May 18, 2024

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Interview with Adán Mizrahi: More people interested in music: Video

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

Adán Mizrahi: – I grew up in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Argentina. My dad is a music lover and made me one too. From an early age he’d take me to all kinds of concerts.

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

AM: – I didn’t have a solid concept of sound at the beginning. I thought it was overrated, lol. Being fair to myself, I recently listened to some recordings from the first times and I do dig the sound I had. I got lucky with my very first bass: It was a piece of crap but sounded properly.

I started out just plucking, and playing only jazz. After a while I felt trapped and realized that I needed to find my way into further musical worlds and bass resources, use the bow more, etc. I took lessons with several teachers and incredible artists before enrolling at the Conservatory in Amsterdam (NL), but this musical expansion wouldn’t have been possible without the François Rabbath bow technique that I learned from Nelson Aburto in Buenos Aires. In some time I had a whole bunch of resources I hadn’t thought possible before.

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

AM: – I like to stay fit with the use of the metronome. On the other hand I learn a lot from playing along with recordings and trying to imitate the masters’ feeling of time.

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

AM: – I love having disparate influences color what I do.

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

AM: – I warm up at home earlier that day, playing scales and the tricky segments of the music I’ll be performing. I realize I arrive at the bandstand with more eagerness to play and a fresher mindset if I don’t overplay beforehand.

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

AM: – Generally speaking, the compositions began with a musical idea and the intellect kicked in later.

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

AM: – It is in fact difficult for me to let go of the idea that music has to be likable. Having said that, I do things my way, especially in such a project. People are responsible for finding out in what they’re spending their time and money.

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

AM: – Hmm what to choose… Playing for hundreds of Tango dancing couples at the closure of the Buenos Aires Tango Festival in 2008. Session with Tony Malaby in 2010 or so, at Natalio Sued’s studio in Amsterdam, receiving his feedback.

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

AM: – Perhaps it’s the way in which they are played that might catch young people’s interest. For me and many of my contemporaries, because we were into Rock and Blues, it was guitarists like Mike Stern that did the trick. From there we moved on to Scofield, Frisell, and later Miles Davis and further. I guess that route could be followed by young people today, although they seem to be more into electronic music…

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

AM: – I’m not sure I am answering the question but regardless of music I guess the challenge is to enjoy life in whichever way we get to live it.

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

AM: – More people interested in music.

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

AM: – If I was asked some months ago it would have been a totally different answer but nowadays it’s a rather nerdy one: I am once again checking on the playing of Paul Chambers, Ray Brown and such.

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

AM: – Hadn’t thought of one but OK: “Be yourself.”

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

AM: – Buenos Aires in the late 40s. All these incredible Tango (and other) orchestras performing every night at different venues to their max capacity. So many stories I heard about it, like the tramway passing by and stopping for a minute to take a listen. If you allow me, I’ll take a flight to NY from there please.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Adan Mizrahi - Lichting 2015 - Conservatorium van Amsterdam

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