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Take Five With Thomas Winther Andersen

Take Five With Thomas Winther Andersen
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Meet Thomas Winther Andersen:

Originally from Norway, Thomas Winther Andersen now lives in Amsterdam. At 13, he began playing electric bass, and after a few years his love for jazz became so strong that he decided to switch instruments and learn to play upright bass. Thomas studied music at the Amsterdam Conservatory from 1988 to 1993 and then added a Master's degree a year later from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. In 1995, he received a grant from a Dutch foundation, The Performing Arts Fund (Fonds voor de podiumkunsten), to study in New York with Sal Mosca
Sal Mosca
1927 - 2007
piano
. Among the musicians Thomas has worked with are Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
Lee Konitz
b.1927
sax, alto
, Robert Rook, Sheila Jordan
Sheila Jordan
Sheila Jordan
b.1928
vocalist
, Michiel Borstlap, Jasper Blom
Jasper Blom
Jasper Blom

saxophone
, Jimmy Halperin and Hakon Storm
Hakon Storm
Hakon Storm
b.1967
guitar
.

Thomas has composed many pieces for various jazz ensembles, music for large ensembles, and chamber music. His compositions have been recorded for Norwegian and Dutch radio and many of them are available on CD.

Instrument(s):

Acoustic bass.

Teachers and/or influences?

Influences: Lennie Tristano
Lennie Tristano
Lennie Tristano
1919 - 1978
piano
, Warne Marsh
Warne Marsh
Warne Marsh
1927 - 1987
sax, tenor
, Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
b.1933
saxophone
, Dave Holland
Dave Holland
Dave Holland
b.1946
bass
, George Mraz
George Mraz
George Mraz
b.1944
bass
, Gary Peacock
Gary Peacock
Gary Peacock
b.1935
bass
, Eddie Gomez
Eddie Gomez
Eddie Gomez
b.1944
bass
, Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius
1951 - 1987
bass, electric
. Teachers: Torgrim Sollid, Rob Waring, Arnold Dooyeweerd, Misha Mengelberg
Misha Mengelberg
Misha Mengelberg
b.1935
piano
, and Sal Mosca.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

At age 13 I bought my first electric bass and started playing in a local school band. Earlier, I had played cello and at home there was lots of classical music in the air. It wasn't until I experienced playing in a band that I got the inspiration and personal drive to pursue music. I decided to spend my life in music and become a musician. The ability to spend hours practicing, playing, learning tunes, and instrumental skills came naturally from then on. In the beginning I was particularly impressed by bass players who were both bandleaders and composers. Virtuosity also had a big impact on me at the time. The sounds that sparked the most inspiration were electric styles such as funk, fusion, and rock. Both my teachers and friends introduced me to various musical styles, different approaches, ideas about music, as well as significant jazz artists.

Playing for a big audience was never a strong motivation for my musical ambitions. I just wanted to be able to do certain things in music. I didn't think at all about how that would find its way to an audience. Now I do sometimes, but I still do it in the order of first making the music and then looking for people who might enjoy it.

Your sound and approach to music:

Through the years I've discovered that I prefer music with a high degree of improvisation. I like to play jazz tunes as well as open structures with soundscapes and vamps with good rhythms. When I play I try to be present in the moment. Concentration, flow, communication, and expression are words that describe good quality in music regardless of style.

Your teaching approach:

At the moment, I am rewriting a teaching method I wrote for my final exam at the conservatory in 1992. At the time, I wrote down some ideas I believed were the best for developing musicianship and I still relate to them. This is a little tidbit from my introduction: "As a teacher I hope to inspire students to get as involved as possible in their own learning process. I try to teach good practice routines, planning, and development over time. A majority of the exercises I use focus on common elements in developing musical knowledge, regardless of which instruments the students play. As a bassist, I also devise exercises and describe various topics related to the bass in particular. I believe in the importance of combining listening, playing ,and theory into a unified whole to achieve a broader basis for making creative musical decisions."

A bass method I often recommend is The Improviser's Bass Method, by Chuck Sher.

Your dream band:

Qualities I look for in musicians are flow, sound, and an ability to play with conviction and personality while adapting to the group's ideas. It's also important to have the discipline to dig in to a tune or a concept and be sharp and prepared for what the band is doing.

A great drummer I admire and wish I could play with is Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
b.1942
drums
. I also like younger drummers such as Bill Stewart
Bill Stewart
Bill Stewart
b.1966
drums
and Brian Blade
Brian Blade
Brian Blade
b.1970
drums
. Billy Hart
Billy Hart
Billy Hart
b.1940
drums
is a longtime hero of mine too, and I hope to play with him some day. In the current music business and club scene it seems to be more difficult to get work than to put a good band together.

In the past few years I have composed quite a bit of music for big band. I would love to hear it played by an orchestra like the Village Vanguard Orchestra, the WDR Big Band, maybe the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, or another big band.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

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Download jazz mp3 “Oktober” by Thomas Winther Andersen
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