June 21, 2024

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Interview with Will Bonness: I like to give my listeners a jumping off point: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Will Bonness. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Will Bonness: – I grew up in Winnipeg, Canada, surrounded by music. My father played in the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and my mother was an oboist. My piano teacher lived across the street. I was lucky to grow up in such a musical environment, and it was only natural that I became interested in music at a young age.

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

WB: – My sound isn’t something I have ever thought about or developed consciously. I don’t think it works that way. I think your sound is just an expression of your background, your environment, and the music you have studied. It comes naturally out of that. My sound has evolved as I have explored and studied different music throughout my life.

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

WB: – I work on rhythm by paying close attention to time and tempo when I practice, with and without a metronome. It has always been a high priority for me. Listening to recordings of myself is very important to catch issues with my time. Also, learning about and practicing the drums is helpful. I also work on various rhythmic exercises between two hands that are a little bit too complicated to explain through text.

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

WB: – I’m not quite sure what you mean by this. I don’t ever consciously try to prevent anything from coloring what I’m doing – I let in whatever influences present themselves.

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

WB: – I don’t do anything in particular before performances aside from try to make sure my playing is in the best shape possible, and that I am prepared. The main thing is, the more I am performing, the more natural it feels.

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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?

WB: – All of the musicians on the album I have played with extensively, and really fit my musical vision. I know them all from the Winnipeg music scene, and I chose them all to suit the musical direction I have been going on for the past few years.

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

WB: – I think there’s great music that leans in both directions. Depending on my mood, I want more of one or the other at different times. I think there’s room for both in the world.

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

WB: – I certainly want to connect with my audience through music, but at the same time I’m aware that my music isn’t going to appeal to everyone. I just try to make music that I really believe in, and hope that people will connect with it.

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

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

WB: – I don’t have the answer to this, but I think it’s great when jazz musicians keep things relevant by playing original music, and music that younger people are more likely to be familiar with. There have always been at least some musicians playing current popular music, as opposed to old standards, and I think it’s important for musicians to keep doing that.

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

WB: – I am not wise enough to answer this question.

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

WB: – I would sure like to be able to tour and perform live music again!

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

WB: – I always have trouble answering this question, as the answer changes regularly. I am listening to different things all the time!

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

WB: – I like to take people on a journey through different feelings and places. I like to give my listeners a jumping off point with a title and maybe a short explanation, but my hope is that they will relate the music to their own experience and bring their own story to make it more meaningful.

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

WB: – I would probably go back to the 1940s to hear Bud Powell and Charlie Parker play live!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Will Bonness's stream

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