Mike Lovatt and 56 Degrees North

It’s here and it’s hotter than a match head. The new and phenomenal CD from Mike Lovatt and the Foden’s Band, 56 Degrees North.

The project has been brought together by Mike Lovatt and his great friend Paul Fisher, who regularly plays with him and also conducts the Amersham Band.

When discussing who they felt could make the cross-over best to work on the project, Foden’s were the first choice.

“No doubt about that,” Paul said. “Their professionalism and eagerness to adapt has been remarkable. It’s been a huge pleasure — and the end result is going to be a cracking recording.”

Listen to Tutankhamun’s trumpets in this 1939 recording. And we think we have intonation problems!

This pair of trumpets from Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb are believed to be the oldest playable trumpets in the world. These trumpets are the only ones that have survived from ancient Egypt and are over 3,000 years old. They were discovered in 1922 by archaeologist Howard Carter during an excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Both instruments featured are finely engraved with decorative images of the god Ra-Horakhty, Ptah, and Amun.

In 1939, the trumpets were played before a live audience and the performance was broadcast internationally through BBC radio. Since their discovery, there have been claims that the trumpets have the power to summon war. People have connected the British entering World War II with the trumpets because the war in Europe started five months after the BBC broadcast.

Music is often called the world’s universal language. No matter where someone may be from, everyone seems to understand the feelings that music evokes. While we may never know for sure when our ancestors first developed music, we do know that some of the earliest examples of musical instruments appeared over 40,000 years ago.

These findings suggest that the early modern humans who first settled in Europe already had musical traditions – it is believed that they created their instruments soon after they settled in Europe. Our ancestors may have developed music about 50,000 years ago, during the cultural explosion, the time period when humans began creating art, jewelry and ceremonially burying their dead.

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An interview with the great, Yervand Margaryan.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan from JazzBluesNews.Space

 Interview with jazz trumpeter, bandleader and Taylor Trumpets Artist, Yervand Margaryan.

Yervan Margaryan
Contact Yervand Margaryan 

JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Yervand Margaryan: – I was born and grew up in Tbilisi  (Georgia). My first interest towards music was in early childhood. I loved singing songs from famous cartoons since I was 4 years old. And at that time I remember I gathered a huge collection of such cartoons with original songs on the vinyls. I played them everyday and sang along all of these by heart.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the trumpet? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the trumpet?

YM: – My father is a big musical fan especially of the French singer with Armenian heritage Charles Aznavour. He didn’t miss any old or new record of that singer. Besides this he also loved listening to jazz music. All of this didn’t miss my attention. At 14 I discovered a tremendous vinyl of Louis Armstrong and from that moment on fell in love with jazz! I have been lucky in life. When I moved to Yerevan, a famous American pianist of Armenian heritage Armen Donelyan came here with master classes! After literally a couple of his workshops I understood in which direction I had to develop and this was a deciding period in my choice for my future path!

JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

YM: – Sound is a language . We express an idea with a language. The idea itself is born from the context which is always different. Accordingly sound always arises from context and can change depending on the composition. And in music context is; style, tempo, emotional substance, etc. I have a small daily routine to always maintain the shape of my technical apparatus which is responsible for my context dependable flexible sound.

JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

YM: – When there is time for practice I love to play and improvise standards in a variety of tempos from the slowest to the fastest in completely different styles from pop and reggae to straight 8 and hard bop in all keys.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?

YM: – For me the priority in music, just like in life is the context. Everything arises from the context. For me it all depends what kind of music I play at that moment. Let’s agree, that it would be clumsy to imagine using pentatonic patterns in dixieyland music or to play bibop patterns in bossa nova. Everything has to be natural and arising from the context.

JBN.S: – Which are the best jazz albums for you of 2017 year?

YM: – I really like Arturo Sandoval’s last album “Ultimates Duets.”

JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

YM: – Of course the best that can be done is to combine the intellect with the soul! And I try to walk on that path. But nonetheless for me the priority in music and life is the heart and soul! Only the outcome of the heart and soul can reach out and touch the hearts and souls of your listeners!

JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

YM: – I have had many memorable gigs, concerts and studio recordings. All of them are precious for me in an equal manner. I can only note that I’ve been lucky to work with such performers as Michel Legrand (France), Igor Butman (Russia), Charles Davis (USA),Roy Hargrove (USA),Ramon Flores (USA) Victor Espinola (Paraguay), Ziad Rahbani (Lebanon), Ventzislav Blagoev (Bulgaria), Roger Wright (England), Arno Van Nieuwenhuize (Netherlands), Arto Tunchboyajian (USA), Adam Rapa (USA), Zaid Nasser (USA), Michel Delakian (France), Stephane Stefan Patry (France), etc.

JBN.S: – Many aspiring musicians are always looking for advice when navigating thru the music business. Is there any piece of advice you can offer to aspiring students or even your peers that you believe will help them succeed and stay positive in this business?

YM: – My main advice is to be dedicated to your work and believe in what you do! Sooner or later it will bring you to success!

JBN.S: – Аnd furthermore, can jazz be a business today or someday?

YM: – Yes, I firmly believe that jazz can also be a business in addition. Everything depends how you do your work and deliver it to the audience.

JBN.S: – Which collaboration have been the most important experiences for you?

YM: – I consider a very important collaboration with the famous composer and pianist Ziad Rahbani. For me that collaboration has started in the beginning of my musical career and lasts until now. I like his non-standard approach to music. These are original compositions in which you always have to thoroughly approach each of your solo performances. Minimalism, stylistic opportunities and also a unique musical color which combines jazz music as well as national motives; all of this is extraordinarily interesting and captivating! We also talked a lot with Ziad on music and I noticed the similarity of views with him. All of this also influenced me when started composing my own music.

JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

YM: – That’s a good question! In my opinion there are several ways and they are not mutually exclusive. Most importantly is the form in which the music is delivered. We need newly composed music, which reflects our life with its rhythm, harmony. It will definitely be close to young people because it originates from our daily lives. And evergreen repertuar is a classic. And there’s two ways for it to develop; perform them like classics without changing anything or perform them them using new and interesting rhythmic and harmonic solutions. But this doesn’t mean that the priority here is to change something. The priority is the sense of taste and style! That’s the most important thing!

JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

YM: – This is how I imagine it all. All of us received this life as a gift. And each one of us has a special mission uniquely suited to him. Our life is the dream of God. And God sent us here to manifest various divine qualities; talents and good acts to make this planet the way God and ideally each one of us would have wanted to see! And only when we accomplish the mission assigned to us we become happy! And we make the people around us happy too! It’s a different issue that a lot of people often don’t believe in their mission in this life, don’t believe in miracles, in good. And it gets them to waste the missions assigned only to them and making them unhappy. You always need to believe in your mission and listen to your heart!

JBN.S: – What are your expectations of the future? What brings you fear or anxiety?

YM: – I look optimistically into the future. I have a lot of ideas and projects in mind! It also concerns the development of jazz in Armenia. New concerts and festivals by their format. It also concerns Armenia’s presence in the international arena as well as joint international projects! Let’s hope there’s much energy and health to accomplish all of this!

JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

YM: – Maybe this is a utopia, but I would make all the news channels and shows to broadcast good music, concerts and recordings instead of bad and horrific news about catastrophes,murders, etc. Then our world surely would turn in the right direction!

JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?

YM: – From my early devotion to jazz one of my idols was the singer and trumpet player Chet Backer. Quite recently I caught myself on the thought that there are song lyrics that are in sync to my life experience and I have a message to express with them, to sing them more specifically. Very recently I sang “When I Fall in Love” for the first time in my life publicly at the Armas Wine & Jazz Festival.  I think everything went alright and I would very much like to prepare a new project in which I would completely sing famous standards in a couple of months. That’s my next goal!

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between jazz and world music, including folk music?

YM: – There is a little similarity between jazz and world music. But I still think that a mix of genres can give wonderful fruits both creatively and as a means to popularize jazz in the whole world!

JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

YM: – I always love to listen to a variety of music from classical to rap. From the jazz performers of our time I like to listen to Тill Brönner, Arturo Sandoval, Roy Hargrove, Chris Botti, etc.

JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

YM: – I really believe that I was born in a time right for me. But often I would like to travel on a time machine through all the historic periods!

JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself …

YM: – How do you ideally envision the future of jazz in Armenia and the role of the Armenian musicians in the international arena?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. I am sorry, I do not want to offend a compatriots.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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Watch the show and read the Libretto for Wynton Marsalis’ The Ever Fonky Lowdown

“Based on decades of conversations with my brother, Ellis.”

Download the libretto for ‘THE EVER FONKY LOW DOWN.’

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Ultimate Duets by Arturo Sandoval – Without doubt, the album of the year.

The maestro, Arturo Sandoval, has brought together an eclectic array of the world’s finest singers, from Pharrell Williams to Placido Domingo, in this album of duets featuring Arturo in a celebration of artistry. As Arturo once said, “It’s all just music.”

Bravo Maestro and thank you.

Get your copy from Amazon now!

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Work of the week – Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Trumpet Concerto, “Nobody knows de trouble I see”

On 20th March we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s birth. For this reason, many concerts featuring his compositions will be performed worldwide, including one of his most famous works, the Konzert “Nobody knows de trouble I see” für Trompete in C und Orchester. This week, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Fabien Gabel and with Håkan Hardenberger as soloist, will play it on 23 March, and on the following day it will be performed by Paul Hübner together with the WDR Sinfonieorchester, conducted by Brad Lubman in the Funkhaus in Cologne.

Originally, the NDR commissioned Zimmermann to compose a piano concerto. However, by referencing the existence of countless piano concertos, Zimmermann was able to convince the NDR to promote the trumpet, which was somewhat neglected as a solo instrument, thereby making repeat performances of the work more probable. He had already made drafts of a trumpet concerto years earlier and completed them after he was commissioned. It was premiered on 11 October 1955 in the Studio X in Hamburg with the Sinfonieorchester des Norddeutschen Rundfunks and the trumpeter Adolf Scherbaum under the direction of Ernest Bour. At the time of the world premiere, the work was titled “Darkey’s darkness”. After a few years, however, Zimmerman learned that the word “Darkey” was used to describe a person of color in a contemptuous way, so he changed the title of his work to “Nobody knows de trouble I see” in reference to the spiritual that is used in the composition as cantus firmus.

Bernd Alois Zimmermann – Trumpet concerto: Crossover to reconciliation

The spiritual is at the center of the concerto and its structure is similar to that of a chorale prelude. Apart from this modern kind of a cantus firmus, Zimmermann also uses jazz elements and a twelve-tone-row as the basis for the composition. This special row appears frequently in Zimmermann’s work: It is also used in his Concerto for oboe, his film music for “Methamorphose”, and in his ballet Alagoana. By fusing these three formal principles, Zimmermann hoped to demonstrate a kind of fraternal connection in the music in response to the political realities of his time. As a soldier in the NS-regime and during the composition of the piece, Zimmermann’s awareness of the struggle of people of color in the USA to achieve equality and overcome endemic racial discrimination was heightened. He honors this struggle in the spelling of the title: Instead of “the”, Zimmermann uses a spelling based on the sound of the word as it was passed on through oral tradition, “de”.

“By the way I have recently finished a trumpet concerto with the title “Darkey’s darkness”. The negro spiritual “Nobody knows de trouble I see” underlies the work and the musical characteristics of the spiritual inform and imbue the work with the struggles of the coloured people.” –Bernd Alois Zimmermann, 1954

After this week’s concerts, the concerto can even be heard again. On 6 April, it will be performed by the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester with Håkan Hardenberger as soloist under the conduction of John Storgårds. In addition, as part of a Zimmermann concert series, the SWR Sinfonieorchester conducted by Ingo Metzmacher will perform the trumpet concerto on 28 April with Håkan Hardenberger again as soloist.

The most recent edition of the Schott Journal is dedicated to Bernd Alois Zimmermann. Therein you can find all events about the anniversary and an insight into his most important works.