June 14, 2024

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Interview with Daniël van der Duimof: The bigger the musical intellect, the more you are able to communicate with the soul

Interview with an ungrateful, impolite, dull, unhuman, drawn creature, as if pianist Daniël van der Duimof. 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?

Daniël van der Duimof: – I grew up in Nijmegen, a medium sized town in the Netherlands. My adventure took of on my grand-mothers piano, which was a piece of our living room furniture. So it was a really playful and intuitive way in which I could discover the instrument from an early age on, and I think it’s a quality that always sticked to my playing.

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I think I always trusted that if I worked hard enough, I would eventually be able to make a living from it. But back then I did not realized that this hard work also meant a lot of things besides just studying the piano. It also means being a great entrepreneur.

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

DD: – My biggest evolution was probably during my masters at the conservatory. Where I started researching the combination between the piano and effects. I mainly discovered ‘granular synthesis’ during that period. Which, in combination with foot pedals, allows me to bring an orchestral aspect to my playing every now and then. This really enhances my live performance.

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

DD: – Harmony wise I tend to listen and transcribe a lot. When a pianist does something that sticks to me, I always try to find out what it is and internalize that in my playing.

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

DD: – I think my biggest change is in trust. In the beginning of your professional career you really try to ‘prove’ yourself and in that you sometimes overdo yourself. So now I am trying to stay more true to my abilities and tastes.

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

DD: – I think the bigger the musical intellect, the more you are able to communicate with the soul. But the danger is to only focus on the intellect. So I’d say the balance is even, if the intellect also considers opening towards the soul.

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

DD: – For sure, because that makes us play better as well. If the audience is vibing, we vibe a lot better too.

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

DD: – By modernizing jazz. I think that is what we are doing with the trio as well. For me jazz is mainly about developing a language of improvisation and this language can be anything, from Pop harmonies to Arabic scales to Balkan rhythms. Anything. So I think it is important to invite young listeners by presenting them something that they at least partly know. And, when you invited them long enough, they probably start diving into our heritage as well. You see the same with pop music nowadays. Where young people still (re)discover the Beatles because the bands they listen to are influenced by it as well.

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

DD: – For me the meaning of live is to be happy. And I am most happy when I keep on challenging myself and music is the biggest challenge there is. Because there are infinite subjects to learn and to study.

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

DD: – It would be categorization. That music is just music and that everybody is allowed to listen to every style he wants.

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

DD: – My biggest influences nowadays are Keith Jarrett.

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

DD: – I would like to see the world just before the arrival of human kind. I often imagine how the Netherlands would look like before it was cultivated and that would make me able to see it with my own eyes.

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 Emmanuel Bolton

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