July 13, 2024

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Interview with Mitch Woods: Especially Blues …. it expresses our deepest emotions through music

Interview with Blues pianist Mitch Woods. 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.

JB: – 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?

Mitch Woods: – I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. When I was about 10 years old, my mom, who was a single mom, hired the superintendent, who was an African-American man to drive me to school. One day we stopped at his relatives house and I heard someone playing boogie woogie piano. That’s when I decided I’d like to do that!

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2024

As far as making a living, I started in my early twenties playing coffee houses with my girlfriend, singer and starting making a living then.

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

MW: – When I started with my girlfriend we were called Mitch Woods & His Red Hot Mama. We played a lot of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday tunes, also Fats Waller.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

Eventually, people said I sounded like the old boogie woogie guys, so I went and bought all the records I could find and played along, learning the style.

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

MW: – I gig often. I consider that practice.

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

MW: – Of course, When I started I was playing only other people’s songs. Eventually I became a songwriter and began doing my own tunes. I write in the style of 40s and 50s music, so it may sound old but with a new twist.

I also developed my voice. At first I only played piano, then eventually I started singing. I had to since I split with my girlfriend the Red Hot Mama and the club could only afford one piece. So necessity is the mother of invention.

There could be talk or advertising about your CD

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

MW: – Huh?

JB: – Are you idiot or fool man?

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

MW: – As an artist delivering emotion is what we do. It could be happy, could be sad, and all the inbetween. Especially Blues …. it expresses our deepest emotions through music. I am very ok with that

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

MW: – They just have to be exposed to it. I find that when young people hear my music they love it and ask where it came from. I point the way to listening to some of the originators and playing my current interpretation of the musical styles I love.

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

MW: – Music is an ephemeral thing. Not solid. But it touches all of us on some deep level. That is why people always will love music.

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

MW: – That musicians are paid as well as other workers in society.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Association 2023

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

MW: – Dylan Triplett, Selwyn Birchwood, Kingfish that are keeping the blues alive. Also anything New Orleans!

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

MW: – I love the jump blues era in the late 40s, early 50s when rock n roll was just being born.

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

MW: – Questions are great. Some rather deep. Are you a musician? Or scholar?

JB: – EB: – I am a musicologist, Jazz & Blues critic! It doesn’t matter, what difference does it make to you, you are the rude one when you don’t reply to our emails…

 

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Interview by Elléa Beauchêne

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