Jazz interview with jazz pianist, keyboardist and vocalist Grégory Privat. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.com: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Grégory Privat: – I grew up in Martinique. My father is a piano player, and a big fan of jazz music, so he gave me this passion for music and for the piano.
JBN: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
GP: – I think it’s a long process, in a more emotional way than a technical way. I’m not sure to know how to explain how it works, but maybe at the beginning I used to try to find the sound of other piano players I was listening to when I was younger. And later it was more about trying to listen to my own inner voice, and how I wanted to hear a note.
JBN: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
GP: – I don’t practice rhythm. But I like rhythmical music a lot. I would love to play the drums actually.
Here also, I think it’s about listening, and feel the music and the rhythm inside your body.
JBN: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?
GP: – I would say that you have to meditate on what you are playing, and what is happening inside during the performance, and stay true to yourself and your emotions.
JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?
GP: – The day of a concert I think my body prepare itself to the performance, unconsciously. But I think I should not really try to prepare too much, and stay cool, have a good laugh with Tilo and Chris. Because I think it’s more about enjoying the present moment.
Also I don’t really like to eat before.
JBN: – Ism is culled from a variety of lives dates with various performers over the course of a few years. Did your sound evolve during that time? And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?
GP: – I think you learn about yourself a lot as a sideman, your skills, your sound.
I like the way that someone can be a good musician and a good person. Chris and Tilo are very different in styles, and still I really like the result of them playing together.
JBN: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
GP: – I think it’s more about soul at the beginning. I use the intellect to explain what’s going on into the music. But it has to represent the true expression of the soul first. That’s why I pay a lot attention to the melody when I’m composing a piece.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?
GP: – No. But I like to entertain and to surprise. I think the surprise is part of the entertainment.
Also, I’m not against the fact that people can have fun, clap, or dance during a jazz concert. The role of a musician is to connect with the audience and bring people together.
JBN: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
GP: – Music has to be a cool thing. Tradition is very important. It’s a beautiful tool. But at the same time, I think a musician must be open minded, keep a connection with pop music, with technology and modernity, and be courageous enough to try new things, and sometimes be prepared to criticisms.
JBN: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
GP: – Jazz music is my spirituality. It’s my way to connect with god, to understand the meaning of life, and to be a better human being every day.
JBN: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
GP: – The musical world is already changing every day. I think we (musicians) change the musical world each time we make an album.
JBN: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
GP: – A lot of different things. Classical music … Gabriel Fauré, Sergueï Rachmaninov, Sergueï Prokofiev… Jazz Music … Jacob Collier, Robert Glasper, Thundercat … Pop … Rufus Wainright, The Weeknd.
JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
GP: – Spirituality, Optimism, Light and Energy coming to You. SOLEY 🙂
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
GP: – Now 🙂
JBN: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…
GP: – Do you believe in God?
JBN: – Yes, of course. I am a descendant of the Armenian Apostolic Church!!!
JBN: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?
GP: – Very well, I hope.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan