May 29, 2024

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Interview with Guy Mintus։ Music has changed my life for the better and still does everyday: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Guy Mintus. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Guy Mintus: – I grew up in Hod HaSharon, Israel. I first got interested in music because of a melody I heard on the radio and go obsessed with. My mother helped me find the notes and so I played it with one finger on every keyboard I came across until my parents offered me to start keyboard lessons..!

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

GM: – I’ve always been a very curious person and so my influences have a wide range. My entry point to jazz was luckily through Thelonious Monk and so I’ve been exploring Monk, Bud Powell, Art Tatum, Horace Silver and Wynton Kelly quite a lot during my teens (and still these days occasionally). Later I got very deep into classical piano and western european classical music in general. When I was 18 I was exposed to modal theory of middle eastern music and so that opened a completely new language of grooves, scales and melodies. I’ve been trying my best to study these languages as deeply as I can while acknowledging that it’s endless and that when it’s time to play – then my job is really to let go and let things take form in a natural spontaneous way.

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

GM: – I don’t have a very strict routine but I do like to take a subject that interests me and create a routine around it. Set of excesses to get more comfortable around a certain song, rhythm, scale or harmony. It helps me to keep practicing as a creative activity as well not only technical.

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

GM: – Overtime I stopped trying to control what influences me and how. I believe now in just letting things flow freely and become what they need to become. This process happens anyhow, we can’t ever fully control it anyways so why not let go and follow your heart?

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

GM: – Use my imagination. Imagine myself in that room, the audience, the magic of the first note. I also of course warm up properly at my instrument and don’t eat anything heavy in the hours before the performance to keep my body fresh.

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JBN: – How did you select the musicians who play on the album?

GM: – Yonatan, Omri and I got indeed got together in Tel Aviv playing small gigs around town. I enjoyed their openness and freedom very much and so it felt like we should take it to the next level. We spend a lot of time in the practice room preparing for the album. Working on the arrangements as well as on our group playing and flow.

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

GM: – I would say they’re both present in music for sure. The balance between them is dynamic but you certainly need to deal with both on some level if you want to go deep into being a musician. Each person finds their own balance, for me this balance changes everyday… So shall we say 50-50?:)

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

GM: – Absolutely. I care very much about who’s listening to me and I like to play WITH the listener. Setting expectations and breaking them. Teasing, surprising and stretching the limits of myself and my listeners. Part of that game has to be giving “what the audience wants” (which is of course very abstract and subjective at the first place). I look at it less as what the audience wants but more different colors of expressions. Some more familiar and communication or clear while others more exploring dealing with unfamiliar territories.

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

GM: – One of my highlights was sharing the stage with the great Jon Hendricks in his hometown of Toledo Ohio, just me and him. We first played together on the stage and it was pure magic.

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

GM: – Ask ourselves what does these standards mean now? What should they sound like in 2020? and also, what are the new standards of today?

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

GM: – I can very much relate to the words of master Coltrane. Music has changed my life for the better and still does everyday. It is my meditation, my playground, my safe place and my growing space. Practicing music is certainly beyond just something you do as a job. It ads a spiritual dimension to my life and allows me to connects me to other human beings in a way I could never do otherwise. For me some the happiest moments is when I can touch and uplift people through music.

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

GM: – Earl Hines, Kokoroko, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley to name a few.

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

GM: – I hope my music can convey joy and unity to people. Emphasizing how we’re all connected and share a lot more in common than we realize. However, I’m totally open to the fact that music will mean different things to different people and my music is no exception. I find lots of beauty in that fact and accept that the message is different from each person as I often find when receiving messages from listeners.

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

GM: – I would have loved to hear Art Tatum play live at a club in New York in the 30s!

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