June 17, 2024

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Interview with Pierrick Menuau։ The best balance is to let go: Video

Jazz interview with jazz saxophonist Pierrick Menuau․ 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. 

Pierrick Menuau։ – I grew up in a rural environment where my parents were artisans my mother loved music she accompanied me by offering me piano lessons at home and I began to play the saxophone in the village band at age 11.

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

PM: – For the sound of the saxophone I started with the alto and I played a lot on Charlie Parker’s music I wanted to have the same playing. then I switched to the tenor and I worked on the overtones and listened to a lot of tenors like Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane to mention only them. Then one day I stopped and I concentrated on my sound, my phrasing and today I walk in an abstract way in all these sounds (I love the sound of Charles Lloyd) For each individual must have his own sound, specific identity.

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

PM: – Since a long time my way of working is to cultivate myself to learn through the compositions, the solos and the standards which I raise and I constantly find a harmonic and rhythmic richness to develop.

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

PM: – Once I’ve done this work, I avoid copying and pasting phrases or sounds, I rather try to find a personal interpretation with my sense of harmony, my rhythmic sense, my phrasing and my sound.

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

PM: – I practice regularly to keep myself in shape and keep the energy which is essential for the music to live. I also like to know well the repertoire I have to play, I want to be ready to be able to exchange more easily with the other musicians.

There could be talk or advertising about your CD

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

PM: – The best balance is to let go.

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

PM: – Personally I find it hard to know how the audience feels. I just think that if the music is good for me, people will feel the same way. but sometimes it’s the opposite that happens

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

PM: – Yes, of course. One day I was playing in a club in Angers where I live in France and in the evening came the musicians of the band Joshua Redman who was performing at the city theater, Brian Blade, Christian Mc Bride, and we played all the rest of the evening with them it was great. That’s my best memory, It was in 1995 I think.

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

PM: – To be myself a teacher and to be confronted with my students on this subject and well I think that the music of jazz it is built through standard tunes that they are songs or instrumental and the students want to discover these famous standard tunes to understand this music and for some to appropriate them.

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

PM: – I’m not a very spiritual guy but I’m sure that if you believe in music it gives you an unforgettable feeling.

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

PM: – Concerts every day?

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

PM: – Sonny Stitt play East of the sun.

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

PM: – Sharing, communion.

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

PM: – I would like to come back to New York where my trip stopped when I was young because I had to go to George Coleman to take saxophone lessons and for lack of money I had to return to France.

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

PM: – What led you to become a journalist for musicians?

JBN: – Jazz is my life!

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

PM: – To promote my music, my band and to discover other jazz and blues albums․

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Angers. Pourquoi Togertherness ensemble, l'album de Pierrick Menuau, est une belle histoire d'amitié

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