June 14, 2024

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Interview with Jakob Dinesen: Don’t worry, the future of jazz is safe: Video

Interview with saxophonist Jakob Dinesen. 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?

Jakob Dinesen: – I grew up in a suburban area of Copenhagen.Among my friends we listened to David Sanborn, Michael Brecker, Earth Wind and Fire and Kool and the Gang. My father had some Ben Webster records that also caught my ear and imagination. To be a saxophonist and a musician seemed like a impossible dream for me, given that no one I knew had that kind of life.

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Later I gravitated to friends that shared the same dreams as me. Ever since I have been lucky to spend my life studying and  playing music.

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

JD: – In the beginning  I wanted to sound like Brecker . Later I was attracted to all the masters of the tradition,Sonny Rollins, Ben Webster, Getz, Trane, Lovano, Eddie Harris, Hawk, Wayne Shorter, George Garzone who was my teacher in Boston and many more. I love to tell the story about when I met Joe Henderson. I was 19 and into Michael Brecker. Some friends and I went to a club to see Joe Henderson. His music was still a bit mysterious to me at that time. In the break he came to our table and asked if he could sit with us. He was very kind, interested and well-spoken. When I told him that I was a saxophonist he asked me all these questions and tried his best to guide and enlighten me. I remember everything he said and when we left I felt blessed that a man of his wit and wisdom would take his time to meet me. Since that time Joe Hendersons music has grown to be an absolute favorite of mine.

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

JD: – When I’m alone I try to play long notes and different exercises that I often come up with myself. I find it very important to be able to play Melodies with as much conviction and soul as possible. As I enjoy playing many different kinds of music I also stress the importance of knowing a lot of different music and tunes. A teacher at Berklee College of music told us that the melodies are more important that all the licks we love to learn. That’s a good point.

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

JD: – When I had my first professional experiences it was with modern bands. One was a mix of Hiphop and jazz. I wanted to be cutting edge and represent my generation with a original musical message. I had lots of work, lots of fun, lots of ego. I was very busy running around from gig to gig and jamming in the after hour clubs in Copenhagen.

When I was around 30 years I met the very popular and beloved  Bass player Hugo Rasmussen. He was from the older generation, had played a lot with Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon And many more from that era. He became like a father for me and his love for the tradition made me want to learn more of the old sound, feeling and repertoire. I would say the same thing  about some of my close friends from Africa and Cuba. To be able to play with them has made me want to change my feeling and sound to blend in and be part  of  their music.

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

JD: – I’m all for the soul of things. Among people, in music, in everything. I don’t have much trust in the intellectual approach. To much talking, too much thinking, too little playing.

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

JD: – A good audience can change the whole world to the better, bad audience can change a beautiful situation to indifference. I for one should do what I can to inspire and include the audience.

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

JD: – Copenhagen these days are full of young jazz-people that play the old tunes of the 40’ties and 50’ties. They do it in a respectful way but still it sound fresh to me. There’s plenty of young audience that get it too. I see this wave all over the world now. Before I used to worry that this music would die when the older generations pass way. Don’t worry, the future of jazz is safe.

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

JD: – In our part of the world we don’t talk a lot about spirit. In all my journeys to Africa, Brazil, Cuba and Asia I have realized that it’s a common thing to deal with the spirits. Coltrane came closer to that than most other people in his quest. His music seems to have all spirits helping lifting us up. I hope to be able to receive the help and guidance from all spirits that be. Playing music gives you lots of chances to experience just that.

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

JD: – Show business is highly competitive. On the good side it elevates the level of musician-ship and artistry. On the bad side many successful acts are more PR driven that music-driven. Sometimes I’d wish that the general audience was more educated in music and that they would gravitate to music just because they felt it, and not because of some clever and manipulative marketing strategy. I guess show business has always been full of seduction. Sometimes I get the feeling that people around here don’t really need music the way I experienced it in say, Africa. Maybe if everyone took more time in their life to actually enjoy and learn about music it would elevate our energy around music and social life.

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

JD: – Too many, but I`ll name a few.. Aretha Franklin, Fela Kuti, Geri Allen. I’ve been listening to him in Woody Shaw’s band. I love that incredible and original music that they created in that period. There’s an endless amount of great music out there. I saw incredible stuff in Africa, Brazil and Cuba. Now My 2 young sons are playing amazing music for me that their generation listens to. Music is like the ocean. You can go drink some of it, but never all of it. It’s endless.

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

JD: – I’d love to see Coltranes band live when Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner and Jimmy Garrison played with him.

Interview by Simon Sarg

Note: https://jazzbluesnews.com/2023/03/19/useu-jazz-blues-association-festivals/ You can express your consent and join our association, which will give you the opportunity to perform at our Jazz and Blues festivals, 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/useujba/

Jakob Dinesen – Wikipedia

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