May 21, 2024

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Interview with Jason Foureman: Music is ephemeral and divine: Video, New CD cover

Jazz interview with jazz bassist Jason Foureman. An interview by email in writing. – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Jason Foureman: – Well I suppose it started when I was a child, listening to my Father’s classical music collection. Lots of Bach and Beethoven. My neighbors listened to country music and jazz. So a wide variety of music was always around. I am from Durham, North Carolina USA.

JBN: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

JF: – My sound has progressed by listening, transcribing and emulating my favorite bassists. Namely, Rufus Reid, Charlie Haden, Sam Jones and Ray Brown.

JBN: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

JF: – Rhythmically speaking my development has come from transcribing solos of Lester Young, Charlie Christian, and Fats Navarro. Transcription and playing along with recordings can really help establish your rhythmic feel, especially the people I listed. Their rhythmic placement and feel is incredibly precise.

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

JF: – Well I think everything influences how I play. Disparate or similiar I think that it all has an effect on the music.

JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

JF: – I run. I’ve always run and about five years ago I started running ultra marathons (races over 26.2 miles) and have done races of 50 and even 100 miles. Running and training gives me balance to my life and career that I greatly need. As for specific preparation of a performance…there is none. Between family, teaching, playing and training there is no time. I need to be ready to perform at any time.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2020: <Jason Foureman & Stephen Anderson – Duo>, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

JF: – What I like most is how quick it happened. Steve and I talked about doing it, then did it. Time in the studio went by very quickly and we captured the real flow of our music. In two days we were done with everything, including the mixing. It’s almost like once we figured out that we could do it, we became very excited at the idea and couldn’t wait to get it done. Currently I am working on going back to teaching at the University and dealing with all of the changes resulting from COVID-19.

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?

JF: – My sound is constantly evolving as I am always listening to music. As far as how I selected Steve, I didn’t. It’s more like the project chose us.

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

JF: – It is in constant flux due to the needs of the music that you are performing. You should be as soulful as you possibly can at all times. That being said there are times when you must rely purely on your intellect to get you through a situation.

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

JF: – The only thing that I can say here is that as a performer you should play honestly and from the heart and the audience will find you. You need to be able to bring your integrity to any musical situation.

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

JF: – I feel that exposure to good jazz and jazz musicians is all that is needed. The music will speak for itself, we just need to give it an opportunity to be heard. I can’t stress enough though, there needs to be good musicians playing it.

JBN: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

JF: – Wow, deep question. Well I comprehend things like this; we came from somewhere and are on a journey going somewhere, though I’m not really sure what that place is. Music is ephemeral and divine. Trane understood music on a different level than almost anyone else. As far as the meaning of life, it depends on what we give meaning to. For me it’s my family. Being a good and supportive husband to my wife and Father to my kids is the meaning of my existence.

JBN: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

JF: – That musicians in this country could have better access to health insurance and some type of retirement.

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

JF: – My 4 year old son loves Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and Foy Vance, so I hear that a lot. I love listening to Red Mitchell and Christian McBride. And Bach’s Goldberg Variations are almost always on my play list.

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

JF: – That there is beauty in this work.

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

JF: – About 10 years ago my wife and I had an amazing dinner on the beach, just the two of us. It was very late and the moon was full and low and she looked so lovely. Such a beautiful night. So yeah, that.

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

JF: – What has drawn you to jazz music and musicians?

JBN: – Jazz is my LIFE!!!!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Jason Foureman - Department of Music

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