May 18, 2024

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Interview with Tõnu Naissoo: Hm … I don’t know: Video

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

Tõnu Naissoo: – I grew up in musical family – my father was composer, multi-instrumentalist, organizer Tallinn jazz festivals and music teacher. My mother had learned to sing classical music. I started with the classical piano, but I was more interested in free improvisation.

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

TN: – I didn’t pay attention to the sound at first. I think it has evolved over the years and thanks to my piano teacher. As a teenager, I also listened to Bill Evans a lot.

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

TN: – I have never practiced improvisation and also rhythm task. I used to play a bit Oscar Peterson exercises. I have had good technique – at the age of 12 I played some Chopin etudes. At a younger age I played a lot of solo piano and then the rhythm was not so important. I started paying more attention to the rhythm when I had to record with the trio. The easiest way is perhaps to practice with a metronome.

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

TN: – I don’t think much about that.

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

TN: – The most important thing is concentration. And a lot of practice is required.

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

TN: – I think they should be balanced.

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

TN: – I think yes you have to consider what you are playing for. I also play a lot of mood music – for them I don’t play free jazz. And vice versa.

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

TN: – I have played various genres of music and also on some famous stages with famous orchestras such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra at the Boston Symphony Hall and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra at the de Doelen Concert Hall in Rotterdam. But I have received a particularly cordial reception in Osaka and Tokyo. In 1985, when I played in Finland at Pori Jazz in the EBU Big Band, I had the opportunity to play jam with trumpeter Jimmy Owens. I was surprised when he invited me to play with him in New York, but sorry – since I was from Soviet Union, I couldn’t accept such a respectful invitation.

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

TN: – Young musicians play mostly own music. But there is an opportunity to improvise on the songs of rock bands. I myself have made this type recording, called “R”, released by a Japanese label Atelier Sawano.

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

TN: – Yes, John Coltrane was very spiritual person.  “A Love Supreme” displayed his growing sense of music as spiritual expression. I’m not so religious and I’m interested more earthy life. That doesn’t mean that I don’t respect the Creator.

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

TN: – I can’t say… I haven’t thought about that.

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

TN: – I’ve been trying to find new names to listen to in jazz. And also forgotten names from jazz history. But when I have free time I listened to electronic music or modern classical music. Cannot specifically point out anyone.

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

TN: – I want my music to make people happier.

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

TN: – Back to future..

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

TN: – How did You find me?

JBN: – From a landfill where are bad musicians!

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

TN: – Hm… I don’t know…

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Tõnu Naissoo – Vikipeedia

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