June 21, 2024


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Interview with Quentin Collins: London’s a lot of interest and emphasis on young musicians

Interview with an ungrateful, impolite, dull, unhuman, drawn creature, as if trumpeter Quentin Collins. An interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.com: – Please explain your creative process … What are your main impulses to write music?

Quentin Collins: – I often hear melodies whilst I’m walking or swimming- two things I do almost daily as part of my routine. Having said that, it can vary a lot. Sometimes I’m reading and I notice something that strikes me as a great song title, and that will inspire to go sit at the piano and write. It’s often on the spur of the moment.

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JBN: – Are there sub-genres within the jazz field that you tend to stay away from or focus on?

QC: – I focus on contemporary straight-ahead music. I’ll listen to anything at least once however.

JBN: – When your first desire to become involved in the music was & what do you learn about yourself from music?

QC: – I was in my early teens, and as soon as I learned how to improvise I was hooked and knew that I wanted to do it for the rest of my life. You learn many things- Patience, being kind to yourself and others, and also of course, how to listen to yourself and others. Good life skills!

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JBN: – Did your sound evolve during that time?

QC: – The same musicians who came to the first “play” in summer of 2020 have done every single rehearsal, gig and recording since. We started out playing some of our favourite bop material, by the likes of Jimmy Heath, Freddie Hubbard, Eric Alexander, and then bit by bit evolved into playing our own material inspired by the great lineage of Post-Bop music.

JBN: – How would you describe and rate the music scene you are currently living?

QC: – It’s recovered well since the Pandemic in London. But then again London is it’s own micro-economy, it always seems to thrive, even in difficult times. There’s a lot of interest and emphasis on young musicians here, which has many pros, but there could definitely be more focus on the lineage of jazz. That’s just my opinion. Overall I think its thriving.

JBN: – When you improvise, you know where you’re going. It’s a matter of taking certain paths and certain directions?

QC: – It’s a question of how you’re feeling in that moment. All improvising musicians have their own devices to get into solo passages. I’m no different. Accessing all your information and abilities is a matter of trying to be in the right place mentally and physically when you’re performing.

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JBN: – Do you ever get the feeling that music majors, and particularly people who are going into jazz, are being cranked out much like business majors? That they are not really able to express themselves as jazz musicians?

QC: – In a word yes. I think it’s inevitable that if an institution like a music college churns out a certain number of students each year, studying the same curriculum as each other, with roughly the same teachers, the music will become to an extent homogenised.

JBN: – What about somebody who is really gifted and puts together a band and just gets upset to the point of quitting because of the business aspects-the agents and the clubs?

QC: – The music industry is a very tough business. It really toughens you up, especially if you are a band leader and artist. You must become impervious to rejection and know how to accept criticism well, because they can be a daily experience!

JBN: – And lastly, being a teacher, do you find it difficult to write music yourself?

QC: – I treat writing music half as on the spur of the moment inspiration, and half as a daily job where you must achieve set goals. It depends who or what I’m writing for.

JBN: – What has given you the most satisfaction musically?

QC: – Playing on a regular basis with top class musicians, for appreciative audiences who give immediate feedback with the reactions to your performances.

JBN: – There any difference between a old and great jazzmans and young?

QC: – Yes. There’s definitely a more academic sound these days. The greats of yesteryear always sounded engaged with their life journey and daily experiences.

JBN: – What advice would you give to aspiring musicians thinking of pursuing a career?

QC: – Be versatile. Always look to improve your skill set. And..never be scared to show your personality- the music industry lacks honest personalities these days.

JBN: – Have you ever given a free concert during your entire concert career?

QC: – At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview? Not since I can remember. I value art, and expect to perform for people that also value my art. I’m not saying I haven’t performed for a small fee in the distant past however, that’s a part of the process of building a career.

JBN: – Are you idiot? And this pitiful thing is interview published for free. Boycott the concerts of such rascals.


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Interview by Simon Sarg

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