Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

1

Take Five With Simon Spang-Hanssen

Simon Spang-Hanssen By

Sign in to view read count
Meet Simon Spang-Hanssen:

First concerts in 1976 with John Tchicai and Strange Brothers, later also with Ben Besiakov, Jesper Lundgaard, Alex Riel, New Jungle Orchestra, Jan Kaspersen, Mozar Terra, Doug Raney.

In Paris, from 1985-98: Orchestra National de Jazz, Denis Badault, Andy Emler, Nguyen Le, Quintet Moutin, Ramuntcho Matta, Edouard Ferlet.

Since 1998, mainly leader of my own ensembles with, amongst others, Kristian Joergensen, Bob Rockwell, Marilyn Mazur,Linley Marthe, Dawda Jobarteh, Thomas Fonnesbech, Mariane Bitran, Xavier Desandre, Mario Canonge, Tony Rabeson, Irio Junior, André Queiroz. Also member of Art Ensemble Syd (DK), with Michael Gregory Jackson or Chris Stover.

Instrument(s):

Soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, flute.

Teachers and/or influences?

Mostly self-taught. Strongly influenced by John Tchicai, with whom I started out and also by Dexter Gordon, who was often performing in Copenhagen in the seventies/eighties. I actually caught him a couple of times at the Café Montmartre. Other main influences : Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Joe Henderson, as well as Paul Gonsalves, John Gilmore, Steve Lacy, Johnny Griffin and Booker Little.

As a composer/arranger I would also mention Hermeto Pascoal, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Gil Evans, George Russell, Maria Schneider, Joe Zawinul, Fela Kuti, Chucho Valdes and Sun Ra.

In a more general way I have also been listening a lot to traditional and classical music from India, Turkey, Indonesia and Japan; African, Cuban and Brazilian Music (Elis Regina, Milton Nascimento), Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky.

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

At 14 I heard Duke Ellington's Money Jungle and was completely captivated (at that time I listened mostly to Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Muddy Waters. Soon after, I bought my first jazz records, the sounds of Johnny Hodges and Charlie Parker soon convincing me that I should become a saxophonist. I got an alto (rented) for my 15th birthday.

Your sound and approach to music:

It was always my idea to work on having a recognizable sound and develop my own ideas. On both soprano and tenor I like to explore the lower register. Generally my approach to music is quite intuitive.

Your teaching approach:

Each student is different, I try to find the best way to give them a taste for both creativity and regular work on the craft.

In ensemble teaching (which I do most), the focus is very much on the internal and external communication, sense of the musical whole, responsibility, energy, consciousness of form, duration, contrast. I usually use my own material; often we work out the forms and details of the arrangements together.

Your dream band:

I already have several ideal bands, some of them could play more often.

It would nice to play with Billy Hart again, it has been a while.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:

A couple of highlights:

A jam with Dexter Gordon at the La Fontaine, Copenhagen around 1982;

A festival-tour in France with Nenê's Band and Hermeto Pascoal e Grupo; the concerts usually ended in the street;

Rainbow Spirit at the Jahazi Festival, Zanzibar in 2012; lots of music, all-night jams in great surroundings.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Charlie Christian, Live at Minton's Playhouse.

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

A personal mix of things that I like, creating little surprises. In my compositions I would for instance use a straight-ahead 32-bar A-A-B-A form, but with not very bebop-ish scales and melodic turn; just an example.

These mixes are not done on purpose but pop up as the writing/playing goes along.

Having more or less started out with free jazz and later moved to modern jazz/bebop and experiences with Brazilian, Turkish, West African music etc., the possibilities of crossings are numerous. At the same time I try to keep the writing coherent and clear.

Did you know...

I am also a painter, mainly oil and gouache, and have had quite a few exhibitions during the last 12 years. Some main-influences: Klee, Miró, Picasso, COBRA, African and Oceanic art.

CDs you are listening to now:

Mario Canonge, Mitan (Kann};

Banda Urbana, Banda Urbana (Kalamata};

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Take Five with Ryan Slatko Take Five With... Take Five with Ryan Slatko
by Ryan Slatko
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Take Five with Jose Negroni Take Five With... Take Five with Jose Negroni
by Jose Negroni
Published: November 16, 2017
Read Take Five With Sylvia Brooks Take Five With... Take Five With Sylvia Brooks
by Sylvia Brooks
Published: October 1, 2017
Read Take Five with Debora Galan Take Five With... Take Five with Debora Galan
by Debora Galan
Published: September 17, 2017
Read Take Five with Ralph Hepola Take Five With... Take Five with Ralph Hepola
by Ralph Hepola
Published: August 28, 2017
Read Take Five with Dave Potter Take Five With... Take Five with Dave Potter
by David Potter
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "Take Five with Maurice Brown" Take Five With... Take Five with Maurice Brown
by Maurice Brown
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Take Five with Dave Potter" Take Five With... Take Five with Dave Potter
by David Potter
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "Take Five with Ryan Slatko" Take Five With... Take Five with Ryan Slatko
by Ryan Slatko
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Take Five with Sergio Pamies" Take Five With... Take Five with Sergio Pamies
by Sergio Pamies
Published: May 31, 2017
Read "Take Five with Ralph Hepola" Take Five With... Take Five with Ralph Hepola
by Ralph Hepola
Published: August 28, 2017
Read "Take Five with Hayley Lam" Take Five With... Take Five with Hayley Lam
by Hayley Lam
Published: August 3, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!