Jazz interview with a bad musician, problematic person, as if flugelhornist Angelo Verploegen. 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.
Angelo Verploegen: – I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s in a small town called Oss, in the Netherlands, about 100 kilometers south of Amsterdam. Oss had a vivid brass culture back then, and it was quite normal to be part of one of the brassbands already from early age on. I joined the local amateur big band at the age of 16 and there my interest in jazz music got really triggered.
JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?
AV: – I pay a lot of attention to basic technical studies. In the end this enables me to let go the thinking of how to play and shift my attention to the feeling of playing. And I guess finding your own sound has a lot to do with who and what you listen to, in combination with your own personality.
JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?
AV: – Over the last few years I tend to eliminate those particular elements in order to create more awareness of them.
JBN: – How do you keep stray, or random, musical influences from diverting you from what you’re doing?
AV: – Actually, I don’t mind getting diverted by random musical influences. They give me new ideas and make me reflect on my own position in the musical landscape.
JBN: – How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?
AV: – I try to be in the best possible physical shape by practicing, and spiritually I try to focus as much as possible on the music itself in optimum communication with the other musicians involved at that time.
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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
AV: – I think when it comes to music, or any art form for that matter, obviously it’s the soul that really matters. I want to be moved on an emotional level. And isn’t it the inexplicable that touches or moves you? At the same time I believe a better understanding of any art form and its cultural, social, political, historical context can enhance the spiritual experience, so that’s where the intellect comes in.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?
AV: – It’s important to me to connect to the audience, to evoke whatever kind of response, and my efforts to do so are sincere and authentic. One of the truly great things about music, especially live music, is that we’re all part of a collectively shared experience. But in the end it’s up to the audience how to feel when listening to my music.
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of standard tunes are half a century old?
AV: – By playing them! The strength is in the music itself and in the performance. It’s up to us to keep this music alive and kicking.
JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?
AV: – To me the meaning of life is in the caring for one another. And music can be a very elementary force in this context.
JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?
AV: – Stop ruining people’s hearing by the excessive volumelevels at many musical events.
JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?
AV: – At this very moment I’m listening to Marquis Hill’s. And in preparation of some upcoming concert- and recording projects I’m listening to Bach’s Mattheus Passion, Toots Tielemans recordings and Monk’s music.
JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
AV: – Joy, comfort, wonder.
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?
AV: – The near future. There are many interesting things going on in jazz these days and there are many brilliant young players around. I’m very curious to hear where they are going to lead us.
JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…
AV: – You will be sent to a deserted island (I’m truly sorry for that) and you only get to take 5 cd’s with you. Which ones will that be?
JBN: – From trumpeters: Lee Morgan – Cornbread, Miles Davis – Kind of Blue, Sonny Rollins, Clifford Brown And Max Roach – Three Giants!, Clifford Brown featuring Zoot Sims – Jazz Immortal, Marquis Hill – Love tape.
JBN: – At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?
AV: – To virtually meet new people.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan