May 28, 2024

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Interview with Dmitry Ilugdin: Emotions without skill are like a diamond in the rough: Video

Jazz interview with a bad musician, as if pianist, problematic person, agressor Dmitry Ilugdin. An interview by email in writing. – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Dmitry Ilugdin: – I was born and raised in Moscow. Studying classical music from early childhood, at the age of 12 I developed an interest for jazz and modern music, and this largely determined my following education and interests. Then I began to write my own pieces and, at 18, I put together my first jazz trio.

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

DI: – My sound developed naturally. I never aimed at copying someone or at seeking originality! Most likely, my sound was built upon the music that I played, composed and, of course, listened to. I was a huge fan of the romanticist jazz piano. Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Michel Petrucciani had a huge impact on me. At the same time, I was fascinated by what fusion musicians like Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and John McLaughlin were doing to the form and style. Much later, I realized that Esbjörn Svensson masterfully combined these things in his ingenious music. And of course, my favorite composers of the 19th and 20th centuries were my main reference points, spirituality-wise. I’ve always been led by the music of Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Tchaikovsky and Mahler.

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

DI: – Talking about the nuts and bolts of practicing, rhythm is what makes an improvising musician a far cry from an academic musician. I use the same classical exercises and etudes that I’ve always used but I try to play them with a strict rhythmic organization. I put special emphasis on clear grouping, playing at different tempos, and using a metronome while working on skips and beat variations. Phrasing and articulation are very important. I’m not always happy with my own phrasing and articulation, so I guess I’ll have to work on them all my life. Bach’s simple preludes prove to be really useful: once you’ve read and learned them, you polish them up to play them perfectly. That’s a great exercise.

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

DI: – Frankly speaking, I’m not afraid of that. If you have something to say through music, then you’ll develop your own language eventually. At the same time, I’m not afraid of reinventing the wheel. The most important thing is to be true to yourself and to be at your best. Sincerity is originality, especially when you improvise: everybody’s different.

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

DI: – Silence helps a lot. When possible, I try to stay alone for a while or to spend time with the friends I share the stage with.

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

DI: – One can’t exist without the other, and I really want these things to be well balanced. Soul is responsible for the emotions, and intellect is responsible for music as a craft and language. Emotions without skill are like a diamond in the rough. You need to have both intellect and soul. That’s the way it works.

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

DI: – Of course, the relationship with the audience is two-sided. But I’ve never asked what people want. My trio’s music has always been totally creative and I’ve never tried to follow any trends or cater to anyone’s taste. The only thing I can offer is my music and, thankfully, it finds a great response from people who hear us play. People’s warmth and gratitude are the best reward there can be. I’m really happy if my music has a therapeutic effect on somebody. We play a lot of sad or melancholic pieces but I often receive words of gratitude for them. Seems like this sad music can make some people happier. This is incredible!

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

DI: – Many years ago I was lucky to take part in a jam session with Ray Charles in Moscow. I can still feel the incredible energy and love to fellow musicians and audience that emanated from this great man. I remember thinking that day that music and ambitions are quite dissonant.

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

DI: – I don’t think it has anything to do with the age of a genre. Moreover, I think that more and more modern tunes will become jazz standards. But if there’s a way to spark young people’s interest in jazz, you have to to do it only by example. I mean, by sharing your love, faith and dedication to what you do.

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

DI: – This is a very personal experience for any musicians who ask themselves why they play this certain thing. I can’t express in words as much as I manage to express in music. And if it works out, it means that this is your language and the meaning of your life. The most important thing is to find it. Not only did geniuses like Coltrane find their own language but they also became examples for millions of people. If you have a desire for pursuing this path, you can spend your whole life doing it.

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

DI: – I wish people showed their children the world of classical music as early as possible. It would greatly influence the development of any child as a person and, more generally, the development of culture.

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

DI: – Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass, Alfred Schnittke, Shai Maestro, Marcin Wasilewski, Jacob Collier, Mathias Eick and Bill Evans. These are the people I’ve been listening to for the last couple of weeks.

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

DI: – Love.

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

DI: – I’d really like to hear the classicist orchestral music the way it sounded back then. I’d fly to the 17th and 18th centuries to listen to Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven.

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

DI: – Can you live without music? Is there a style of music or a composer whose music you would be willing to listen to every day of your life?

JBN: – Jazz, only Jazz and Blues!!! In an interview on a jazz site, you ask about other music?

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Дмитрий Илугдин, биография, лучшие записи, ближайшие концерты, фото и видео, сайт, Рояль, Композитор |

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