May 28, 2024

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Interview with Bodo Maier։ Intelligence in music should be a habit: Video

Jazz interview with jazz trumpeter Bodo Maier. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Bodo Maier: – I grew up in the countryside of Switzerland. My father had a friend who was a trumpet player called Charlie Dubler. He used to drive vintage cars and sometimes when we went hiking in the mountains, I could hear him play the trumpet somewhere.

Musicality I got through my fathers side of the family. He plays the Akkordeon and used to play a bit of guitar and violin. His Mothers Grandfather was musical director and first flutist at the court of emperor William II.

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

BM: – Developing sound on the trumpet is a lifetime challenge und I still fight everyday for it. Now in particular I’m trying to get a bigger sound with a lot of air stream practice. Also I try to keep the sound of idol trumpet players in my imagination.

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

BM: – Feeling comfortable on the trumpet has a direct influence on my timing and phrasing. So thats why daily rudiments are crucial for my playing. My understanding of groove I may have gotten also during my time in Brazil, Senegal, U.S. and London.

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

BM: – I’ve always been widely interested in different types and styles of music from all around the globe and tried to embrace it. I still had to exclude certain parts of my musical me, to make everything suitable on one album. Sometimes its hard to pursue my musical goals in Switzerland because of an unmotivated and almost missing jam scene. I loved my time in London when I was being challenged and inspired everyday in all those jams by so many different world class musicians from all around the world.

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

BM: – At the moment I need a lot of air flow practice to relax and to be able to stay cool during the show. I considered that being in a good shape with your body has a direct influence on playing the trumpet. So I started to work out. Right before the start of a concert I need 5 minutes alone to sink into myself and connect with the source of inspiration and musical ideas.

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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?

BM: – The older songs of the album had time to mature, as I had the chance to play them with many different musicians from very different parts of the world. After recording some of the songs on an EP in London with London musicians, I went on tour through Hong Kong and China with two of them: Guitarist Tjoe Man Cheung and Florian Haas, who is my current drummer and is also playing on the album. When I went back to live in Basel, Switzerland, my choice who I should get on bass, was easy. Roberto Koch is a legendary Venezuelan bass player, who I played with since the day he had moved to

Basel. As a child he played violin, thats why his solos are so virtuous an perfect in tune even in higher register.. I also like his rhythm approach coming from Salsa and him being an international reference for traditional Venezuelan music. In any case he is professional and a world class musician. On piano (Matthieu Trovato) and on tenor sax (Max Treutner) I discovered extremely talented youngsters that bring a fresh vibe into the band and keeps it up to date. You will hear a lot about them.

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

BM: – Intellect in music should enter in the hearing habits while practicing and come out of the instrument at the concert as natural reflexes. Intellect can help to get certain things right, such as the form of a solo chorus, chord-progressions and so on but it should be already somehow in our unconsciousness, so you can focus on the bow of the melody or rhythm your improvising… so we can focus on what our soul has to say.

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

BM: – It should be a mix. Give the audience a package with something they want and already know and something they don’t know yet. If I tell you only stuff you know, its going to be boring and hard for you to keep listening to me. If I only tell you stuff you don’t know, you wouldn’t be really able to handle it. A good way is, to give the audience a good, groovy rhythm base. If you have this, then you can put pretty much everything on top. As Sun Ra used to say: „What is more unknown than the space?“ thats why „space is the place“.

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

BM: – Well, thinking back when we recorded the album, I remember two stories and both happened in the same tune: When we recorded the ballad Priscyllita, I told the pianist (Matthieu Trovato) right before that it would be nice to have a piano intro. He said „sure“ and started to play the most amazing intro straight away. It was the first take that made it on the album. Later in the song, there is a bass solo. Our bass player (Roberto Koch) had serious stomach ache that day. After every take he had to lay down on the floor to relax. In this song he played amazing solos in all takes with a face full of pain but what came out of his bass was so beautiful and relaxed. Later that day he had to go to hospital. Next day he was ready to record again.

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

BM: – When it comes down to what is happening in the world of jazz today that is attracting also young people I would say have a listen into the London scene. They are using new and strong grooves laying under jazz improvisation, mostly using chords that are not anymore part of the functional harmony system as they used to be in the great American songbook, where dominants resolve and so on. These chords are more used as colors to fit in nicely with the groove. The grooves might be the result of an independent development they made being mixed with jazz, coming from hip hop and gospel chops.

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

BM: – Music affects and talks to us in a deeper way than everything else. People who suffer from severe dementia would still recognize music they used to listen to. Also thats why the catholic priests start to sing in the most important parts of the prayer. (Not that I am catholic… just saying). Everything is sound and therefore vibrating since the big bang. Music is the art of vibrance. Vibrance or frequency are waves, that go up and down, tension, relaxation. Its the most natural thing that exists.

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

BM: – Basic income for professional artists. France and Cuba already have something that goes in this direction although in Cuba its way too less for a living. Prohibit by Law free live music or collection gigs and prohibit free records like on spotify.

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

BM: – Of course to all the legendary jazz trumpet players. Lately I listen a lot to Wallace Roney. I just love his album „Mistérios“! Also I listen to new productions of the London Scene… to Yelfris Valdes, a cuban trumpet player who arrived at the same time in

London like me. We played in many jams together and I still learn a lot, listening to him. He plays like a Cuban Roy Hargrove.

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

BM: – I want to bring more intensity into Western European peoples lives and show new attitudes. With big energy and intensity you can say powerful stuff and might catch peoples attention to open up and listen and find their own approach to it.

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

BM: – To the jazz clubs and jams of NYC in the 40’s and 50’s or attending rehearsals of Irakere in Cuba in the 70’s.

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

BM: – Do people who read this interview in your magazine go to listen Jazz music?

JBN: – Yes.

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

BM: – Thank you for the opportunity to give an interview for your magazine. I got an overview about myself as well. 🙂

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Bodo Maier Jazz Quartet - Trailer 2014 - YouTube

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