Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Iwao Ochi. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.com: – Before we jump into anything historical, can you tell us about what we can expect musically this evening?
Iwao Ochi: – I believe that by continuing to face music, I can learn a lot. And it reminds me of the importance of facing myself in my life.
JBN: – Are there sub-genres within the jazz field that you tend to stay away from or focus on?
IO: – I listen to blues and soul music almost every day. Hip hop is like teaching me jazz, so of course I still listen to it. Many of the British rock bands of the 60’s and 70’s were inspired by blues, but at the same time I realized that they were also inspired by jazz and I listen to them again these days.
JBN: – When your first desire to become involved in the music was & what do you learn about yourself from music?
IO: – I wanted to get involved in music when I was in high school. I always learn my essential mind from music.
JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?
IO: – I work to maintain my health, including eating, and I always stretch. Before the performance, I communicate with the members, feel the atmosphere of the venue, and I calm myself down. And I am confident in myself and not afraid of challenges.
JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2022: Iwao Ochi Organ Trio – Counterflow, how it was formed and what you are working on today.
IO: – It’s a song called Lockdown. When I watched the news of the lockdown in New York when this pandemic began, I imagined the feelings of the people in that situation and composed the song. This song inspired me to make this album. And recently I’m preparing for an album release tour in Japan.
JBN: – Ism is culled from a variety of lives dates with various performers over the course of a few years. Did your sound evolve during that time? And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?
IO: – I am constantly practicing and updating myself on the theme of swing and rhythmic approaches and melodic approaches. What has evolved over the last few years is that I can now imagine my own body control over the feeling of time and I can instantly generate more ideas.
I’ve been playing with them for 11 years. They are very free and flexible in their musical thinking and playing. That is where it resonates with me. So, playing with them is a lot of fun.
JBN: – With such an illustrious career, what has given you the most satisfaction musically?
IO: – It was so great to be able to record with Sam Yahel in New York three years ago, but despite the pandemic, I was able to play with wonderful musicians and see the faces of the audience who were pleased with the music. It was really happy.
JBN: – From the musical and feeling point of view is there any difference between a old and great jazzmans and young?
IO: – Black Americans who have been severely persecuted enjoyed expressing themselves in music rather than in the selection of retaliation and revenge, which eventually became jazz. I think it’s a great thing. Jazz is the great African American classical art form. First of all, I think that having or not having such a concept will have a big impact on music. I think the new contemporary concepts and methods that are newly created in the jazz world are wonderful. However, it seems like this. I think evolution is jazz itself, but soulless evolution is just a mutation. Of course, there should be many excellent young musicians who have a soul and play meaningful and evolving jazz.
JBN: – What advice would you give to aspiring musicians thinking of pursuing a career?
IO: – Just as you love music, you should love your band members, family and friends first. I think it’s best not to play just for yourself. I think it is important to always be conscious of creating music with band members. I think that we should value the relationship of trust with any people.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan