April 20, 2024

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Interview with Anders Lønne Grønseth: Music is the one thing that can stir up our perception of time and space

Interview with saxophonist Anders Lønne Grønseth. 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 program for 2024, enjoy in the July – August – Brussels, Berlin, Prague, Warsaw, Sofia, new addreses this year, also in Amsterdam, Budapest and Liverpool.

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

Anders Lønne Grønseth: – I try not to think too much of genres as I feel it doesn’t benefit the creativity or openness to musical impulses. But there are of course certain stylistic idioms that appeal to me, and certain things I like more than others.

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Anyhow, I like to think that I allow myself to pick up inspiration from anything I like (it doesn’t have to be jazz, or music for that matter) rather than blocking out any impulses that may not suit my taste.

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

ALG: – I guess I always had a desire to be involved in music, and that’s never changed.The way I make music is very much connected to the way I think about other aspects of life. I try to keep an open mind to ideas and opinions that may be unfamiliar to me, and learn from what I do not understand. I often realise that what I learned in a musical situation also taught me something more general about life, people, cultures and difference in perspectives. The social aspects of making music with other people are very correlative to how we learn and develop as human beings, through interaction with other human beeings.

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JBN: – Ism is culled from a variety of lives dates with various performers over the course of a few years. Did your sound evolve during that time?

ALG: – I would definitely say that our sound has developed. As individuals that’s something we work on continuously, which will of course show in the music we produce. Playing concerts, getting more confident with the material and getting everyone involved in the composing helps to evolve. Also, getting to know each other better both musically and personally changes the way we play together and the confidence in the performance.

JBN: – What happened when you first heard Bird? Did it make an immediate impact on you?

ALG: – I probably heard Bird long before I actually knew that it was Bird I was listening to, or who Charlie Parker was. My dad used to play jazz albums after my bedtime when I grew up, so I must have heard a lot of jazz before even knowing it was jazz I was hearing, and I am sure there was some Bird records too. So it’s always felt familiar to me, even though my own interest in jazz came much later. It took me a while to get into Charlie Parker, probably because the old be-bop records sounded a little old-fashioned to me at the time. My way into jazz came through funk and what we called Acid Jazz in the 90’s. But I can tell you I have spent my time with the old be-bop recordings, and is still overwhelmed by the innovativeness and mastery of Charlie Parker.

JBN: – With such an illustrious career, what has given you the most satisfaction musically?

ALG: – I love music that takes me on, challenges my knowledge and perception by showing possibilities I was unaware of – especially when it comes to sonic, rhythmic or structural qualities. I find that music is the one thing that can stir up our perception of time and space, which is an essential value in the very time-foucused world we live in. I try to use this in my own music – my goal is for the music to somewhat resolve the sensation of time and space and open up to a different place. I can sense that myself when I am performing, and my hope is that it also reaches the listener.

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

ALG: – We all go through phases in life where our perspectives and interests change. It’s only natural that this comes out in the music we make and how we think about our music-making. The time-space aspect is a good example. Time is a very complex thing. Just as we have different ways of experiencing the passage of time, the way we experience time also changes with age. So I think it is natural that we also play differently, since perception of time is so essential in the performance of music. There are qualities to all ages and life phases, so I wouldn’t say that the music necessarily gets better with age and experience. But I do think that it should change as a reflection of one’s life situation.

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

ALG: – Keep an open mind to all kinds of music. Follow what inspires you, regardless of genre or style. Create your own idioms for what you want your music to be, rather than trying to reproduce the established idioms. Learn from whatever inspires you and dig deep to find the reasons for why you’re finding it inspirational. Listen respectfully to those who came before you and learn from their skills and knowledge, but don’t try to be someone you’re not.

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Interview by Emmanuel Bolton

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