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Yaron Herman: An Urgent Need to Play

By Published: August 26, 2009
I met Matt on MySpace. I navigated on his page and I was instantly struck by his sound, a sound not only great but also ample and round. We exchanged messages, he went onto my page and was seduced by the way I play. Two months later the three of us were together onstage. Matt and Gerald had never played together before, and so this cooperation was totally new. The association didn't work too well at first. It took some time. Matt's style is not as free; he is very mathematical. But if you listen very carefully on the last album, Muse, I give them much more space. It does happen sometimes that I play only with my left hand and you can feel that behind me something is happening—strange rhythmic and serious groovy sounds.

AAJ: Do you feel that by playing with American jazz musicians you are finally closer to a jazz culture that you could not find anywhere else?

YH: To be honest, yes. There are lots of French musicians who know jazz very well but from a rhythmic point of view you can't find something that compares to it. When you go to New York you understand why. There are so many musicians; you need to be always at the top. It is cruel and terribly demanding, but it pushes you to work like a dog. For example, over there you can see two drummers or two pianists working together, trying to progress together. In France, that's not possible. Everybody is very protective of their little world.

AAJ: Between Time for Everything and Muse there is a big jump, a massive progress. But Time for Everything givees the impression that you had greater freedom, whereas you are more reserved on Muse. On this last album there is an adaptation of rhythm on a totally different level.

YH: Of course as we progressed through concerts; this happened quite naturally after the first album. Something more complex happened in our way of playing. Careful; I say complex, not stern. The way of communicating became multidimensional. It wasn't only between me and Matt or me and Gerald anymore but it was more interactive between the three of us. We started to come closer to the real meaning of a trio. So I started to write in that direction. Contrary to what you are saying, I think that we are freer in the way we are playing. It is not only about the way I play anymore; it is about the way we play together. If we look at the essence of the trio, the energy is still there, but it's a different energy.

AAJ: You composed much more on Muse. What is the most important thing in your writing—the melody, the harmony or the rhythm?

Yaron Herman TrioYH: It is a whole. There are things, ideas that I get when I am traveling in a plane, or when I'm at home, at any time, and I take note. I write tempos and structures, and afterwards I try to put it all together. For instance, on "Ysobel" we can hear Gerald playing a riff. This was something I had in mind from the beginning. It starts with little things that I compose and that I try to imagine played as a trio

AAJ: Are we going to be able to hear you again as a sideman?

YH: I never say never. But I do other things apart from the trio, for example when I play with Michel Portal

Michel Portal
Michel Portal

AAJ:This is not really what I would call the role of a sideman

YH: It is very impressive to play with him. Portal is totally open; I don't know anybody who plays like him. We really have a good time playing together. We are not trying to play at high speed; we are really sharing the moment and the space.

AAJ: How did you meet with Portal?

YH: Quite simply. He was programmed to play with Jacky Terrasson

Jacky Terrasson
Jacky Terrasson
. One evening Jacky couldn't be here and Christophe Deghelt [agent for Terrasson and Herman] suggested that I replace him. It instantly clicked between us.

AAJ: You are young and there are already lots of cliché about you.

YH: Really; which ones?

Yaron Herman Trio

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