June 17, 2024

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Interview with Dustin Laurenzi: Like a lot of jazz musicians, I’ve gone through phases … Video

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi. An very small interview by email in writing, because the intellect of this musician was not enough to answer all our questions.

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

Dustin Laurenzi: – I grew up in Kenosha, WI and got into music pretty early on. My parents always had music playing around the house, so I had a lot of different music in my ears from the beginning. I started out on guitar, and eventually took up the saxophone. There was a surprisingly vibrant music scene in Kenosha at the time, as well as a great public school music program, so I had a lot of opportunities to play with people both in and out of school.

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

DL։ – Like a lot of jazz musicians, I’ve done a fair amount of transcribing and I’ve gone through phases of imitating certain musicians either consciously or subconsciously. Although eventually the goal is to sound like yourself, for me that process of imitation was, and is, really important. I still find myself going through those phases occasionally, but I think I’m getting better at listening and getting to the core of what I really love (or don’t love) about a musician’s playing and approach, and taking the things I want to use as part of my palette.

In terms of saxophone sound, I love and have learned a lot from listening to Lester Young, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Dewey Redman, Joe Lovano, Bill McHenry, Mark Turner, Chris Speed, the list goes on and on!

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

DL։ – I hope that the music I make resonates with some people, but I try not to think about tailoring it to what I think people will want to hear. I want to make music that I like first, and if I get that right, I can trust that some other people will like it, too.

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

DL։ – There are too many memories to count! Before COVID shut things down, I was playing in the house band for a weekly jam session led by the great drummer Ted Sirota at the Hungry Brain in Chicago, and I learned so much playing with Ted and all of the musicians who would come out to play. It was a really beautiful thing, and I hope we can get back to it eventually!

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

DL։ – There are so many musicians and bands making beautiful, exciting, creative new music right now, and I think there are a lot of younger people who are interested in it. I think there will always be a place for more traditional repertoire, too. As long as people are playing it (and meaning it!), I think there will be people who listen.

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

DL։ – Ryley Walker & Charles Rumback – Little Common Twist

Gabor Szabo – Dreams

Jeff Parker – Slight Freedom

John Coltrane/Alice Coltrane – Infinity

Andy Shauf – The Neon Skyline

Rozi Plain – What a Boost

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Dustin Laurenzi Trio performs Joe Henderson's 1986 State of the Tenor

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