May 20, 2024

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Interview with Frank Kohl: Jazz is for everyone who takes the time to open their minds: Video

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist, an ungrateful character, a problematic person Frank Kohl. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Frank Kohl: – I grew up in NY, just a few miles north of NYC. I first became interested in music when the Beatles & Rolling Stones came out.

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

FK: – I was first interested in the blues players and would play to their records for hours. I was also involved in bands from a very young age.

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

FK: – For practice I try to learn new tunes and in different keys. I like to practice spontaneity and playing things in many different ways. I can’t say I practice rhythm much, but when I do I use a metronome on 2 & 4.

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

FK: – Music that I don’t necessarily like is not a problem. One can find something of value in just about any music.

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

FK: – I just try to be calm and focused. Sometimes I’ll try to loosen up my hands.

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

FK: – Intellect is used to learn and retain information, also good for reacting to things quickly. Soul is who I am deep down. When things are going well most of what I’m playing comes from the soul.

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

FK: – Ultimately I like to think of myself as an artist, not an entertainer. I can’t always attain that level of performance but that’s what I’m striving to do. Under those circumstances it’s not practical to give people what they want. If there is someway to reach out to a listener to help bring them on board with what’s happening I would feel good about that.

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

FK: – It was a challenging and joyous event shared with two of the finest improvisers in the Jazz world.

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

FK: – They need to be taught that a tune is a vehicle or canvas. In Jazz the age of the tune, whether it be from 1920 or 2020 is almost irrelevant. What you choose to do with that tune is timeless.

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

FK: – I believe that the music of the great Jazz masters and the heart and soul they put into that music is available to anyone who opens up to receive it. The greats are with us listening, inspiring, teaching. You have to listen carefully.

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

FK: – It would be that more people would understand what Jazz really is. Understand that it’s who we are and how we express our experience here on earth.

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

FK: – I enjoy guitarists John Stowell, Chico Pinheiro, John Scofield, Peter Bernstein.

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

FK: – That Jazz is Art. It uses color, texture, space in time and most importantly it’s who we are.

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

FK: – I’d like to go to NY in the 50’s-60’s and listen to Coltrane, Monk, Miles etc. when It was all happening.

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

FK: – What’s your message to young Jazz fans about what your website is trying to do?

JBN: – To listen to jazz, to follow quality jazzmen, but not you, to distinguish intellectuals in jazz, whom I invite to the big jazz festivals I organize in Eastern European countries.

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

FK: – Jazz is for everyone who takes the time to open their minds and to think of Jazz as abstract painting. The only difference is that it moves in time.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Frank Kohl: The Crossing - Jazz da Gama

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