June 15, 2024

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Interview with Anthony Hervey։ The trumpet is an instrument that tests you daily

Interview with trumpeter Anthony Hervey. 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, 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?

Anthony Hervey։ – I was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. My family and I moved to South Florida when I was 5 years old. As a kid, I loved music as a listener, but it was not something I ever considered doing as a performer. When I was entering the 6th grade my Mom suggested I pick up the trumpet in the school band program. All I was interested in at that time was playing basketball and having fun with my friends.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2024

She told me I could quit in a year if I didn’t like it, so I reluctantly agreed. One evening, I stumbled upon a Blue Note documentary airing on TV. The second I clicked on the channel, I heard a clip of Freddie Hubbard soloing on Cantaloupe Island. I had never heard anything like that in my life, and I decided right then and there that I would become a Jazz musician. I started practicing 5-7 hours a day for several years. My determination was unwavering, and I was going to practice as long as it would take to make my dream a reality.

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?

AH: – Over time, my sound has become more connected to my spirit and what I truly want to express has become more transparent through my music. One of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned from my mentor, Wynton Marsalis, is the power of the long tone. When you perform this exercise with the focused intensity of a mediation it really helps you find the center of your sound. It teaches one to develop the biggest sound at the softest possible volume and to find the deepest part of their sound. Because sound is a reflection of your inner spirit you also have to know yourself. Thinking critically about who I am, what inspires me, where I come from, why I play music, and how I want that to manifest itself through my songs to move an audience has given my music a voice that is distinct to me.

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

AH: – In the words of Dizzy Gillespie, “If you lived to be a thousand years old, you would never master this thing.” The trumpet is an instrument that tests you daily. It requires routine practice to be able to perform the simplest of things at the highest level. When I practice, I work on exercises to target my air flow, sound, flexibility, articulation, dexterity, and overall musicality and phrasing. In addition to trumpet, I love singing a lot. I try to sing through the trumpet in the same way a vocalist communicates. I practice a lot of piano to develop my ear to hear the movement underneath the melodies. Listening is also a crucial part of my development. It is often said that “you are what you eat.” The same thing can be said in terms of music. “You are what you hear.” The music you listen to informs the way you hear, which influences the ideas you try to create when playing music.

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

AH: – I am always changing and growing as the years go by. Being a musician is great because I get to travel and see people and things around the world a lot more clearly, which affects my overall perspective. All music comes from life. Therefore, it is important to live. I live in a constant growth mindset and am always striving to learn more and be the best version of myself.

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

AH: – When I create music, I aim to reach people in three different places: the brain, body, and soul. Music is incredibly complex. There are a lot of different variables going on at the same time. To make something complex come across as effortlessly beautiful is very hard. Music needs harmonic sophistication and rhythmic complexity to maintain a certain amount of intrigue, but if that’s all you have, it is not enough. You also have to be able to target the heartstrings. If you can make someone cry through your sound, you have truly reached them in a deep emotional place. People need to feel, and listening to music helps us feel things that we cannot always say. You also need to be able to make people move their hips. Dance is such an important part of music and culture. Jazz music started out as dance music. I want to keep that element a part of my music because it is social and walks alongside the music as it evolves.

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

AH: – I look at the relationship between the audience and artist like this: You’ve invited people into your home for a dinner party and have prepared all of these amazing dishes. As a host, it is your job to set the tone and atmosphere so that everyone is comfortable and has a good time. You have to greet everyone with warmth and make sure they feel welcome. Even if they don’t know the songs you are playing, you can give a little backstory to help them relate to them more. When you walk on stage, the audience is curious and wants to know who you are. The more you bring yourself to them, the closer they will come to you.

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

AH: – Young people need to know that the music exists. It is not something that is shown in mainstream culture often enough. The men and women who created this music are no different than we are today. We are extensions of them. They faced the same struggles we face. They loved, they danced, and they cried. The message of their songs is timeless and does not subscribe to momentary fads and trends. I was not raised in a family that listened to Jazz music. I found the music on my own and fell in love with it, like many of my peers. We are a product of this time, and we are out here creating music for people to hear now. If your eyes and ears are open, the music is there.

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

AH: – To me, the spirit is everything you are that is not physical. It’s the innermost part of yourself and who you are beneath the skin. Music is also my spirit. As far as my outlook on life goes, I just try to live it the best I can and experience it to the fullest. I am fortunate that my life has always been driven by a purpose, and I wake up doing something I love every day. That sense of direction has taken me across some unique paths and people and enriched the quality of my life.

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

AH: – I’d make every musician a millionaire so that money isn’t a concern when it comes to making music. Then we could create without the issues of greed or not having enough money to make beautiful music for the people.

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

AH: – My musical tastes are very eclectic. As I go through my day, I listen to many different kinds of music. I love starting my day with gospel artists like Kirk Franklin, Kim Burrell, Andraé Crouch, Walter Hawkins, and the Clark Sisters. I also enjoy soul singers like Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, and Al Green, as well as more current R&B and soul singers like PJ Morton, Anthony Hamilton, D’angelo, and Musiq Soulchild. In terms of Jazz music, I love the full spectrum of the music. I find myself listening to artists like Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Thelonious Monk, Booker Little, Jon Batiste, Wynton Marsalis, and Isaiah J. Thompson all in one sitting. If it’s good music that’s soulful and makes me feel something inside, I love it.

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?

AH: – I’d love to go back in time to hear Louis Armstrong play the trumpet. There’s nothing we can play that he hasn’t already played. Feeling the presence of his sound firsthand would be life-changing.

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

AH: – Your questions are great! What is it about this music that drives you to share these stories and interviews surrounding Jazz music today? How did you get into this lane of the music?

JBN: – Jazz is my life! I am completely into jazz, I invest everything in jazz and through these interviews I also clean the field from bums.

JBN: – Have you ever given a free concert during your entire concert career?

AH: – I’ve played for homeless shelters, schools, retirement homes, and other areas in my community for free. It’s nice to make money, but it’s also important to give back sometimes as well.

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