May 18, 2024

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Interview with Tobias Haug: Jazz goes straight to your heart: Video, new CD cover

Interview with Jazz saxophonist Tobias Haug. 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?

Tobias Haug։ – I grew up in a musician’s family in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. I was lucky that my family took me to all kind of concerts in church and clubs during my childhood.

It was on a family trip to Los Angeles when I heard for the first time a live big band rehearsing. As I remember the day, the band was playing an up-time tune in the early morning and the tenor saxophonist played a solo throughout the piece in style like “Johnny Griffin”. I didn’t forget this moment…

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

After the vacation, I had my first saxophone lesson. Soon I got the opportunity to play in different groups and also started writing for the bands.

A few years later I spent another 3 weeks in Los Angeles and took some lessons. At that time, I was already in love with Jazz music. I knew, I wanted to become a professional musician.

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

TH: – I think every horn player is searching for his own sound because it’s such an important thing. For me, Dexter Gordon is the biggest idol. I mean if we talk about sound, no one can keep up with Dexter’s sound…

Since more than 10 years I’m playing long tones to get a warmer and more open sound on my horn. And this journey will never end, because you can always improve and change things.

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

TH: – Playing long tones is the only daily exercise I do. It helps developing your personnel sound, which is the most important thing in Jazz. In terms of rhythm and harmony, I don’t have any regular exercises. It needs a certain level of Technik to express yourself. But if you don’t feel limited, you are doing fine.
For me, the best way to learn is always to transcribe people like Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Stitt, Joe Henderson …

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

TH: – For sure I have changed over the years! It’s the most natural process and it happens every day. You find new things and you bring it into your playing. Music is an endless universe and time is too short to catch everything. It doesn’t matter what kind of music you’re listening to (conscious or subconscious), everything you like has an impact on your playing. Life is about experience and the more we know, the more diverse and interesting our music becomes.

JBN: – How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

TH: – There’s no special ritual. Just the common daily practicing part. Before the concert it can help to spend some time in a quiet environment to safe energy and focus on the concert.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2023: Tobias Haug – Awakening, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

TH: – There are so many good memories from our blowing session in Cologne. I think everyone can hear the joy and the happiness in our music. Each musician has done a great job at the recording session and I’m very thankful to all the band members who put so much energy and love into the music. It’s an honor to play my own music with such talented musicians and also very close friends.

Beside the good energy, I also really like the diversity and the different moods in the pieces. Every tune has its own little story and I think we did find the right mood for each tune.

But the main point is, if I listen to the album, it makes me happy! I hope the listener feels the same way!

Buy from here – New CD 2023

JBN: – How did you select the musicians who play on the album?

TH: – The Quintet is my current working band, so it was kind of given to record with those people. The only little surprise is our percussionist “Renis Mendoza” who is not a fix band member. But I don’t know any other person with his spirit and energy (listen to Samba Rumantsch!). So, that was the best decision to add him on our recording session and he also joined the band for a few concerts.

JBN: – Can you share any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions over the years?

TH: – One week before we recorded the album, we were on tour in Switzerland and Germany with the Quintet. I didn’t expect many people but somehow all the concerts were quite crowded. We used to play many new compositions and we got a lot of support from the audience. That was a wonderful experience and the best preparation for our upcoming recording session. We could play everything by heart and it increased our self-confidence for sure.

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

TH: – Music is one of the few things everyone likes, we need music. It’s good for our soul and it makes people feel good. Jazz music is complex and at the same time it goes straight to your heart.

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

TH: – On a concert, the audience and the musicians are connected. The music is always for the listener! On stage you can feel the energy from the audience and it makes the process exciting. Every audience is different and that’s why the communication is such an important part in music.

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

TH: – It doesn’t really matter how old a tune is. Sometimes an old song sounds more modern than a brand-new composition. It’s about how you perform a tune and what kind of emotions you’re adding to the music. The only way to catch people’s attention is to bring a deep meaning, love and emotions into the music. And music has to be simple, so people can understand and follow the music.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

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

TH: – I still listen to the exact same people like I used to listen as a child. The masters, Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Art Blakey, Cedar Walton….

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

TH: – I would turn the time back to the early 50’s. I regret the most that I don’t have the chance to see Charlie Parker in a live performance. Fortunately, we have some recordings, but of course a live concert would be a different thing…

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

TH: – I think we are going through hard times and life ain’t easy. And people need love more than ever and that’s what I bring to the people with my music. It’s all about love!

Interview by Elléa Beauchêne

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