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Take Five With Daniel Volovets

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Daniel Volovets: Daniel Volovets, 17, has been studying classical, brazilian, and flamenco guitar for almost 10 years. His love affair with music began at the age of 7, when he began studying with classical guitarist Anatoly Shapiro. He has also studied with Tony Hauser, concentrating heavily on Brazilian and flamenco music, and with James Flegel at the University of Minnesota. Daniel has performed extensively throughout the Twin Cities and has recorded three albums: Melodias Brasileiras, Watercolors of the World, and Silhouette.



Teachers and/or influences?

Anatoly Shapiro, studied for 10 years Tony Hauser, studied for 6 years Dr. James Flegel, studied for 1 year.

Influenced by: Paco De Lucia, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Gerardo Nunez, Hermeto Pascoal, Bill Evans, Egberto Gismonti, Charlie Haden, etc...

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

...I first heard Paco de Lucia's "Monasterio de Sal," a gorgeous flamenco tune in the "colombianas" form.

Your sound and approach to music:

A musician's contribution to society is measured by his musical individuality, non-conformity to standards, and expressiveness. Those who choose to join the legions of emotionless, cookie-cutter players are an insult to music.

Your teaching approach:

I haven't taken on any students yet... but my cardinal rule is to never force anything on a student. I'm of the opinion that music can't be taught—it can only be nurtured. If one attempts to teach music, then they are completely disregarding the student's innate talent and abilities, which could potentially be lost if they are not nurtured. "Teaching" music, or any art form for that matter, stifles individuality.

Your dream band:

Charlie Haden (upright bass)

Hermeto Pascoal (everything)

Yamandu Costa (guitar)

Paula Morelenbaum (voice.)

Favorite venue:

Delicious Cafe & Brazilian Grill, a small venue I've been playing for over a year... great food, great people, great authentic Brazilian atmosphere.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

Though I don't have much of a discography yet, Silhouette is definitely the stand-out... it's the most cohesive record I've done, and is the most representative of the music I play.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

As far as Brazilian jazz, it was Elis & Tom, but my first real exposure to jazz was Joe Sample's Old Places Old Faces.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

I'd like to think it's my non-conformist approach to music—sure, rules exist for a reason, but it's not a bad idea to break them sometimes. :)

Did you know...

I'm a huge videogame "nerd..." my parents bought me a Nintendo 64 for my 4th birthday, been gaming ever since...

CDs you are listening to now:

Egberto Gismonti - Sanfona - (ECM)

Stefano Bollani Trio - Gleda - (Independent)

Ralph Towner - Solstice - (ECM)

Jan Garbarek Group - Dresden: In Concert - (ECM)

Stefano Bollani - Stone In The Water - (ECM)

Desert Island picks:

Paco de Lucia - Luzia - (Blue Thumb Records)

Antonio Carlos Jobim - Stone Flower - (Epic/Legacy)

Hermeto Pascoal - Slaves Mass - (Collectables)

Bill Evans - You Must Believe In Spring - (Rhino / Wea)

Bill Evans - The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings - (Riverside)

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

I think it's most certainly not "dying," as a lot of critics are saying nowadays... there are a lot of young cats out there that are playing and recording really original music!

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

Knowledge and appreciation of jazz theory, harmony, rhythm, and structure for listeners, and an easy-going, accepting attitude for performers. It's sad to see elitism in any field, but it's especially vital to keep it out of jazz—considering it's an art form that requires a fair amount of knowledge to appreciate, it will always be more niche than, say, rock and pop. Thus, to drive people, especially performers, off the scene because of preconceived notions could potentially reduce the viability of jazz as an art form in the future.

What is in the near future?

Having just wrapped up recording of Silhouette, I'm not thinking that far ahead just yet—although there are always new albums in the cards.

By Day:


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

Something in medicine.


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