was my great memories.
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
WP: – This is very easy to answer, music will never get old for me. You still can hear Sinatra or the Great American Songbook in movie soundtracks everyday. It depends on wether the young people will hear the value of the music which is already created and developed half a century ago. But for me, I heard it.
JBN: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
WP: – The spirit is something inside everyone which helps identify who each person is. The meaning of life for me is that I was born to give and send to the next generations.
JBN: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, What would that be?
WP: – For me, I believe everything happens for a reason. So I don’t want to change anything because changing something will always have a consequence too.
JBN: – Who do you find yourself listening to these day?
WP: – Freddie Hubbard, Jim Rotodi, Nicholas Payton, Cedar Walton, George Cables, Johnny O’neal, Marquis Hill, Woody Shaw, Joe Newman, Donald Byrd, Ahmad Jamal, Joe Magnarelli, Basie, Ellington, I can keep saying it for the whole day.
JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
WP: – I will use a message from my mentor and Producer Jim Rotondi.
“When You listen to this, You gonna feel and sense joy and passion about music and those are certainly to the most important things qualities to music that they are.”
JBN: – Let’s talk a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
WP: – I would go to the United States 200 years from today and see how music has developed in the future.
JBN: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…
WP: – Now a days what do you think about the reduced popularity of CD’s and their being replaced by streaming and other digital platforms?
How do you think streaming is affecting the music industry?
JBN: – Thank for answers. The bad, very bad, after the valves, now digital MP3s, it’s a threat …
JBN: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?
WP: – I’m looking forward to growing, learning, and sharing my music to the people as much as I can.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan