‘#5xTypical’ is a series of music based interviews with musicians by Karen van Gilst. What do musicians listen to? While cleaning, during sexy time or when working out? Do they have specific songs for specific moments? Or do they listen to music to influence their emotions?
"Although nice, it also is kind of scary. You can’t dance to it, it doesn’t swing and it isn’t melodic. It’s more like musical storytelling, without turning in a play on the radio." - Wietse Voermans (Saxophone)
Kopenhagen has been a very inspiring time for me. I studied there for two semesters, one year, and was looking for another way to compose. So I mainly looked at what was done already.
When I studied there I got lessons from Mark Solborg. He suggested I listened to one of his own albums. I even got the opportunity to see his compositions, what made the album extra special and interesting. But even if I hadn’t I would have found it an amazing record. It was perfect for the time, a real eye-opener.
It’s all in the name, a song to make you happy.
Years ago, when I listened to it non stop, it was filed under the wrong name on my MP3-player. It was the start of the MP3 era. You know, the period in time in which you downloaded music but didn’t know if your music had the right name attached to it? I listened to this song a lot, although I wasn’t really into jazz at that time. I didn’t even know all the best names in the field yet. But Cannonball was one of my hero’s, he still is a little. He is one of the first saxophonists I truly listened to. He creates stories with a beginning and end, something I really appreciate because it’s by no means a given.
Lotte Anker gave me one of her records as well. During the lessons I got from her we talked a lot about what I thought sounded interesting.
Lotte is in the free-improve scene. And although this record includes parts that are composed, it’s very hard to say exactly where the composted parts begin and the improvised end. It seamlessly connects with each other. And that voice! It’s used in such an original way. The voice of an old man, can’t miss it. But especially the saxophone is used in an interesting and totally different way. It’s used as a whole, all parts of it. It is not something we didn’t heard before, but just really, really, good.
The best thing of this record is that it is kind of a musical film. Although nice, it also is kind of scary. You can’t dance to it, it doesn’t swing and it isn’t melodic. It’s more like musical storytelling, without turning in a play on the radio. And that’s what I admire about it. You’ve got to grab a comfy sofa, lie there and try to catch the ride. Try to include yourself in the story and get carried away. Don’t try to multitask and go and do the dishes, just listen.
I don’t know if I like it exactly. I suppose it depends on how you define the wordt ‘nice’. But something about it fascinaties me.
The reason I include Jimmi Guyffre in this list is mainly because of his journey as a musician. His journey is quite interesting if you look at a the following short period of time in his life.
Let’s start with the record ‘The Four Brothers Band’. He recorded it in 1947. Cool jazz, clean and well composed and arranged.
A couple of years later, in 1961 he releases two records: ‘Thises’ & ‘Fusion’, more experimental. I think it has an interesting dark and mysterious atmosphere. In this record you hear the thing I also loved about Lotte’s music, it's not quite clear what is composed and what is not.
In 1963, he recored ‘Free Fall’, totally different, minimalistic this time, with ease, and experimental at a level I wouldn’t expect for this period in time. No surprise, but unfortunately the record wasn't very well received. What intrigues me is that it’s free jazz and improvised, but very dynamic, exiting, nuanced and sometimes almost classical.
A bit cliche, but it regularly listened to this song at the start of the relationship with my girlfriend. She moved to Italy for 3 months! Understandably, I was sad about it sometimes. So my association with this song is kind of melancholic. I think I hear honesty in it, something pure. It’s at the edge of corny.
Sometimes I wonder if I really like the music I listen to, or if I like it because it’s found to be ‘good’ in general. By the people around me. How much influence do they have on me?
If I remember it well I got this record as a present from my father. Now, it’s a record I play when I want a smile on my face. I play it in the car or at home when I throw a party. Great album cover by the way!
I met Wietse Voermans as part of EDWIN Quartet a couple of years ago. I also shot his portrait for Spoken Quartet. And in that time I got to know Wietse as another kind of musician. You won’t find him at a lot of jam-sessions around town. He is more a composer, a thinker, a storyteller and is inspired by musicians who experiment with the saxophone as a whole object rather than only the original instrument.
So to me it’s not surprising he, as part of a group, participated in a filmfestival and improvised - life - music under a couple of silent movies. (Don’t worry, I already asked him If he would bring the concept to Rotterdam.)