April 20, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

Interview with John Wasson: The music must reflect passion and love

Interview with impolite, dull, unhuman, drawn creature, as if bass trombonist John Wasson. An interview by email in writing.

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: – 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?

John Wasson: – I grew up in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul). I started in band in 6th grade, but it wasn’t until 10th grade that I started on trombone. I enrolled in a summer music program before my senior year, and that was the year I decided to pursue music as a full time vocation.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

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

JW: – My sound (on Bass Trombone) was first influenced by the symphony players I studied with in the Twin Cities. Through my college years I became more influenced by commercial players such as George Roberts and Bill Reichenbach. Later on I returned to symphony influences such as Charlie Vernon and Denson Pollard.

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

JW: – I do a strict warmup that takes me through all keys and registers. I practice scales (ncluding jazz scales) in all registers.

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

JW: – I believe they work hand in hand; the music must reflect passion and love while at the same time holding to some level of integrity, in order to avoid pure sentimentality.

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

JW: – I enjoy both giving the listeners what they desire and at the same time elevating their standards and experiences so that they can experience new levels of enjoyment.

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

JW: – At some point, those standards will join the canon the same way folk songs and classical music do; they become a part of the background tapestry upon which all newer music is written. I also think that many new, young jazz musicians are writing new music which will become standards over time as well. I think the performers who play jazz are as influential (if not more so) that the music that is played.

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

JW: – I believe that we are created in the image of God to be creative; thus, we are made in order to make new things, to bring things to life. I think man is at his highest expression when he is birthing new things into the world, as the world benefits, and the artist benefits as well.

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

JW: – Making live performance of jazz a much bigger part of society. There seem to be fewer clubs and venues in so many places

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

JW: – Jim McNeely, anything by the HR and WDR Big Bands, a lot of later classical music (Prokofiev, Bartok, Ravel, Debussy, etc.), and always, film scores.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

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

JW: – I’m a big Science Fiction fan, so I would have to say 200-400 years in the future. Just so I can get home again!

JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…

JW: – Are you/were you a jazz performer?

JBN: – SS: – No, I am a musicologist by profession, now I am engaged in organizing big Jazz-Blues festivals and financing musicians in 15 capitals of Europe in the US/EU Jazz – Blues association.

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Interview by Simon Sarg


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