February 28, 2024

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Interview with Jane Ira Bloom: All the horns in the saxophone family have challenges: Video

Interview with jazz saxophonist, ungrateful woman, problematic personality Jane Ira Bloom. 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?

Jane Ira Bloom: – I grew up just outside of Boston, MA and knew I was a musician from the time I was very young. It wasn’t really until my senior year in college that I knew that music was the only thing that I could do and that’s when my professional journey began.

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

JIB: I think having a sound has been something that I’ve thought about since I started playing the soprano sax. All the horns in the saxophone family have challenges but the soprano in particular has some tough things to work through. There’s a smaller window of accuracy when it comes to pitch and a tendency for it to dictate how to sound instead of you getting your own voice to come through the instrument. The best way to describe it is that you have to finesse the instrument to get your own sound to come through. I’ve listened a lot to other instrumentalists too (trumpet players, violinists and vocalists) to get inspiration and ideas about sound and phrasing. As time has gone on, you just get more relaxed with yourself and can’t help but sound like yourself.

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

JIB: For pitch and sustain, lots of overtone work, technical exercises to strengthen embrochure, and practice with a tuner. For rhythm and harmony, I like to practice improvising on songs by myself. Hearing the harmony on the inside and playing at a tempo that I can hear my own thoughts develop.

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

JIB: I hope so. I think as the years have gone by I’ve grown more comfortable with the power of my imagination as an improvisor and less reliant on composition to dictate form and structure in my playing. I think it has to do with growing into a comfort with yourself and a confidence in the magic of spontaneous composition.

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

JIB: As Joni Mitchell’s lyric says “I am a woman of heart and mind.” All parts of our creative selves aline to make the music that we do. It’s not a duality, it’s part of the all encompassing and mysterious creative energy that is our musical identity.

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

JIB: To be honest, my interest is more centered on trying to express something in an authentic way, whether that’s emotional or imagistic. If I’m true to myself then it seems that others can find a way into my music.

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

JIB: I think the secret to revisiting the American Songbook or Standards is to reimagine them from your own time. Say something through them about who you are in your own time and place. Think about what the songs are saying.

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

JIB: I want what he’s having.

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

JIB: I would like to know what it feels like to perform music in zero gravity.

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

JIB: Laura Nyro.

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

JIB: I would like to go into the future, experiencing firsthand what it would be like to improvise with other musicians while floating in zero G’s. I’ve always been interested in surround sound and how sound changes when it moves. Imagine the possibilities if creating sound as a performer became a true three dimensional experience.

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/

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Jane Ira Bloom — Lucy Gram

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