July 13, 2024

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Interview with Werner Hüsgen: Soul & Mind. Music is very important in my life: Video, new CD covers, Photos

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Werner Hüsgen. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

Werner Hüsgen: – Growing up in a family of amateur musicians my childhood and youth was full of music – mostly classical, some Soul- and Rock Music as well. First instrument was classical guitar, changing at the age of 15 to electric guitar – heroes at this time were Jimmy Hendrix & Led Zeppelin. Aged 18 it happened – listening to John Coltranes Ole´ blow away my mind and I started to listen all the classical jazz saxophone players like Cannonball Aderley, Phil Woods, Charlie Parker…… A little later an altosax crossed my way, I checked it out and knew immediately – that´s my thing!

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

WH: – Starting with a loud and wild sound I shaped my sound during conservatory studies mainly through two influences: playing a lot of classical saxophone music, which develops a high degree of sound and pitch control – transcribing (in those times from vinyl and tape recorders) lots of masterpiece solos and playing along with, which gives a high sensual feeling for the sound of the Masters.

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

WH: – A good piece of advise from my first teacher was to practise as much as possible by heart, especially scales, chord, patterns, song melodies and changes. Practising rhythm I have a nice story: Friday late afternoon  – all conservatory classes done – meeting with 5 or 6 horns in a class room and playing “Dante Agostini – Studies for snare drum” split in a nice jazz chord. Rules: who failed first, had to pay the first beers, who failed second the next round…. After some weeks we played many pages without any mistakes and had a lot of fun.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

WH: – Playing music is always a mirror of your own soul – so over the years you change and as you change so does your music – but there always remains a core.

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

WH: – Lots of sports, meditation.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2022: Aventura Quartett – Soul & Mind, how it was formed and what you are working on today.  

WH: – The balance between energy, relaxation, complexity and simplicity. Actually I am working on some new compositions and some arrangements of my Big Band Project.

New CD – 2022 – Buy from here

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

WH: – Most important for recording and even more for touring! I spend a lot of  time with this looking for the perfect mix of musical/technical skill, and, equally important, character, personality, attitude and the ability to work as a team.

JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

WH: – For me music has to create first of all a strong emotions, that´s what touches myself and even more the audience. Intellect brings the new, the fresh, the unexpected into the music.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

WH: – Absolutely – to me  it´s a pleasure and privilege to share (and not deliver) emotions with the audience

JBN: – Can you share any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions over the years?

WH: – One musical highlight: playing two Big Band concerts, quite conventional Count Basie stuff – BUT – with Jeff Hamilton on drums and Lynn Seaton on bass (the last Basie Rhythm Section) – incredible experience! Recording highlight: recording at 11pm after a long recording day and after dinner with some drinks… the crew had prepared the studio for a ballad recording “To You my Love” (my composition) with hundreds of candles, no artificial lights – first take was amazing, and that was it! To be found on my CD “Amsterdam Groove” by P.U.L.S.E. – Gig/Audience Highlight: Playing forMalta´s Indepence Day, on the Main Place of the capital La Valleta on a stage 60x 30 Meters with Blues Brothers Revival Band – audience of 30.000 people going nuts.

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

WH: – No matter if you play standards or todays originals, not the musical material, but the way of interpretation and presentation touches people, no matter old or young.

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

WH: – Music is very important in my life, but not the only spirit. Life is so wonderful, so broad and rich, to me one has to celebrate life in all its facets and then you are as a improvising musician able to tell your audience stories…..

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

WH: – No prejudices about music – just listen!

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

WH: – Actually Immanual Wilkins.

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

WH: – Soul&Mind

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

WH: – NYC late fifties.

JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself… 

WH: – Why are you running that page? What is your approach?

JBN: – Jazz is my life!!! I live entirely in jazz, and around me my adjective is Jazz!

JBN: – At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?

WH: – Many musicians don’t like to speak about their music and about themselves – they think that the music has to speak by itself. In my experience most people are happy to get some insight knowledge into the music they listen for the first time – only a few words can produce an image in their heads to understand more of what they hear – so I hope with this interview I can make some people curious about my music and the person beyond.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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