May 22, 2024

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Interview with Emilio Gordoa: Think about jazz half a century later and enjoy its evolution: Video

Jazz Interview with vibraphonist Emilio Gordoa. An interview by email in writing. – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. 

Emilio Gordoa: – I grew up in the outskirts of Cuernavaca, Morelos in Mexico. A city also known as the “city of eternal spring”. A beautiful place but quite disturbing in its monotony. Not in vain, a city where some veterans chose as their last stop. And curiously where bassists Stefano Scodanibbio and Charles Mingus also did. There I spent a good part of my life in a big house full of instruments, so from a very young age I played drums and keyboards. At that time my father had a few bands and he would take me to rehearsals. There was nothing set in stone about being or not being a musician, but I remember I was already quite curious about music.

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

EG: – Finding my own sound has not been a big problem. In the whole process I can say that I have never been very good at imitating what has already been done. This leads me down a unique path. However, it has been a journey that has gone through different faces, mostly following my own interests: from a core of totalitarian free expression, through academic contributions, to anarchy, and finally taking it all in a personal way and sense, I guess…

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

EG: – I’m constantly practice, but almost never find myself in a routine. This could be my routine. For a while I carried a book with exercises of patterns and scales that I used to warm up. It was a book by Yusef Lateef, or I would also play for myself some of my transcriptions for vibraphone of J.S. Bach’s lute pieces. This gave me some sense of harmony and rhythm. Nowadays I don’t pay much attention to the strict concept of rhythm and harmony in my practice. It is more about impulses and emotions. Rhythm and harmony are implicit anyway and adapt to my musical language and not the other way around. They always exist, whether I like it or not, so it is like a concept that is built around the musics I play.

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

EG: – You have to navigate, don’t you? And one always finds oneself in unknown and sometimes quite strange territories. But that’s how it is for me: I have never liked to walk along large avenues, I prefer small roads and even better, to build my own path, which takes me away from certain influences. In the end the path I choose is not the easiest one, especially for those who want to fit into a market… The important thing here is to keep honest to yourself, regardless of the path you take.

There could be talk or advertising about your CD

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

EG: – Balance is found when the intellect fulfills its function and shuts down to activate the soul. But both are needed and sometimes it is necessary to turn to what is needed at the time.

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

EG: – I am very aware and responsibly assume as much as possible the dialogue with the audience, but I rather like to imagine that the audience will receive something beyond a concrete expectation from my music. I like to surprise them. It is possible that they will come up with a new emotions that they didn’t expect. This does not always happen, but at least one can hope for that possibility.

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

EG: – Think about jazz half a century later and enjoy its evolution. Like this you might enjoy the past. Also go beyond its limits and time.

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

EG: – Ahhaaa, It depends on with whom the dialogue is, it will depend on how much I am brave to go deeper into the subject. For now I just don’t have a good answer about the spirit.

To what is the meaning of life, this is senseless because there is many lives. The life of a stone is not the same as that of an animal or a human being, but they have something in common, though, they all have a certain duration as they are. Otherwise, it would not be called life. The spirit could be more complex than that, since it has nothing to do with a time lapse.

…But sure, for some people, music may have its own spirit, for others music reinforces theirs. What is concrete for me is that music is the vibration that unites those who love it.

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

EG: – To remind everyone that music is a ritual that can be attributed and not a medium to explote and be profited from.

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

EG: – I don’t listen to a specific genre or any particular artist, but if I had to mention anything, it would be from the Madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo to some of my contemporaries. I really enjoy listening to music like Éliane Radigue as well as Eric Dolphy or Walt Dickerson to the traditional music of Mauritania.

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

EG: – So, as a definitive message, I don’t have one.

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

EG: – I actually like the present… but a free trip to Berlin year 2200, why not?
would have to be quick round trip, just to corroborate my not so optimistic theories of the future. No misunderstandings, I hope for the best for life and humanity.

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

EG: – Do you expect anything in particular from people’s responses? why?

JBN: – Note: You can express your consent and join our association, which will give you the opportunity to perform at our Jazz and Blues festivals in Europe and Boston, naturally receiving an appropriate royalty. We cover all expenses. The objectives of the interview are: How to introduce yourself, your activities, thoughts and intellect, and make new discoveries for our US/EU Jazz & Blues Association, which organizes festivals, concerts and meetings in Boston and various European countries, why not for you too!! You can read more about the association here.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

INSTANTZZ: Don Malfon, Joni Sigil & Emilio Gordoa “Impro day 1 set 3” [MMI Festival -Music

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