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Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Saturday, 28 May 2016 17:12

Ten Questions For Jason Rebello, English Jazz Pianist

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Classically trained but inspired by Herbie Hancock, Jason Rebello first came to the attention of one of the founders of jazz fusion, Weather Report’s saxophonist Wayne Shorter in the early 1990’s. He was one of the forerunners of the modern jazz resurgence of that period and was quickly signed to BMG records on a three-album deal. He produced a further two albums by the end of the decade and toured extensively with his own band in the UK and internationally before he was invited by Sting join his band, following the untimely death in 1998 of piano legend and personal hero Kenny Kirkland. Jason recorded with Sting on his Grammy winning albums Brand New Day 1999, All This Time 2001 and Sacred Love 2003. It was through an introduction from Sting that Jason     met guitar legend Jeff Beck in 2006. He worked together with Beck on his 2010 album Emotion and Commotion and co-wrote the Grammy winning single Hammerhead. His latest jazz album, Held, was released on Edition Records in 2016.

 

1. How did the composition of Held come about? Or were the tracks composed at different stages/months?

The tracks were composed over the last two years, as an ongoing process. Some were written in stages, others all in one go.

2.  Your piano playing on the album is very passionate; being classically trained, do you think this has a weight on the way you performed on it?

I love classical music and jazz. To me, it is all music and the boundaries have become very blurred in my mind now. I'm sure my classical training has influenced my playing as well as my jazz training. In fact everything has influenced my playing!

3. Held, the title track, is an enormous piece mainly for its potency and its urgency to bring a sense of calm and joy to the listener.  Can you tell me more about how you feel regards this track?

I like the simplicity of it and the way the melody floats on the harmony. It is a new direction for me compositionally and it feels brave having sparse textures and space..

4. What is Purple Sunflower about?  It is such a small composition, but somehow it shines more for that.

Purple Sunflower is dedicated to my wife Justine. Again, I am focusing on simplicity and spontaneity.

5. How do you generally compose? Do you have a routine?

It varies greatly. Sometimes I jot down ideas or sing them into my phone. Then I trawl through and find things I like.

Sometimes a tune comes to me very quickly and other times it can takes months on and off. I often sing when I am composing as I think if I can sing it, it must be a decent melody…

6. Are you based in London? Does where you are living have any influence on your writing?

I live in Bath near the countryside and it can be very peaceful. I hope the album conveys the quality of tranquillity as it is something we all hold dear..

7. Do you play any other instruments?

Yes, Bassoon and a bit of electric bass. 

8. I read you were very close to Buddhism a few years ago. Is this still the case? Are you a Buddhist now?

Yes I still follow the Buddhist path and meditate every day.

9. What does Buddhism mean to you?

It is a wonderful system that gradually reduces the amount of suffering you experience. I find it incredibly helpful in making sense of a forever-changing life.

10. And finally, a question de rigueur, what is jazz to you?

It is spontaneous music making, filled with joy and life.

 

Read Erminia's review of Held here:

 

Read 1708 times Last modified on Saturday, 28 May 2016 17:35

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