(1947 - . Boston)
“En Europa no tienes que ser músico para ir a un concierto de jazz”
El saxofonista Jerry Bergonzi, modelo de innovación y espontaneidad, además de un reputado preceptor, es un referente casi indispensable para los amantes del jazz. Reconocido tras su periplo con Dave Brubeck en los años 70 y beneficiario de la confianza europea, Bergonzi es uno de los más brillantes saxofonistas de la actualidad, casi siempre agazapado a la sombra de los titulares.
What can we expect with this new performance in Barcelona? You played here, same venue, in September with Santoro and Michelutti. What’s new?
JB: We have just recorded two CD’s worth of new material and it is very fresh and magical for us. Our collective experience has put us in a new place and were are excited to play music.
How much important has been your tenure with Dave Brubeck during the late 70’s?
JB: It was very revealing to see how the music business operated. Dave was and is the consummate professional.
You are a high profile teacher in approach on saxophone. What do you think about learning how to improvise? Do you think musicians today take very few risks?
JB: I think it is possible to study and practice music. If you are an artist, it is going to help you to play. Music is like the rest of life. Some people take amazing risks and some will not risk anything. To live in the fearless present you accept all risks.
And your own style evolution?
JB: My music is always changing. It is in the atmosphere. Change is the only thing we can count on. I want to go with it or be it.
Why do you think you are more popular in Europe that in the States? Maybe because you prefer to hang out in Boston instead of other better know jazz/media centers?
JB: I have no preference. I take what comes my way. I am not aggressive about it. Anything I ever tried to go after never worked. If I wait, it usually comes my way. If I want it, sometimes I push it away.
In the other hand, you said once: "Red Records (Italian label) was the first label that really believed in my music". Do you think that in Europe there is a little more respect for jazz musicians? In the past, a lot of great musicians founded a refuge and grew his careers up in Europe...
JB: I do think Europe gives so much more help to the artists. It seems that the only people who listen to this music in the US are people who play it. You don't have to be a musician to go to a music concert in Europe.
Some think that maybe if you were hip, talkative and black might have more cachet… ¿Do you feel sufficiently recognized?
JB: I don’t get into that head space as it is wasted thought for me. What is, Is what it is.
I want to know, as a teacher you are, your feelings about the young musicians (at Conservatory or clinics). Their preconceived ideas of what jazz means in their starts and what means the jazz to you at your beginnings. I feel curiosity about how much different you feel remembering your first steps and seeing the first steps of these young musicians. In music same that in life, you never know which is the price of your dreams. Jazz is a great responsibility, a big task to search and find new ways to excite crowds from heart…
JB: When I was young Jazz education was not a big business. Jazz was still an "In" thing. It was a real mystery. If someone knew something they usually did not share it or they did not know how to share it. Today, there are thousands of great teachers, books, play alongs, and CD's that we did not have access to. I think the young musicians have to wade through the information boom and find out who they really are. It is such a different era. Nothing is the same. Computers, cell phones, I pods and technology has changed everything except the heart which is where the real music happens.
Jamboree has a strong tradition in Barcelona, but the native audience is not too high. Meanwhile, big stages of city’s Festival have a massive audience in contrast of the regular programming of all long year. ¿Why is public so fascinated with festivals and ignore the rest of the offer? Sometimes it’s seems that until a musicians don’t put a high price and headlines in the newspaper the public don’t react.
JB: It seems to me that is has always been like that. People will pay 150 dollars to go to a baseball game but don’t want to pay a little service for music. I think one problem is they can’t tell the difference between what is really great and what is mediocre. Why pay when it all sounds the same?
Then, is the own musician universe the only refugee to continue playing? Do you feel sometimes misunderstood?
JB: Like most things in life, satisfaction can only be from within not from without. When you realize this, you become even stronger in your musical vision. You worry about other opinions and you really trust yourself. No False Gods.
Which is your opinion between the tendency to look back at the tradition or to get some fresh air and to experiment with styles in vogue?
JB: I don’t pay attention to what was or what is in vogue. I try to get inside my musical universe and hear some things that I have never heard before. I feel like I am out in space hearing sounds float by and I pull them in and ground them. I am not trying to be hip or tradition but real.
Obama. Can We? What do you expect from President Obama?
JB: Obama is my hero. I wrote a tune for him. A president that is thinking of the people he represents instead of this small fraternity of rich top 1% of the people. The forces of greed, ignorance, racism and fear are lobbying against him. He needs all he support we can give him. It is so refreshing to see him and his lovely wife talking universal principals in such an articulate way that most of us can dream about. God Bless him.