May 29, 2024

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Interview with Julien Brunetaud: The soul always took a lots of space! Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist and composer Julien Brunetaud. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Julien Brunetaud: – I grew up in the south west of France, in a city called Villeneuve sur lot. Kind of peaceful, I always wanted to create my band and play piano. Thats what I did when I was 10 years old. My parents didn’t play music but my older sister was playing piano, so I came aBer her piano lessons to touch the keys and play by ear. I think I was deeply interested by playing and discovering this instrument to express some creaEvity and freedom.

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

JB: – I would say , chronological like the history of jazz. I was fond of Blues at the beginning, and boogie woogie, So I was mostly playing by ear and trying stuff in live with my band. I was lucky to become the piano player of lots of blues band touring all over, I did play a lot around the world with only this knowledge and blues feeling, in New Orleans, Misssissipi. So of course I did learn from playing with great musicians. Then I get into copying the masters ( Ray Charles / Amos Milburn / Otis Spann / Jay mc shann) I did listen more and more jazz, from the 50s 60s , Horace silver, Red Garland, Sonny Clarck. And i felt my limits so I went to Jazz School in Paris , and Also took some private classes with masters like Georges Cables / Aaron Golberg. Went to New York, back to New Orleans. Played more and more with Jazz bands. Now I would say I compose more and more and feel free about the tradition, to go into more modern direcEon. Listening lots of different music , from Keith Jare\ to Nils Frahm. I love the idea of still learning, improving my improvisational skills.

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

JB: – I dont really have a good routine ( that’s my weakness!) but I have lots of fun playing, and I am pretiy connected with my creative side. Actually I try lo learn all the Jazz standards I can, learning them by heart, analyse the chords progressions. I am trying to work rhythmic and harmonic exercises slowly, and get faster and faster, but Its hard for me to start slow, I want to have fun quickly!

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

JB: – I think the music speaks for itself, and I don’t choose consciously the influences , they all feed my soul and my play. I hope, the harmony between songs is natural. Blues for sure always colors my play here and there.

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

JB: – Meditation or a glass of wine ! Depending on occasion! Seriously maybe the good ambiance, laughing with musicians and keep it easy and relax.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2021: Julien Brunetaud Trio – Feels Like Home, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

I am really happy about being back to a trio format, and going for the first Eme really into jazz without singing. Focusing on the piano harmony improvisaEon, and interacEon with Sam and Cedric. This album represent a new side of my music, and also a new step in my life. A gain of confidence and of course an adaptaEon of the new place where I live. I am also a new daddy, and this album reflets this period as well. Influenced by Marseille but also by people I love around me. I am working on how to make this album alive on stage soon. And also working on few standards I would like to add on our set list.

Julien Brunetaud Trio – Feels Like Home (2021, CD) - Discogs

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

JB: – First I met Sam Favreau, I was looking for a great upright bass player with jazz skills, but also who are root connected, with deep blues and groove side, that’s the man. He introduces me to Cedrick Bec, who has also same high level jazz skills, plus a great culture and energy. Their musicality allows me to write anything, I have the feeling they will make some music with it.

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

JB: – I guess its different for all musician, for me the soul always took a lots of space! Playing by instinct… But I would say … I wanted to go into something more arranged and more balanced, with different climat, where my intellect has way more space, so for the first time I would say, fiBy fiBy !

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

JB: – Haha, if they want to listen the trio playing what they want, yes I do. There is also a balance to find here, because we all live together and the public is part of the music, specially in live concert. I prefer to please them of course but sometimes its our role to propose them something different.

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

JB: – One of my greatest memory on stage is when I was comping Chuck Berry in Paris at the Elysée Montmartre. He was giving me some piano solo, I did my best while playing some blues, then he sat down with me on my piano bench and whisper in my ear «I Love you».

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

JB: – I think there is more and more jazz players, young and old. All over the world, I have no doubt this music evolve and it standards evolve too. People jam on some new stuff now than in the past. Of course mainstream radio has a role to play. And jazz has always this intellectual image, hard to listen. If mainstream Radio could play more Jazz…

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

JB: – I love John Coltrane and what I love the most and understand in his music is his spirit. Music is always there to upliB us. For me the spirit comes from the desire to live in love, to live in harmony, to live free. The role we a\ribute to ourselves in this society someEmes make us loose this spirit, and the mass culture doesn’t help us to liB our spirit. I can’t say I understand the meaning of life because someEmes it appears to be absurd, but I am sure music helps us staying connected.

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

JB: – Opening music clubs and school everywhere in the world, with jam, great concerts and make the musician working statut as safe as any other safe jobs ! (If that exist anymore)

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

JB: – A lots of Keith Jare\, I strangely discovered his magic only now, but it’s be\er than never. Also Kenny Barron, I love all his discography. Miles Davis, Gregory Porter, Nils Frahm, Norah Jones…

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

JB: – Be happy where you are, and be inspire by the instant.

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

JB: – Ok then lets say in one or two year, when we will be able to go out without masks and go listen some music, having a beer with friends in a bar, taking your friends in your arms, kissing anyone ! With no fears…

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

JB: – I know you have an amazing itw background, and talk to great artists. So if you has to choose only one itw that you did, which one would you choose and why?

JBN: – Interview with Sonny Rollins !!!

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

JB: – Not sure if you’re talking bout the actual climat due to the pandemy but now is the time to change our habits helped me that way. While assuming more my piano side, I also assume I wanna take time with my child, my family, people who inspires me. Times are hard, but we should try to laugh, to remain peaceful and light. I am not sure we will be abble live a lot this summer, but we ll get ready for later, we will rehearse to make it even be\er in live. Thanks a lot for this itw Simon, I love your questions…

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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