Yuri Goloubev: Of Chocolate Cake & Other Simple Metaphors
AAJ: It sounds as though you and Gwilym Simcock have a similar outlook on music; I mean, the lack of boundaries.
YG: I'm quite positive we have really similar views. We're every alike from a lot of points of view. It's a great pleasure to work with another person who has the same vision of what music is.
AAJ: Your arco playing on double-bass is very distinctive and sounds a lot like a cello; was that sound always there from the beginning, has somebody influenced you or is it something you have developed independently?
YG: It's hard to say. I don't know where it comes from. Maybe it has changed over the years. I think that the major influence sound-wise was our Moscow Soloist's director, who is an amazing, world renowned viola player, Yuri Bashmet, I think I have taken a lot of his phrasing and his sound, his attitude to the sound. This is quite natural when you work for many years with a very charismatic, top-class musicianyou learn something, hopefully.
I think one thing that is underestimated by bass players is the set-up. The instrument has to be set up very precisely. The bass is already very hard to play as an instrument so why should we make our life harder? For example if the different strings sound differently that means something is wrong with the instrument. Perhaps the strings have different tension; maybe you have to change strings to another make or maybe you have to change the bridge, search for a better sound post position, etc. Maybe the fingerboard's angle is slightly wrong. You have to be very precise about everything.
Mother Nature makes her presence felt also. The bass is very susceptible to the climate, the temperature and the humidity and sometimes depending on the current climate conditions you may have to adjust the bridge a little bit. It's really rare that you get a hundred percent satisfaction. It's not always the case that the promoter can get you the amps you prefer and for this I normally have a small equalizer pedal which helps me out.
AAJ: When do you ever find the perfect chocolate cake?
YG: [laughs] Right, exactly!
AAJ: Do you have any nostalgia for the classical music world? Would you like to dip your toes back into that music?
YG: It so happened that I was primarily working in chamber orchestras but I mostly loved the symphony orchestras. When I hear a symphony orchestra I do think it's something I would love to do but you can't do too many things in your life. To do something really well you have to focus on this thing. You cannot be at the same time classical bassist, jazz bassist, teacher, researcher, classical composer, jazz composer, jazz arranger...that's too much. That means that something you will probably not do so well.
Then there is another issue, because playing classical bass is like playing a different instrument. The set up for playing classical bass is completely different to jazz bass; even the fingering is different. The technique is different, the left hand technique, the right hand techniqueboth pizz and arco. It's a completely different instrument and you would have to practice both basses if you wished to maintain a good level in both genres.
AAJ: Other than playing and recording in the Gwilym Simcock trio and your own recording projects do you have any other ambitions in the foreseeable future?
YG: Well I keep considering working with my own group, be it a trio or a quartet, but to do something at a serious level, I mean nice festivals, concert series, etc. you'd need to be backed up by a good manager that really believes in you, a label ready to invest in what you do, a press agency, etc. I just see how [manager] Christine Allen works with Gwilym (Simcock) and learn how it should be. [laughs] Well, alas, these things aren't easy in the closed circuits of Italy and don't seem to work quite in the same way like, for example, in the U.K., so I am starting to look out into other places in Europe. At the same time, I would be interested to get a teaching position at the conservatory. I have been teaching for two years here in Milan at the mostly rock and pop school CPM, and I find that I am quite interested in teaching music theory; I keep seeing some gaps there. When I was a student I wrote an essay on the theory of Solfeggio and I still have this interest, strangely.
AAJ: Do you feel that theory can sometimes get in the way of inspiration?
YG: Well, any kind of theoretic knowledge is nothing else but a tool to make better music. It is like when you play an instrument; the better you master it, the more you can express. As for the inspiration, I'm not sure thatstrangelythis term is really the correct one. I would rather point out some creative input maybe, like when some idea hits you out of nowhere, but then all the work is yours, and it can be a lot of table work, brainworkwhatever you call it.
That's where your composition skills come into shape the piece, or your solo, form wise and to be able to express more. By the way, do you know how such an amazing composer as Tchaikovsky worked? He just had his fixed working hours and he used to call inspiration "a rare guest." Anyway, as for the theory and techniques, they are very important, but they shall always serve the music.
Carlo Morena Trio, Poems (Music Center, 2010)
Yuri Goloubev, Metafore Semplici (Universal, 2009)
Gwilym Simcock Trio, Blues Vignette (Basho Music, 2009)
Claudio Fasoli Quartet, Venice Inside (Blue Serge, 2009)
Glauco Venier, Glauco Venier Suona Frank Zappa (Music Center, 2008)
Simcock, Goloubev, Sirkis, SGS Group, Inc. Presents... (Music Center, 2008)
Glauco Venier Trio, Hommage a Duke (Caligola, 2007)
Klaus Gesing Quartet, Heart Luggage (ATS, 2006)
Michele di Toro Trio, Il Passo del Gatto (Abeat, 2006)
Yuri Goloubev, Andrei Kondakov,The Bridge (Landy Star, 2003)
Yuri Goloubev, Toremar Island (Landy Star, 2001)
Igor Bril, Yuri GoloubevRendering (Cantabile, 1996)
Page 1: Marco Riagamonti
Pages 2-4: Courtesy of Yuri Goloubev
Page 5: Alvaro Belloni