Take Five With Asaf Sirkis

AAJ Staff By

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In 2007, continuing with writing music Asaf formed the Asaf Sirkis trio with Greek guitarist Tassos Spiliotopoulos and Israeli bassist Yaron Stavi. This trio has recorded their first album The Monk (SAM Productions/Egea, 2008).

Asaf is also working regularly with the Larry Coryell's "Power Trio" (featuring Coryell on guitar and Jeff Berlin on bass), Nicolas Meier Group, a group that combines jazz with Middle Eastern music (albums available: Ribbon In The Wind, Orient, Yuz and Silence Talks), and with John Law's Art Of Sound trio as well as working with other artists such as: Mark Egan, Dave Liebman, David Binney, Gary Husband, John Taylor, Norma Winstone, Kenny Wheeler, Andy Sheppard, Lenny Stern, Paul Bollenback (NY), Julian Siegel, Dan Stern, Peter King, Stan Sulzman, Barbaros Erkose (Turkey), Ari Brown (Chicago), Bela Szakcsi-Lokatos (Hungary), Glauco Venier (Italy), Yuri Goloubev (Russia), Klaus Gesing (Austria), Christoph Spendel (Germany), Eyal Maoz (NY), Carlos Barretto (Portugal), Simon Fisher Turner, Phil Robson, Arnie Somogyi, Martin Speake, Mark Latimer, Reem Kelani, Christine Tobin, Nicolas Meier, Tom Arthurs, John Etheridge and more.


Drums, percussion.

Teachers and/or influences? Allan Holdsworth, Olivier Messiaen, Maurice Durufle, Bach, Gary Husband, Tony Williams, Larry Coryell, Jeff Berlin, Jack DeJohnette, South Indian Thavil drumming, music from Yemen, Franky Dunlop, Billy Cobham, Tony Parsons, Krishnamurti, John Scofield, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Sun Ra, Robert Wyatt, Yes, Weather Report, and life itself.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I was 10 years old

Your sound and approach to music: Music is spirit and spirit is everything

Your teaching approach: I work with different meditation techniques that intensify practicing and playing so that the student can get more from his/her practice and work plus not overwork their body and avoid stiffness, pains, etc..

Improvising and mastering rhythm are both essential in my teaching, they are powerful tools for individual expression on the drum set.

Your dream band:

I guess my wish would be to work more with my bands playing my own music everywhere in the world.

Dream band: Tony Williams: drums; Allan Holdsworth: guitar; Jaco Pastorius: bass.

Favorite venue:

Colchester Arts Centre: Brilliant acoustics, best sound engineer ever, nice staff and not to far from home plus I can visit my girlfriend.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? The Monk, I guess because it represent what I'm trying to do at the moment. Gary Husband's contribution to the album makes it special for me too.

The Song Within is great documentation of the Inner Noise band, best recording we've done so far, happy about the writing too.

One Step Closer, my first album. There is always something special about that kind of thing even though it might not be the most mature piece of work, considering the fact that I recorded it when I was 26.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Allan Holdsworth, Road Games.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? I would like to think that my music can uplift the spirits of people and inspire them.

Did you know...

I'm dyslexic :)

CDs you are listening to now: South Indian Music, mainly Thavil and Nadaswaram.

Desert Island picks:

Allan Holdsworth, Then;

Olivier Messiaen, Livre du Saint Sacrament;

Tony Williams, Emergency; ; Mahavishnu Orchestra; Birds Of Fire;

Jennifer Bate, Jennifer Bate.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

Jazz is just a word. I feel that what you might call jazz is becoming more and more like classical music these days. It's more accurate, technical and intricate, but less expressive and not as free.

On the other hand the ever growing technology facilitate musicians these days to merge easily between different cultures and traditions in music. It's a wonderful melt pot.

And there is the industry of course, artists are becoming more independent and the "industry" namely, the middle man between the musician and his/her audience is being reduced. I think this will eventually have a strong impact on the way the music sound too.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

Jazz needs more exposure; TV, radio, internet, etc.

What is in the near future?

I am working on getting my new trio on the road as much as possible and starting to write some new music.

I'm also touring a lot this year with Tim Garland Lighthouse trio featuring myself, Tim Garland on horns and Gwilym Simcock on piano—a great band

By Day:

Trying to get gigs for my band.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:

Artist, painter.


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