April 20, 2024

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Interview with Olga Reznichenko։ I’m not a fan of what represents the expression “time passes by”

Interview with pianist Olga Reznichenko. 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: – 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?

Olga Reznichenko։ – I grew up in a small town in the south of Russia. I started having music lessons at the age of 8, and, honestly, I wasn’t very passionate about this whole idea of spending so much time with the instrument. Sometimes my mom would have to force me to practice at least one hour before I was allowed do some other activities. But after a while I realized – I want to play piano and learn music. I had definitely a soft spot for romanticism. One day I decided to be a musician and I couldn’t imagine anymore doing anything else for living.

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?

OR։ – The first big change for me was when I decided to switch from classical to jazz department in my school. I just fell in love with jazz harmonies and rhythms so much, that nothing could have stopped me from becoming a jazz musician, even my parents, who were pretty much against this idea. My sound evolved according to the areas I was residing at the moment. Before I left Russia I was mostly playing fusion and traditional jazz. After I came to Germany to have lessons with Richie Beirach my music taste has changed completely. I discovered more and more contemporary classical music and it became my biggest inspiration. At some point I opened a door to free jazz and, later, to improvised music. Not to forget, that through all these years I have been practicing a lot of different rhythmic patterns and polyrhythms. I guess now I sound like a mixture of all these components.

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

OR։ – I like to practice classical pieces. I have been working on third sonata of Prokofjev, some pieces by Chopin, Scryabin, Rachmaninov and have been planing on checking some Ligeti. In terms of harmony: lately I have been checking a lot of stuff based on set theory and 12 tones technique. I have been trying to integrate this to my improvisation. But sometimes I just like to take a jazz standard and play it in all keys – that is a lot of fun too. About rhythm – I love doing rhythmic exercises. I invent them myself and try to be creative with the process. Often those exercises become compositions.

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

OR։ – I have changed a lot. Especially after I came to Germany. Being in a new country and meeting new people definitely changes you. I became more self aware, more politically critically thinking involved, ecologically aware and in general more organized.

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

OR։ – When I play I turn my head off and try to trust my fingers and my ears. So, I would say, in a practicing process – it’s intellect, or in other words, total control of everything that happens. But when I jam with people, or play on stage – I leave it to my intuition. I guess it’s soul?

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

OR։ – I guess it depends on what emotion they long for 🙂 It’s a long way before some of my ideas become compositions and make it to the set list. I develop material until I know – I could play this million times and it will never get uninteresting for me. And I believe when me and my guys have fun playing my music – it will be also fun for people in the audience to listen to it.

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

OR։ – I guess this tunes will never get too old. They are beautiful and playing them is like a ritual. I have a list of tunes from the great American song book, that I love to play from time to time. Also I believe every kind of music will find a listener and Jazz has so many faces nowadays, but playing standards is definitely something special. I guess young people could find something in this music as well.

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

OR։ – I can tell that music is everything to me. Normally I’m ready to sacrifice a lot for its sake. I guess that’s the spirit to me. Meaning of life, isn’t it the hardest question like ever? For me it means mostly to just exist and go with a flow, but at the same time to be aware of each moment. I’m not a fan of what represents the expression “time passes by”.

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

OR։ – Probably it would have something to do with education.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

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

OR։ – I am a big admirer of Craig Taborn. But the variety of what I listen to usually can change between something like Lenny Tristano and something like Steps Ahead. Also lately I have been listening a lot to experimental avant-garde noisy stuff and just tons of improvised music.

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

OR։ – I would like to go back to November 26th so I could have been more careful going out of the bathtub, so i wouldn’t have twisted my ankle. Also I would like to go back shortly (!) to 18th century to try one of those crazy ball dresses. I don’t know why 🙂

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

OR։ – What is a secret of a good interview?

JBN: – Intelligence, versatile knowledge ․․․ which is lame for you ․․․

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Interview by Simon Sarg

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