May 24, 2024

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Interview with Telmo Campos: Just trying to spread love: Video, new CD cover

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

Telmo Campos: – I was born in Barreiro, a city near Lisbon. My interest in music was born in my family, accompanying my grandfather in concerts with the wind band in Barreiro. From there, I started to learn saxophone and I haven’t stopped until today!

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

TC: – It’s natural that over time my sound changes. It’s not something I think about that much, but the fact that I love, for example, Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz or Jan Garbarek, that I played over their songs, and transcribed a lot of their solos, it’s natural that my sound has many of these influences.

On the other hand, there are more technical exercises that I still use today, such as working the long tones or playing ballads.

All of this is important, but we must always keep in mind that sound is in our mind and that we will never stray too far from that same sound.

I will always sound like myself.

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

TC: – I always try to keep a daily routine where I always study long tones, patterns, scales and standards repertoire. In terms of rhythm, I try to incorporate specific exercises in the subjects I am studying. For example, I can study a standard acapella, with the metronome’s beat #1. Then I change the beat to #2, and so on.

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

TC: – In reality, this subject is something I don’t care about very much. My big concern is making honest music and having a huge respect for the art itself.

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

TC: – I love silence. Sometimes silence tells us a lot and makes me find the calm and energy I need for gigs.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2021: Debut, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

TC: – This is an autobiographical album. In times of pandemic, this was my therapy to overcome these dark times. Now that the cd is done, it’s time to hit the road and do some gigs.

JBN: – And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?

TC: – They are great musicians and great friends. I’ve known them for many years. It was an easy choice to make.

Buy from here, click on the cover

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

TC: – I try to use the intellect to learn and the soul on stage.

Without the intellect I have an empty soul and without a soul I don’t make music, I do math with sounds.

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

TC: – I never needed to make music to have an audience. Fortunately, I have an audience that likes the music I make. Theoretically, I’m against artistic limitations to please the audience

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

TC: – One day, I was finishing a gig in  Lisbon  and Donald Moye Jr. (Famoudu Don Moye) arrives.

He introduced himself and wanted to play some sstandards with us.

What a cool way to end the gig.

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

TC: – With more education and more cultural activism. The younger generations have a big challenge ahead of them. Increasingly, culture is a disposable good, unfortunately.

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

TC: – Whenever I’m in a place playing for people, there’s something there that I can’t explain. I know there is something bigger than all of us.

For me, the meaning of life is to transmit love through music

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

TC: – That artists were more valued.

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

TC: – Well… In the jazz scene, kamasi washington, Avishai Cohen (Bass player), Avishai Cohen (trumpet player), soweto kinch, Coltrane, Jan Garbarek, and so on…. But also some Portuguese folk music and Fado.

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

TC: – The main message is a message of love.

My main goal is to make people feel better when they finish listening to my songs.

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

TC: – I want to go back 20 years ago and hug my mom again.

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

TC: – If you could make a jazz band with your favorite musicians, what would it be?

JBN: – Wow!!! Joe Lovano, David Helbock, Dave Holland, Brian Blade.

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

TC: – I try my best to be a better person and a better musician. Just trying to spread love. Thanks for reading !!!!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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