Yaron Herman: An Urgent Need to Play
YH: I never set up a concert around the public. I don't plan in advance. Each time I try to play what I feel at that moment, and that moment is made of lots of different things. Sometimes you have to provoke and look deeper into things. Each public, each situation, is different. This is the basis of improvisation. Jazz exists for this reason, in order to continuously renew creativity. What interests me is to tell different stories each evening. Sometimes I start with very basic melodic pieces and I distort them. I play with them. Music is also some sort of a child's play.
AAJ: Tonight you played slightly difficult harmonies, almost close to the point of dissonance. Is this not too ambitious when faced with a public who has a limited knowledge of jazz?
YH: Maybe, but again I refuse to stroke the public's ego. I have too much respect for them and for the music. You have to believe that the public is intelligent, otherwise what you do is no better than what you hear on television, for instance, where there is no jazz or classical music anymore. This flashy culture which lacks depth is a real disaster. If you feed people's brain with bad food, they become stupid. I refuse to be part of that.
AAJ: This summer you are going on tour without bassist Matt Brewer, why is that?
YH: He was booked for other concerts at the same time. Therefore I decided to tour with Simon Tailleu, who is not only a friend but a great musician. We played together in Newtopia [with Raphael Imbert]. He is brilliant and has a lot of imagination and swing. Furthermore he is highly driven.
AAJ: Tonight, again, we had the privilege of a great performance from Gerald Cleaver. What do you think about the way he is playing?
l:r: Matt Brewer, Yaron Herman, Gerald Cleaver
YH: I always say the same thing, Gerald is an amazing drummer. What's interesting is that I felt his musicality much before I played with him live onstage. When we talked, we both felt that we knew what we were talking about and that we had the same idea about musicthat we were looking for the same things. We have the same view about improvisation. I have never heard Gerald do the same thing twice; each time he pushes you to go further. It is very demanding but at the same time it comes very naturally to him. It has nothing to do with being intellectual; it is just that he has a very deep knowledge of jazz.
AAJ: How did you meet Matt and Gerald?
YH: I met Gerald when I lived in New York for a few months. I shared a flat with him in Brooklyn when I was 20. We practiced together and I knew straight away that I wanted to play with him. For him music is not about ego; he needs to play musica kind of urgency.