March 4, 2024

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Interview with Rob van Bavel: The emotion, feeling, soul is very important to me: Video

Jazz interview with a bad musician, as if pianist, an ungrateful and problematic person Rob van Bavel. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – Before we jump into anything historical, can you tell us about what we can expect musically this evening?

Rob van Bavel: – I grew up in the South of the Netherlands, close to Belgium, and my parents were both musicians and music teachers … I guess I copied them, being a performing musician and a teacher at 2 major conservatories in the Netherlands.

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

RvB: – When I started out as a Jazzpianist, I was crazy about Oscar Peterson, later I got more interested in the Music of Herbie Hancock and eventually I became a big fan of Bill Evans.

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

RvB: – I get a lot of inspiration from my international students, and I still practice a lot, new music but also technique and classical music.

JBN: – How do you keep stray, or random, musical influences from diverting you from what you’re doing?

RvB: – I don’t …. I like to listen a lot to all kind of musical influences.

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

RvB: – For me first the themes have to be perfect, so there’s a lot of energy going into that direction…. The improvisations I try to keep open/fresh as much as possible!

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

RvB: – I like the combination! Some music focusses to much on intellect in modern jazz, and then I loose my attention … the emotion/feeling/soul is very important to me.

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

RvB: – I definitely take care of the audience. I take responsibility that they can enjoy and experience our music in a way they like.

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

RvB: – It’s not about the tunes, but about the way we play them! Also nice to write originals….

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

RvB: – When I’m playing music in front of an audience (solo but preferably with a band) there it is….

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

RvB: – More exposure for our Jazz music through Radio/TV

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

RvB: – All good music … but a lot of piano players of course: Brad Mehldau, Gerald Clayton, Aaron Parks, Sullivan Fortner…

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

RvB: – There’s beauty in life, even if things are looking terrible, through art, whether it’s music, paintings, poems, literature, movies….

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

RvB: – Definitely to the 50/60’s! I would love to see all these great jazz musicians perform live … I was born ’65, so I missed that amazing part of the Jazz history, but of course I was there in the 80/90’s when there as also amazing music!

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

RvB: – Do you think that there will be an audience for our beloved jazzmusic in 20 years? Here in the Netherlands there’s a great audience for main stream/straight ahead jazz, but they’re getting old….and not so much new (younger) audience growing….

JBN: – Of course it will be. I organize jazz festivals in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, and the concerts of my musicians are very crowded. In 2023, I will organize a jazz festival in Brussels with the European Union, you will see how crowded. It will be and in 20 years.

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

RvB: – I hope the people got a little bit of an insight in my musical world from the Netherlands….

JBN: – Yes, out of our 69,000 readers every day, there are many readers from the Netherlands.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Rob van Bavel, pianist, educator, composer, arranger

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