15

Steve Swell: Appreciating the Avant Garde Today

Victor L. Schermer By

Sign in to view read count
AAJ: And that way, you'll be developing your own vocabulary.

SS: Absolutely! That's the primary directive of what an artist should do.

AAJ: Bobby Zankel made a similar point. Rather than try to fit in with the whole jazz scene today, he's focusing on his own bands and working on his own path and vocabulary.

SS: Yes, it's so important to find your own path and stay with it.

AAJ: Bobby also said that when he started out, he tried to play as much as possible in bands with more experienced musicians so he could learn from them.

SS: Yes, and even now I try to get with the guys who influenced me and see what else I can learn from them.

AAJ: So maybe what we're saying is that mentorship is essential.

SS: It doesn't necessarily have to be a formal mentor relationship. Just hanging out and exposing yourself to someone you admire and appreciate, talking to them, you're going to absorb a lot just being around them.

AAJ: To wrap up our conversation, what's the message you'd like readers to take with them?

SS: I would say, whether you're a fan or a musician, go to hear live music more. Check out venues and musicians who are new to you. Expose yourself to new music. Go with an open mind and listen to what the music is all about. Think of it as listening to a painting. It's a great way to get away from your daily preoccupations and just let the music overtake you. You may discover a solution to a particular problem in your personal life or work life while listening to live music. It's important for all of us, musicians or not, to stay open to new experiences. That's what makes life worthwhile and fulfilling.

Photo Credit: Ziga Koritnik

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun14Fri
Rob Brown Quartet
Roulette
Brooklyn, NY
$40
Jun21Fri
Accidental Orchestra
Westbeth Community Room
New York, NY
$10

Related Articles

Interviews
Anoushka Shankar: Music Makes the World a Better Place
By Nenad Georgievski
April 17, 2019
Interviews
Dorothy & George Jacob: Putting Bray On The Jazz Map
By Ian Patterson
April 16, 2019
Interviews
Harold Danko: His Own Sound, His Own Time
By Jakob Baekgaard
April 8, 2019
Interviews
Nenette Evans: My Life With Bill
By Bruce Guthrie
April 5, 2019
Interviews
Aaron Rimbui: Nairobi to New York City
By Seton Hawkins
April 2, 2019
Interviews
Matt Davis: Big Family, Big Picture
By Dan Bilawsky
March 21, 2019
Interviews
Casey Benjamin: EclectRic Expressionism
By Barbara Ina Frenz
March 6, 2019