May 20, 2024

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Interview with Yoann Loustalot: I try to totally disconnect the intellect and play with heart and soul: Video

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

Yoann Loustalot: – I was born in 1974 in Guérande  in Loire Atlantique, south britanny in france. I began to play classical music when I was 8 at the music school of my town. My father is an amateur classical trumpet player and my uncle, his brother was an amateur jazz drummer. When I was young this one used to lend me jazz records…the first one I remember are Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Chet Baker, Miles Davis…he used to say to me, you play trumpet, you have to listen to those guys…I did not understand anything  to the music but I found it fascinating…I liked jazz music and the universe around !I also remember seeing Miles Davis on the 8 o’clock news, it was still possible at that time…it was incredible!

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

YL: – I can say that today I master my sound better, but  my sound is  almost the same since the beginning, the sound is something personal, the one that everyone imagines in his head…Today I can play with a brillant tone or subtone with less effort. I always spend a lot of time working on the tone and tuning.

I can remember that at the beginning I tried to imitate Chet and Miles, because they had a very personal sound, I was fascinated by that! I was wondering how to get my own…but I was very new on my horn…after I went to music school and interested myself about technical stuffs that could alow me to express fully…today I see it the same way, I see music as a discipline of every day.I keep playing over the records, to translate solos, but I spend more time working on the tone of my instrument. Also, I try to compose every day even if it’s very short. I think through compositions you can found your sound, what feet exactly with you.

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

YL: – Everyday I do routine exercices on my horn…when I begin in the morning, I try in first to play without thinking. After I begin to do some basic things, flexibilities, scales…I’m doing exercises or practicing standards with the metronome really slow to develop inner rhythm and decomposition…I try to practice the tunes I have to play in the same way. At times I transcribe solos of musicians I admire, always by heart, playing over the records

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

YL: – We, jazz musicians are constantly influenced by others…it’s a good question, because doing music his founding his own way. You can’t fight against influences, but it’s possible, with humility to mark our way. I try every day, shaping my compositions, giving importance to things that come out naturally

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

YL: – Over the years, I have developed a method that works quite well with me…I practice in a very methodical way the music I have to play. I begin by the end of the song to the start…without music sheet…with the very slow metronome….once I’m able to do it really well, I can play without thinking….it’s a way to learn and to reassure myself…it’s a way of learning and reassuring myself. After having settled the technical aspects, I feel I can fully invest myself in the music and put my soul into it. As I am not a technical monster, I think have to go through this !

There could be talk or advertising about your CD

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

YL: – I think the intellect is more present in the preparatory phase of a project. For my part, afterwards, when I play, I try to totally disconnect the intellect and play with heart and soul.

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

YL: – I’m okay to give what they want but in first I don’t think much about that, it can happen to me but in an anecdotal way.I try to do my music, in the most sincere way possible, for me it is a philosophy of life. I think that the public can feel the way you play. If your music is sincere then it is won! it is at least what I seek! Also, i believe I have the chance to make and love music that I think is not too indigestible for the audience!

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

YL: – We did an amazing tour in Russia in 2018. I keep an imperishable memory of it, because every time the listening of the audience was incredible…This put us in a very strong state of concentration every gig. That was fantastic to build the music of the band. We met great people throughout this trip, passionate about music and art.

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

YL: – I think that the age of the standards is not a problem to interested young people to this music. For exemple, sometimes when I have students, I make them listen to versions. You have to find the right version, which .will correspond to the person you have in front of you. And if the flash happens,it allows you to go further towards older or more recent versions. This way of approaching allows not to pass by the partitions which can be redibitory when they do not have reference

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

YL: – I am not very mystical, but I think that we each have an original and singular path to follow. Through music, we can register our own way and build ourselves.It is necessary to do it and to do things simply and sincerely.

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

YL: – I would like to change many things, but first of all, I would like everyone to be able to play as much as they want, to be able to record their projects with less financial difficulties.That producers, programmers understand that this jazz music is not a business. We should stop promoting anything, easy musics under the pretext that it brings the public or sells records and a way to people . By doing so, the promoters take the people for fools. As I said above, people feel when you play sincerely, so I think that any music, even very sophisticated can be heard by many people.It is up to those who have the power, the money to allow this through the records and festivals.

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

YL: – Favorite things I’m listening to the days are “Duruflé, complete choral works , Codona (Colin Walcott, Don Cherry, Nana Vasconscellos) the trilogie is one of my favorite record. Recently I discovered the pianist Shai Maestro, his last record “human” is splendid, I have listen to it several times. Yesterday I was listenning to a record of Antony Braxton “Four compositions for quartet with George Lewis, John Linberg, and Gerry Hemingway.I like so much Henrik Gorecki, “Songs are sung” is one of my favorite strings quartet. I listened again recently Steve Lacy “Evidence”, it’s one of my favorite. Also some Miles Chet, Don Cherry’s albums come back often on my turntable too. I need to listen to them often!

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

YL: – Listen, it’s me, It’s my sincere story, it’s like that and I hope you like it ! Hope it feel good in your ears! That’s what it’s for, to have fun!

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

YL: – In the past, I would like to go back to the days when jazz clubs were thriving in New York or West Coast. See my idols play, live in the atmosphere of those times…In the future, I would like to see what will happen in the years to come and  see how to best protect my children from human stupidity!

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

YL: – How did you decide to contact me for this interview?

JBN: – As a result of releasing your new album, that you had no need to advertise or have the intelligence to advertise.

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

YL: – I like to answer interviews because it allows me to be clear with myself, to put order in my brain ! Now i’ll go to practice my horn and write music as well!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Yoann Loustalot - Artist, Jazzmusician, Composer

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