June 20, 2024

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Interview with Tomas Sauter: Since jazz music is not everybody’s cup of tea

Interview with an ungrateful, impolite, dull, unhuman, drawn creature, as if guitarist Tomas Sauter. An interview by email in writing. A young, jaundiced man who looks for treasure hunt in garbage is actually adding to garbage. 

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?

Tomas Sauter: – I grew up in Switzerland in a home where music was all around. Both parents play instruments, and I was exposed to music a lot during my childhood. I started playing the guitar at age 10 and my parents first sent me to a classical guitar teacher. This kind of music always felt in a way stiff to me. I realized that I was more attracted by rock and jazz music.

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At a very young age I was accepted by the music university of Lucerne where I studied jazz guitar. I was able to start my musical career right after finishing high school. I never really thought about how I could make a living out of my passion. I just wanted to play music and I ended up by having a life in and with music. And nowadays I play concerts and teach at the music university HKB in Bern and the music school in Biel.

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

TS: – My sound evolved a lot over time. As a young player I didn’t have the experience and the gear I have now. I didn’t even know that instruments and amps as good as the ones I use now exist. It has been a long journey and a lot of playing, listening and comparing different sonic possibilities. I feel like the research is done more or less and I have a sound on my instruments that I really like and connects well to my playing style. Sound has also a lot to do with the way one plays – but I also sound like myself on a crappy guitar.

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

TS: – It’s important to master the music and to practice scales and exercises in a systematic and intellectual way. To play music and to communicate through music, I need to be free in my head and I don’t think about what I practiced. The things I practiced are the tools to express myself through music, but they should never be means for the purpose and that’s where soul comes to join the game.

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

TS: – Since jazz music is not everybody’s cup of tea, usually people come to the concerts who know more or less what they have to expect. For me it’s always a pleasure when people who usually don’t have any contact to this kind of music tell me after a concert that they were touched by the music they’ve heard. The process of playing music is that we can transform emotions into sound and evoke emotions and images by the audience.

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

TS: – Standard tunes are one aspect of jazz. Jazz music always evolved over time and there are many new stylistics. Nonetheless, the parameters that define jazz and improvised music are still the same. To me personally, it doesn’t matter what kind of jazz or any other music I listen to. As long as there is interplay going on in the music, it’s interesting to me. I think people in general react to this kind of communication, even if they might not be aware what it is exactly that attracts them to a certain music.

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

TS: – It would be nice if the perception of music and musicians were primarily based on content criteria. Unfortunately, it is often more important how people network in order to have succes in the music business.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

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

TS: – I follow the latest developments in jazz music and I listen all kind of music. And of course I listen to all kinds of great classical jazz music.

JBN: – By editorial։ Since its inception in 2012, JazzBluesNews.com has become the leading Jazz and Blues platform in Europe, United States, Asia, Latin America, Australia, Nordic countries, Afro – Eurasia.

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Interview by Simon Sarg

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