June 22, 2024


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Interview with Steve Beresford: I generally do not select musicians: Video

Jazz interview with pianist and composer Steve Beresford. 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?

SB: I usually have no idea where I’m going. It’s a world where a ‘path’ might vanish at any moment, or turn into a brick wall or a helicopter.

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

SB: I am the least spiritual person ever. I prepare before performances by making sure I’m in the right place at the right time, making sure the piano seat isn’t about to collapse, playing one note on the piano to make sure it at least makes some kind of sound, faffing around with my electronics if I am using them, and having a black coffee.

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?

SB: First of all, what is ‘Ism’? Secondly, I’m not sure my ‘sound’ has ’evolved’ at all. It has changed, but it may well have devolved. The other day at the Vortex, Dave Tucker played a recording which I though was Paul Bley. It turned out to be me, a few years ago. I’m not quite sure what that demonstrates, though.

I generally do not select musicians. Usually, other people suggest we do something and usually I say yes.

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

SB: It’s many more than two ways.

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?

SB: I play what Misha Mengelberg called ‘instant composition’. No bridge is necessary between being a musician and being a composer because they are the same thing.

Keeping the music fresh is very important and there are numerous strategies for this.

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?

SB: Any music that’s any good is absolutely full of different ideas and feelings. John Cage famously wrote, “I have nothing to say and I am saying it.”

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?

SB: Who knows at the moment?

Changing one thing: making it compulsory to pay musicians properly.

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

SB: I don’t really do harnessing.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Steve Beresford | PROFILE | An interview with the virtuoso improviser - The Cusp Magazine

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