Take Five With Hoyt Binder

Hoyt Binder By

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Meet Hoyt Binder:
Hoyt Binder is a guitarist/composer who has a passion for deep music. Inspired by The Creative, he creates music for the sake of music. With influences ranging from 20th century composers, to jazz, rock, pop, and folk, he is a big fan of the progressive movement in the late '60s when music was in a very spiritual matter.


Teachers and/or influences?
I have studied with Ron Eschete, Jeff Richman, Brett Garsed, and Frank Gambale to name a few. All have influenced me drastically as well as my passion for jazz artist from Stan Kenton, Bela Fleck, 20th century classical composers, and rock greats like Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, and Brian Wilson. My music is also heavily influenced by Americana folk and Native American music.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I heard my brother play guitar. I really looked up to him and he was a big reason for why I started playing. Once I heard artists such as Hendrix and Jeff Beck, I was hooked.

Your sound and approach to music:
I believe more is more. I am extremely insecure when it comes to fitting into a genre. I do not like boundaries and I believe in melody above all. The melody comes first and the harmonic language is only to provide structure and depth. I like primitive music where a melody and a beat are all that can be heard; it reminds me that music existed before us and we have evolved to the point of understanding it. Yes, we have made it more complex, but the most fundamental aspects are the ones that speak to our soul.

Your teaching approach:
I believe in approaching from the student's point of view. It is very important to be able to connect with the student who is hearing information for the first time. Being able to remember what it was like to struggle with basics is key to being patient and understanding. Other than that, I try to encourage individuality.

Your dream band:
Toss Panos on drums;
Bela Fleck on banjo;
Victor Wooten on bass;
Mitchel Forman on keys;
Jean-Luc Ponty on violin;
Cornelius Bumpus on woodwinds.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
I rely a lot on a looper and I've had my best and worst shows with it. When everything goes right, it's the best show. But when technical problems happen with the gear, it goes bad pretty fast.

Favorite venue:
The Joint, Los Angeles to play, but I love watching my favorite artists at the Baked Potato in Hollywood.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Prayrie Go Round (Reverie, 2013) as it is my first and features my favorite drummer, Toss Panos. It has been a labor of love.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
Miles Davis, Kind Of Blue (Columbia, 1959).

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
I think my constant reach for something greater than myself could be my best contribution, or worst... I haven't decided yet.

Did you know...
I am a Trekkie and Star Trek will always be greater than Star Wars.

CDs you are listening to now:
Bahuslav Martinu , Symphony No. 6 (Ondine);
Stan Kenton, Street Of Dreams (Creative World, 1992);
Bela Fleck, The Impostor (Decca, 2013);
Jeff Richman, Aqua (Nefer, 2008);
Brett Garsed, Black Matter (Self Produced, 2011).

Desert Island picks:
Brian Wilson, Smile (Nonesuch, 2004);
Bahuslav Martinu, Symphony No. 6 (Ondine);
Bahuslav Martinu, Symphony No. 1 (Ondine);
Cole Porter, Night And Day (Verve, 1990);
Stan Kenton, Portraits On Standards (Blue Note, 1953).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Constantly evolving.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Education and openness to new influences.

What is in the near future?
I am working on a second album that will be much more earthy and jazz meets folk inspired as well as an ethnomusicology project of adapting the Panamanian Wounaan tribes music into a modern translation. Also, I am working on a new progressive rock album with earthy/folk elements with my wife, artist Saskia.

What's your greatest fear when you perform?
To not come off as true or to seem mechanical. I always strive to be myself.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
Bahuslav Martinu, Symphony No 1, 3rd movement.

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
Brian Wilson's "Surf's Up."

By Day:
Sales in the music industry.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
A missionary or work with animals in some way.

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