Jazz en Dominicana Interviews Brian Lynch

Jazz en Dominicana interviews Brian Lynch

Jazz en Dominicana is a project consisting of a web page and various live spaces in the Dominican Republic exclusively dedicated to Jazz. Since October of 2006 http://jazzendominicana.blogspot.com has written more than 350 articles and interviews informing its readers on all of the Jazz that is being played by native Dominican musicians, be they on the island nation or abroad, as well as Jazz being played in concerts and festivals in the country. The page, currently a Blog, is in Spanish; we shall be writing articles in English to share with you all.

This year the ¨Casa de Teatro Jazz Festival¨ (www.casadeteatro.com) arrives at it´s 10th annual version, and on July 4th Brian Lynch and his quintet will play to a house full of Jazz lovers. Jazz en Dominicana interviewed Brian prior to his trip to the Dominican Republic, here is the interview in its entirety.

Jazz en Dominicana (JenD): How did you get into Jazz?
Brian Lynch (BL): I became attracted to the music through listening to jazz programs on the radio.

JenD: What do you enjoy more: classes, workshops, concerts, recordings?
BL: I enjoy them all! Of course, performance is a real joy. Recording is absorbing and always a challenge; teaching classes and workshops is rewarding in the way it allows me to share and pass on what I’ve learned from the masters.

JenD: You have played with a who’s who of Jazz and Latin Jazz…What were the experiences like when playing with the likes of Palmieri, Phil Woods, Art Blakey and others?
BL: Also Horace Silver! I’ve been incredibly blessed to play with such giants. Horace was my first “name” gig; I’ll never forget how thrilled I was when he told me over the phone that I had won his audition! Art Blakey was a lifelong goal for me, and a dream gig. I had amazing experiences traveling the world with “Buhaina” and living in his own unique reality. Phil Woods and Eddie Palmieri are artists that I’m still very much involved with on a continuing basis. Playing with both of them has allowed me to experience true musical mastery first hand.

JenD: How do you get invited to play in the Dominican Republic? Is this your first trip?
BL: This will be my first trip to the Dominican Republic. I was invited through the good offices of the US Embassy, and I think they were guided by some kind words from the jazz fans in the D.R.(smiles).

Brian Lynch as an Educator:
JenD: How do you get the itch for teaching? Writing?
BL: Writing music was something that I’ve always enjoyed doing. I think that it’s essential for any jazz or creative musician to also compose music. Teaching is something that I came into my own with gradually, though I’ve been doing it for a long time, even from my own school days.

JenD: Tell us of your experiences as a teacher and mentor.
BL: I’ve had the pleasure of teaching at many great schools, including the Prinz Claus Conservatory in Groningen, The Netherlands; The New School in NYC, and my current position at New York University. I also teach privately. I’ve taught some very talented young musicians, a number of whom are now making an impact on the music world, but I enjoy and feel the challenge of teaching all my students, no matter what level.

Brian Lynch on Music:
JenD: I have heard you play and you’re very good, which type of music do you like to play and why?
BL: Jazz is my core, but I enjoy equally playing Latin (Afro-Caribbean) music, as well as other styles. Good music is always enjoyable to play, no matter what the genre.

JenD: Do you prefer Jazz to others genres? Why?
BL: Again, if the music is good, it doesn’t matter what the style or genre is. Having said that though, I do consider myself a Jazz musician. My definition of “jazz”, of course, is inclusive of the styles influenced by Afro-Caribbean rhythms such as what’s commonly called “Latin-jazz”. I think a lot of music genres have jazz in them, including salsa, Cuban music, etc. Jazz is a flavor in music, also a procedure and an attitude about how to handle the musical material, you know.

JenD: What can you tell us about the influences of third world beats and rhythms on Jazz today?
BL: It’s essential for the jazz musician of today to have knowledge of rhythmic styles of Afro-Caribbean music and other “world music”. This is where the real innovation and progress in jazz is coming from today, through the new level of mixture and influence of these rhythms, and also melodies and forms from this music.

JenD: You have gone into making quite a few special projects, what were those like? Specially the tributes to Davis, Coltrane and your album Tribute to the Trumpet Masters?
BL: Those recordings were all fun to do! The various Latin tributes I’ve recorded with my old partner Conrad Herwig (Coltrane, Miles, and Wayne Shorter) have been fruitful vehicles for our collaboration, and have given me the opportunity to craft a number of arrangements I’m fairly happy with. “Tribute To The Trumpet Masters” was a chance to play with a truly great rhythm section. Mulgrew Miller is my hero!

JenD: Which is your favorite recording to date, and why?
BL: Well, you know, “Simpatico” (ArtistShare, 2006) up to this point is my supreme experience in record making, and quite a milestone for my career due to its Grammy winning status. My new CD “Bolero Nights” turned out quite well, and another Japanese recording I’ll soon be reissuing on my own label, Hollistic MusicWorks, is very good (“Spheres Of Influence Suite”). Some of my favorite earlier recordings are “In Process” (Ken, 1990), “Spheres Of Influence” (Sharp 9, 1997), and I have a big spot in my heart for my first recording as a leader, “Peer Pressure” (Criss Cross, 1987).

Brian Lynch on “What is to come in the future of Brian Lynch?”
As a musician: I’m going to do my best to keep learning, get more of this music right, and reach the people!

As a Band Leader: I plan to concentrate more of my career on bandleading. I’m very happy with the progress of my two current group projects, “Spheres Of Influence” and “Unsung Heroes”.

As a composer: I’m looking for more time to compose and work on new forms and structures for my work. I’m excited about the idea of developing more complex compositions that can still communicate strongly to the listener.

As a recording artist: The big news is that I’m starting my own company, Hollistic MusicWorks. I have some very interesting plans for bringing my music to my audience in new and innovative ways through this enterprise! The first release for Hollistic MusicWorks is a tribute to some of the underappreciated masters of the trumpet, figures ranging departed legends like Tommy Turrentine and Joe Gordon to masters of today like Claudio Roditi and Charles Tolliver. The name of the project is “Unsung Heroes” and it features a crack NY band including the great saxophonist Vincent Herring.

As an educator: I’m on the faculty at New York University (my sixth year coming up), and I’m also very active in doing workshops, clinics, and jazz camps (two I’m taking part in this summer are the Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony in California, and the Tonica International Jazz Camp in Guadalajara, Mexico). I also have a thriving private trumpet and improvisation studio. I’ve had a number of distinguished students in the last few years, including trumpeters Philip Dizack and Brian Chahley and also tenor saxophonist Alex Hoffman. Alex is a part of my Unsung Heroes group and I think you’re going to hear a lot more about him!

Brian Lynch will be playing on July 4th at the Casa de Teatro Jazz Festival in Santo Domingo. We thank him for his time in this exclusive interview.

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Fernando Rodriguez