Interview with jazz trumpeter Jonas Scheffler. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.com: – Are there sub-genres within the jazz field that you tend to stay away from or focus on?
Jonas Scheffler: – I grew up in a small town in the northern part of Jutland in Denmark. It is a small coast town with around 9000 citizens. My whole family has been playing music always, and my dad also plays the trumpet, so in a way it was a very natural decision for me. We heard a lot of American funk and soul in our house. Still hasn’t happened.
JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?
JS: – I think that I have been struggling for a while finding my “own” sound. Listening to players like Chet, Miles and Wynton a lot, kind of made it hard to be satisfied with your sound. Over time I learned to accept my sound, and now I really admire myself in a way.
The most important thing I have done for myself is accepting that I am me, and my sound is mine. Sure, I have days where I sound like shit, but it is all about accepting, adapting and getting to know yourself. Your sound is yours.
JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?
JS: – I love playing long notes. It helps me focus on my tone and get my playing centered. I play a lot of Danish folksongs in all keys and flexibility exercises, and almost always to a metronome.
Another important exercise for me is to listen to all kinds of music and musicians. It really inspires me.
JBN: – How do you keep stray, or random, musical influences from diverting you from what you’re doing?
JS: – For me there are no random musical influences. I take it all in and honestly believe that all the music I listen to or/and play has made me the trumpeter I am today. I think it depends on how you process music.
There could be talk or advertising about your CD
JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
JS: – Uh. I think you need some intellect or at least skill on your instrument to be able to play it with soul.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?
JS: – It depends on what kind of gig I’m playing, but mostly yes, I don’t mind. I mean, if I’m playing with one of my bands who plays original music, I can’t promise the audience the emotion they are longing for, but I invite them to experience and share their own emotions towards our music.
On the other hand, if I’m playing a dancing-gig or what-ever I’m ok with delivering people the emotion they long for. Otherwise, I would just say no to the gig.
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of standard tunes are half a century old?
JS: – Another good questions. I think we have to accept that not all jazz is standard jazz. For me jazz is much more, and I think we (on radio stations, tv-shows and so on …) as jazz lovers, has a responsibility to widen our perspective and show young people that jazz isn’t just “old” music.
JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?
JS: – That’s deep. I think for me Love is my spirit. And music is also love. Feelings as insecurity, greef, optimism and happiness plays a huge role in my “spirit”.
JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?
JS: – I would change the inequality in musical world. We need equality.
JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?
JS: – A lot of different artists! But I just checked my playlists: Chris Stapleton, Verneri Pohjola, Adrienne Lenker, Fleetwood Mac, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Guldimund and Chet Baker are some of my top artists right now.
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?
JS: – Oh man. That’s a tough one. My biggest musical hero is Chet Baker, so I would love to go back to June 21, 1979, and sit in the studio when he recorded the album “The touch of your lips”. A total classic and a MUST listen for all!
Interview by Simon Sargsyan
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