Take Five With Mario Duenas

Mario Dueñas By

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Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
I recently released my debut album entitled Beliefs. It was conceived as a suite of six movements, each corresponding to a particular belief. I sincerely enjoy listening to it several times, given the improvisational nature of each spontaneous composition, it makes me wonder how each composition captured the essence of abstract thought, while at the same time, being aware of the uniqueness of each moment. This is what I enjoy the most of the album; the spontaneous meditation on each belief, all into a single concept. Listen to it, when life is still and quiet.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
I believe conceptual albums bring another aspect of life to the contemporary flow of music nowadays. Hopefully the audience agrees.

Did you know...
Most of what I have come to learn musically derives more from both critical listening and thinking; and later by improvising. Philosophy has offered a broader scope of the way I interpret life and therefore music.

The first jazz album I bought was:
If my memory is properly functioning, I believe my first jazz record (or at least one of my first jazz records) was Solo Monk by Thelonious Monk. Almost immediately after that, I found Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Bud Powell, and so on.

Music you are listening to now:
Bill Evans: Conversations with Myself (Verve)
Food: This Is Not a Miracle (ECM)
Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Solo (Blue Note)
Keith Jarrett: La Scala (ECM)
David Binney: Welcome to Life (Mythology)

Desert Island picks:
Bill Evans & Jim Hall: Undercurrent (Blue Note)
Bill Evans & Jim Hall: Intermodulation (Verve)
Pat Metheny Group: The Way Up (Nonesuch)
Keith Jarrett: The Köln Concert (ECM)
John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (Impulse)

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
Promising. The future looks bright.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Constant innovation. This is to me the main requirement. Without innovation, art suffers.

What is in the near future?
Mystery. Meanwhile, compositions are still being written.

What is your greatest fear when you perform?
To fail to enjoy the moment. Despite the fact that the result could be successful to the ears of the audience, it would still certainly constitute as a failure to me.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
An improvised performance.

What is your favorite song to whistle or sing in the shower?
Confirmation by Charlie Parker.

By Day:
Enjoy life with my beautiful family.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a:
Student of philosophy and finance. Both great forces that move the world.

What do you believe most people take for granted?
Their metaphysical beliefs. Most of us, human beings, spend more time sharing our opinions rather than defending them; but how can we defend that which we do not really understand. To know ourselves remains one of the greatest challenges of life.




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