Jazz interview with jazz guitarist George Grydkovets. 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?
George Grydkovets: – I grew up in Kyiv, Ukraine, and have lived there since recently moving to New York. Despite not being professionals, my parents love and play music, and brought this passion to me. There was always music playing at our house. When I was six, they gifted me my first iPod, and that’s when I really became a fan of music. The first records included Forrest Gump OST, a compilation record of 50-60s Jazz and Queen’s “It’s A Kind Of Magic”.
JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?
GG: – The sound develops as I play, study and get exposed to new music. In a lot of ways it is a representation of my influences, almost like there is no “me”, but I feel that by finding out what resonates with me from outside, I’m getting closer to “me” inside. I feel that it becomes more confident, organic and fluid with time, almost like a voice. Major factors are listening to music, transcribing, playing music I get inspired by and composing, while working on original ideas.
JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?
GG: – My routine consists of multiple time blocks of something that I work on at the moment. It usually starts with warm-ups, arpeggio/chord exercises and then goes into more conceptual and creative exercises. Recently I’ve tried to include more practice outside guitar in my routine, before even touching the instrument, such as Ari Hoenig’s Rhythm Training.
JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?
GG: – Process of change is inescapable to every human. The question is more whether it’s perceived or not. I was very fortunate to have met teachers who influenced my process of change, to whom I’m very grateful.
JBN: – How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?
GG: – It’s about knowing the material and getting warmed up. I try to play at least 2 hours before the performance, that way I feel more confident on stage.
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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
GG: – The balance is determined by the function of music. If it’s an etude, it includes first of all a certain technical aspect in composition, if it’s a song that expresses certain emotion, the accent will be in creating “mood” within the listener.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?
GG: – Yes, as long as it’s the emotion that the music is for.
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of standard tunes are half a century old?
GG: – The interest can be created by showing the value behind the music. Giving an fulfilling experience by a real/sincere example of music called Jazz can touch some of the new aspiring listeners. But it’s also important to understand that every music has its listener, and so not every listener will be a listener for a particular kind of music.
JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?
GG: – As something that one should always refer to on the way.
JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?
GG: – All I can change is myself. But that also can be questioned.
JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?
GG: – Gilad Hekselman, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell, Ari Hoenig, John Coltrane, Valentin Silvestrov, Brian Blade Fellowship, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Art Blakey & Jazz Messengers, Oscar Peterson & Milt Jackson, Steven Feifke, Mark Turner.
JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
GG: – Experience of being. Freedom, affinity and clarity. But also for music to manifest itself.
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?
GG: – I think that the existence of time is the reason to be a subject of a particular time. But it’s interesting to see the origin of existence, as it determines everything that exists.
JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…
GG: – “What for?” – What is the reason for anything?
JBN: – Because Putin is dirt, and Russia is an aggressor state.
JBN: – At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?
GG: – To be published. Thank you very much! George Grydkovets
Interview by Simon Sargsyan