March 3, 2024

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Interview with Peter Protschka: There is no meaning of life: You have to create it by yourself: Video

Interview with Jazz trumpeter Peter Protschka. 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?

Peter Protschka: – I grew up in a musical family with a very reknown classical singer as my father. In my teens I was caught by live jazz music in my hometown Cologne, Germany. I would go to listen to the WDR Bigband as a important first influence as well as the small group concerts at the Stadtgarten in Cologne and a lot of latin gigs which took place everywere in Cologne back in the day. With 15 I was pretty sure that I wanted to do the playing and composing for a living. But the trumpet is a beast and I took me some more years to realize it seriously.

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

PP: – My first big influences were Miles and Chet. But when I got to College, I started to check out Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Kenny Dorham and a lot more of the famous cats. So my playing got more line orientated and energetic I resume by listening a lot to all these players. Today I would name Freddie and Woody and Tom Harrell as my main influences but I also love great european players like Kenny Wheeler. He also had a great impact on my musical universe as player and as a composer.

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

PP: – Well, I work on my sound and phrasing every single day a year. In addition I transcribe and practice all the material in all keys. And I work on my tune repertoire, very important imo.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

PP: – My playing has be become more mature over the years. This comes from playing live a lot with different line ups and musicians that are better than me;)

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

PP: – Jazz has to be both. In european jazz or in jazz in general there is a tendency to focus on the intellectual side only. I dont dig that very much. All the emotions should be in the music, you can hear that if you listen to cats like Freddie Hubbard, Roy Hargrove or John Coltrane.

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

PP: – Yes, I need their spirit to function on stage. And I love the interaction with the crowd. But I wont play take five for the encore if they wanna hear it;)

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

PP: – Play them fresh as they do it at so many places around the world. And play own material which has soul, groove and melody. So i´m sure you gonna get them!

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

PP: – I would totally agree. There is no meaning of life : You have to create it by yourself. This can be through art, family or something else. For me, music has been the number one since my earliest days.

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

PP: – That every committed and really skilled and talented musicians could make a living out of his art without teaching or doing other dayjobs.

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

PP: – Roy Hargrove, Kenny Barron and a lot more. Everyone who is telling a real message.

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

PP: – The early 80ies in NYC.! Hanging and playing with all the great bands in clubs and on festivals worldwide. Making a living out of this. I would not ask for more!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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. https://jazzbluesnews.com/2022/11/19/us-eu-jba/

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