Take Five With Luka Veselinovic
Luka Veselinovic was born in Rijeka, Croatia. His father was a guitarist and his grandmother, a piano teacher. He is a professional musician, bassist, and composer who has been in jazz music for the past 10 years. He began playing bass at 21, and soon after became a professional. Luka has attended numerous Croatian and international jazz workshops and received a scholarship for Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2011. He has worked and collaborated with many Croatian and international jazz musicians, performed in numerous music festivals with different groups, and participated in recordings projects. Luka currently lives in Zagreb, Croatia.
Electric bass, upright bass and voice.
Teachers and/or influences?
Teachers: Jura Vrandecic, Henry Radanovic, Reggie Workman, Ewald Oberleitner, David Buda, Bruce Gertz, John Lockwood, Barry Smith, Terri Lyne Carrington, Darren Barrett, and Anders Jormin.
Influences: Dave Holland, Jaco Pastorius, Ray Brown, Bill Stewart, Steve Swallow, Pink Floyd and many more.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
When I watched a live concert of Weather Report on TV.
Your sound and approach to music:
I primarily play electric but can play upright also. My approach is always to take a lot of risks and create something new while playing. I prefer an acoustic sound even when playing electric bass. I prefer a lot of space and room for all the people in the band so we can create a composition in the moment while playing. I like dynamically balanced music with lot of risks, tensions, and trying to find the right musical moment.
Your teaching approach:
There are no absolute rules. Each person is different and we all have different systems regarding how we approach things and music. There are some basic rules we need to follow while learning, but soon those rules become more individual. I am trying to help younger musicians to discover their way in music by sharing my musical experiences. Telling them what was good and what was a waste of time for me.
Your dream band:
Musicians who listen each other with similar sensibility for expression. This works best in all cases. I had the honor, as a bassist, to play with Eric Harland during the Sienna Jazz Masterclass. It was there where I figured out how to be a great musician.
Besides great technique and musicality, the crucial thing is listening by communicating and respecting others while playing. By that I mean listening to the sensibility of other players, dynamics, and understanding people's energy. Without that there is no musical communication. I had luck to play with some of really great musicians so far in Croatia. I would like to play with Bill Stewart and/or Herbie Hancock.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Records by the John Scofield trio, Brad Mehldau trio, Weather Report, and so many more. Beautiful music.
The first Jazz album I bought was:
John Scofield, Works For Me (Verve, 2001).
What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
I don't know if what I am doing is important. I just have a feeling that I have lot of things inside me that I need to express. Music is one part of my expression and how I feel about this world.
Did you know...
When I was 25, I went 600 miles on a bike, with no preparation.
CDs you are listening to now:
I am listening to and watching music on YouTube and I always end up in some other musical place.
How would you describe the state of jazz today?
People have many different opinions what jazz is. Like all other forms of art in this world, there is a history and tradition that we need to respect. But there is also a present time where we have to act. For me there is no right or wrong way. If you feel you have something to say with music, just do it. If you feel you need to practice every day five hours, do it. If you think this is stupid, don't do it. I am very happy there are more jazz artists today than before. I hate mysticism and myths and I honor and respect simplicity and truth in music.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Respect each other, understand different expressions and cultures, respect history and tradition, be creative and dedicated, and don't forget to have fun.
What is in the near future?
I am currently in the process of releasing my debut album, Magnetic Whale, by the Veselino Jazz Project, which I recorded during my time at Berklee College Of Music in 2012. The plan is to promote this album and hopefully get gigs in some jazz festivals. I'm also participating in other musically interesting projects. Soon after these projects it will be time for new music and a new record.
What song would you like played at your funeral?