June 21, 2024

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Interview with Eddie Gripper: The contemporary European jazz scene is thriving

Interview with an ungrateful, impolite, dull, unhuman, drawn creature, as if pianist Eddie Gripper. An interview by email in writing. This is one of our rejected interviews, which we publish with a lot of cuts, just for fun, so that, as you know, every next day there will be something in the series of publications for 11 years. 

Dear readers, get to know more about our US/EU Jazz – Blues Festivals and the activities of our US/EU Jazz – Blues Association in the capitals of Europe, we will soon publish this program for 2024, enjoy in the July – August – Brussels, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Sofia, new address this year, also in Budapest and Liverpool.

JazzBluesNews.com: – Please explain your creative process …

Eddie Gripper: – The melody seems to occur rather naturally, often being the top note of my voicings. Sometimes, I find it easier to compose away from the piano – it helps me to break away from my usual proclivities and write fresh material!

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

JBN: – What are your main impulses to write music?

EG: – Nina Simone famously said that the duty of an artist is to “reflect the times”. My interpretation of this is that it is my job to produce music that reflects my own experience of life – I have yet to have any social/political revelations as Nina did but I have felt that my life experiences have taught me a great deal about how the world works around me.

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

EG: – I am a huge fan of a number of current jazz artists – such as Huw Warren, Brad Mehldau and Gwilym Simcock. The contemporary UK and European jazz scene is thriving and there is such a wealth of fantastic music out there at the moment. The aforementioned musicians have really influenced my style of writing but I still find a lot of inspiration from the great masters of straight-ahead jazz – such as Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett etc.

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

EG: – I became involved in Jazz when I was 18. I always enjoyed improvising on the piano and the natural conduit for this at university was through studying jazz. Playing and interacting with others, the freedom and democracy of the music and the sheer limitless possibility of what could be really sucked me in. The greatest thing I have learnt from Jazz is how to be comfortable in your own skin. Being yourself and genuine to who you are, overcoming what others may think of you, being disciplined in your study of the music and striving to be the best you can are all doctrines that I now practice in my everyday life.

There could be talk or advertising about your CD

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

EG: – The UK Jazz scene is absolutely thriving at the moment. There are many great artists, young and old, that are touring, performing and releasing music. The Cardiff/Bristol scene is no exception to this and I am lucky to have worked with a range of inspirational musicians from here and beyond.

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

EG: – I couldn’t possibly say! Improvising is like having short term memory loss – after you finish, you can remember the vibe and the feeling of what happened but specifics are just a blur.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

JBN: – From the musical and feeling point of view is there any difference between a old and great jazzmans and young?

EG: – At face value, of course there are a lot of differences! I think the important thing to remember about jazz is that it is a lineage. From Spirituals, to the Blues, to Ragtime, to Bebop, Fusion and from there, the many splinters that encompass jazz in every corner of the globe. Jazz is a relatively young art form and the great jazzmen, from these formative periods, are still cited as some of the biggest influences over musicians today. The great thing about jazz, and music in general, is that people have the right to pick and choose their interests, the frankenstein amalgamation of which becomes its own unique character and approach to playing. As the times change, the character of the music has also changed, but the fundamentals are the same.

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

EG: – The important thing to remember is that, regardless of how you are feeling, you have to turn up and put in the hours everyday. Unless you’re very lucky, things won’t be handed to you, you will more than likely have to make your own luck! Be prepared to work around the clock, possibly 7 days a week, for an extended period of time.

 

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Interview by Emmanuel Bolton

Eddie Gripper Trio | Jazz Midlands

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