May 27, 2024

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Interview with Dick Hyman: I have no idea: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist Dick Hyman. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Dick Hyman: – We moved from New York City to a suburb, Mount Vernon, when I was about 10 years old. My brother, Arthur, six years older, introduced me to jazz piano and old recordings. Also, I had an uncle who was a concert pianist, Anton Rovinsky, and studied with him.

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

DH: – I have had many styles because my place in the profession was to be as versatile as possible. However, my emphasis has always been on jazz piano with its tradition of improvisation.

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

DH: – I practice independence of the hands, odd scales, stride bass for the left hand, and whatever needs to be worked on.

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

DH: – I welcome disparate influences.

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

DH: – I practice technical exercises and plan the outlines of my repertoire.

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

DH: – I am unable to answer this question.

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

DH: – I think that all performances are for an audience, but I believe you can guide and help an audience to understand what you are trying to accomplish.

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

DH: – I recall the first performances of Piano Man in which Steven Harlos sat by my side and helped me turn pages. As I have remarked previously, he took over the full performance after a week or so and has since been playing that music around the world.

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

DH: – The age of the tunes has nothing to do with their tradition, appeal, or usefulness. Songs are constantly being rediscovered, rewritten, revised, and used for unexpected purposes.

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

DH: – Sorry, this question is too philosophical for me.

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

DH: – I have no idea.’

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

DH: – More and more I appreciate Mozart.

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

DH: – I like to show people what I find of interest myself.

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

DH: – So much of my repertoire is from the 1920s that I would like to visit that time.

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

DH: – I have no questions, but I appreciate yours.

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

DH: – I do my best, but I am at an advanced age and have to take that into consideration.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

The Creative Process: For Dick Hyman, a world premiere in Venice

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