Jazz interview with a bad musician, as if keyboardist Benjamin Croft․ An interview by email in writing. This young unknown was probably writing an interview for the first time, or he thinks that we only ask questions with nothing like him-idiot, so he only sent the answers and disappeared.
JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music.
Benjamin Croft: – My introduction to music was via a next-door neighbour called Jack played Trumpet and Piano and was a session musician with many orchestras in the UK. When i was only a few years old I would sit in the corner of his music room and listen to him play. His friends included the great Trumpet player Maurice Murphy who would call by when he was in town to play duets with Jack. Aged 7 years I began lessons on Trumpet and Piano.
JBN: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
BC: – My sound in regard to my keyboards has evolved through trial and error owning various synths and listening to great players. I am still refining my approach and I imagine it will be slightly different the next time.
JBN: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
BC: – My practice routine is usually divided into 3 blocks depending on time. Classical/Jazz/Composition or … All with close attention to the metronome.
JBN: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?
BC: – Usually keeping an open mind to styles and influences from different genres helps stop disparate influences from keeping.
JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?
BC: – I have mostly played music everyday for the past 20 years so I don’t feel that stamina is ever an I did have to revise a lot of repertoire recently due to lack of live performances because of the pandemic.It’s easy to forget simple things!
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JBN: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
BC: – I try and keep a healthy balance between intellect and soul in my Music. I like the idea that you can have a simple melody but something very complex underneath.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?
BC: – When I wrote my first album I worried what certain people would think of it. This was a mistake as although it turned out well it wasn’t 100% what I really wanted. For my latest release I just wrote music and didn’t think about anyone.I am much happier with the results this time.
JBN: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
BC: – One of my most cherished memories of a gig was sitting in the front row of a performance of Randy and Michael Brecker. It was incredible to have Randy play on my album but I am really sad I never got the opportunity to record with Michael.
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
BC: – I think there is much more interest in jazz now than when I was younger. Many colleges and universities offer jazz related courses. I had to rely on my local library and weekly radio shows to hear jazz. I think it’s much more accessible now than 20 years ago.
JBN: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
BC: – I believe that’s the answer to life, the universe and everything!
JBN: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
BC: – Rid the world of melodicas. It would be a better place without them!
JBN: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
BC: – I usually listen to things that inspire my imagination to compose. Jazz is only one part of my musical portrait. Steven Wilson and The sons of Apollo have been on my playlist recently. I’m a huge fan of Kate bush.I also have BBC Radio 3 on late at night.I mostly find myself listening to Prog Rock and classical at the moment. I find more pleasure in playing along to jazz recordings. Playing to the solos of Charlie Parker is usually a daily routine.
JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
BC: – I’m not trying to put any messages through my music. I just try to be true to myself when I write and play.
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
BC: – I would just like to perform and release my music during the 1970s and early 80s! I imagine my music would be much more successful during that period!
JBN: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…
BC: – Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett?
JBN: – A more stupid question you would not think of? killer Putin for you…
JBN: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?
BC: – I constantly reappraise my philosophy towards music. In 10 years time I’m sure I’ll be writing and playing in a different manner to today. My conception is certainly different from 10 years ago.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan