July 19, 2024


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Interview with Michael Rabinowitz: Don’t dumb down …

Interview with an ungrateful, impolite, dull, unhuman, drawn creature, as if bassoon player Michael Rabinowitz. An interview by email in writing. A wonderful musical instrument in hand, but unfortunately an empty-headed person who is actually an ostrich. It’s interesting how far those who imagine themselves as musicians will reach, not having so much intellect and soul.

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?

Michael Rabinowitz: – I grew up in Bethany Connecticut in an artistic family and my mother played violin. We had a piano which I played and improvised on. After playing clarinet in my teens my  high school music teacher suggested playing the bassoon.

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I fell in love and having already been exposed to jazz became determined to improvise on that instrument.

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

MR: – I went to a conservatory and practiced 6 hours a day. Being much softer than sax & trumpet I have experimented with various sound enhancements.

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

MR: – Scales, arpeggios, long tones, leaning bebop and standards &, playing w musicians better than myself.

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

MR: – Yes I change by playing and recording in different situations with different musicians in a variety of settings.  Over the years original music has been written specifically for me as an improvising bassoonist which continues to challenge me.

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

MR: – Each one supports the other.

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

MR: – Yes.

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

MR: – Write new music and reimagined standards that are authentic and younger people will appreciate it. Don’t dumb down.

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

MR: – We are part of nature and it there as s teacher and the best example of beauty. All the work I’ve done as a musician is to allow this beauty to be channeled and flow freely through my instrument.

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

MR: – More $ spent on art from Government.

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

MR: – Elijia Shiffer, Scott Robinson, Lester Young.

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

MR: – 52nd street circa, 1945.


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Interview by Emmanuel Bolton

Michael Rabinowitz

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