May 23, 2024

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Interview with Daniel Thompson: Jazz should be a considered element of this learning: Video

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Daniel Thompson. An interview by email in writing. – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Daniel Thompson: – I grew up in a small village in the east of England called Taverham, in the county of Norfolk. My father was a musician and had an extensive record and book collection, particularly jazz and modern art of the twentieth century. I was introduced to quite a number of images and sounds.

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

DT: – Like being a human being, my sound is uniquely me and mine, no escaping that one! It changes as I change, and sometimes I think, that’s not me, and sometimes I think, that’s me. A little like listening through a mirror perhaps.

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

DT: – I’ve practiced and continue to practice so many things from so many different sources its difficult to provide one example of my practicing pertaining just to rhythm.

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

DT: – I don’t and never will try and prevent such things.

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

DT: – Preferably getting to a gig early enough to have a couple of beers and be able to acclimatise myself to my environment. I’m not spiritual.

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

DT: – The recording is of a live gig. We’ve played together a few times prior and I think either myself, Martin or Philipp would have put the trio together at some point before we played one of the gigs.

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

DT: – I don’t think the soul exists, and even if it does, it will be a product of the intellect.

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

DT: – I don’t give the ‘people’ what they want, at all. We come together and engage in a process of creativity that exists in the moment. We collaborate!

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

DT: – I went to hear the Foxes Fox Quartet (Steve Beresford (piano), John Edwards (double bass), Evan Parker (saxophones) and Louis Moholo-Moholo (drums)) at The Vortex in London back in like 2006 or something. Kenny Wheeler was in the audience and he joined the quartet for the second set. For a short period of time the roof came off of the place and my heart went with it! It was one of the most magical things I have ever heard!

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

DT: – I don’t think the age of the material is a problem. People still play Bach’s music and that’s considerably older. I think young people should be encouraged to treat music as a viable ‘way’ of life from their very early beginnings, either through school or the home or both. Naturally, I think jazz should be a considered element of this learning.

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

DT: – As I mentioned previously I don’t consider myself a spiritual person. As far as the meaning of life is concerned, well, I would say not entirely unexpectedly, that I quite simply have no idea!

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

DT: – At the time of writing this (April 2021) it would be rather lovely to have something as simple as a gig. To be able to spend time with old, unknown, new and known friends and to listen to and play music. I miss these things terribly.

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

DT: – I am always listening to something, even if that something is nothing. At present I am finding myself absorbed in both the music of Andrew Hill and Johannes Brahms. I’m always listening to the birds.

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

DT: – I don’t consider myself to be a messenger. The exploration within the musical moment creates so many corridors one finds themselves in a Borgesian labyrinth before they realise the whiskey bottle has gone dry at the bar. Take it to the bandstand!

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

DT: – I spend as much energy as possible trying to live in the present. It’s the place I feel most comfortable and it’s the happiest place I’ve ever been.

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

DT: – As well as calling, do you think birds sing just for pleasure?

JBN: – 🙂

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

DT: – I will constantly attempt to fail better.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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