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7 Steps of Jazz

July 30, 2009 by · 1 comment

Tihomir Ignatov’s interview with Hristo Yotzov

Mr. Yotzov, tell a little more about yourself. Why you chose the profession of musician?

I will try to outline myself in a few sentences. I grew up in a family of classical musicians. Many times before people ask me, how is it possible in this classical environment that a man can go to play jazz. I think that is not very difficult. When you have this kind of musical background, it is much easier to switch to jazz music, because music is a very spiritual sphere. Therefore, I feel musically uneducated people can’t play jazz, sometimes they can’t listen to jazz either. The Jazz is elite music and thank God it is. The last thing that I  want is for jazz music to become mainstream pop music, then other factors will come that will dictate the rules and music will be distorted.

Even in the 80’s in music school I began to play  with my class-mates. Then we played the first jazz meetings in Bulgaria. After the army in1981, I  began to play as an active jazz musician. I played for seven years in the first band of Villi Kazasyan. Then I founded a group –“Acoustic version”, which won several prestigious awards – in Belgium and Germany. Since then, I have had countless tours, concerts and met many acquaintances. I started to learn to write music as well.

Are there any fixed rules in jazz music?

Of course, in every music style there some rules. As I said, man must be prepared and know what he hears. This apparent freedom and sometimes anarchy can be in a state of subordination to the rules. This freedom removes the differences between the musicians and gives you some ability to speak and feel the music in one language.

What is the message of your last album – 7 Steps?

The idea was to attract young musicians and for them to be contaminated with the love of this music. When I turned back in time and saw what a big difference there was in the playing of these young people I feel very good.

7 Steps “is the equivalent of those 7 years, those 7 steps in people’s lives, after that man can stand up and say – ” Yes, I can!

Where you feel better on stage, or in the studio?

In either case the scene gives me emotion, freedom, makes me happy, most of all, because you are standing with people who respond to you and participate in making this thing called music.

What differs fyuzhan – jazz from other genres in jazz?

This is the form to which musicians over the last 10-15 years inevitably reached, because clean styles like swing and beebop or pure latin, ethnic, seem themselves to be the soil close to the musicians and they trying to mix them into one. Many musicians are based on the folklore of their own country. Indian folklore is very popular at this time. We take Teodosi Spasov and get a mix between jazz and Bulgarian folk music.

How do you feel the jazz, as a way of life, as a hobby, as a job?

All three together. I am happy that the work is my hobby.

How can you present the inspiration?

I take inspiration from people I have contact with and my associates. My inspirations are the great musicians in the world. My need to play and write music is the biggest inspiration.

Who are your favorite musicians?

All great musicians who gave something to the music.

Besides jazz, what other music you listen to?

Classical music. I write classical and symphonic music too.

What is your favorite tone in music?

This question is never asked of me. My favorite tone is a good tone. A good tone is very important in communication between the people. Because if people use it more often, the world will look another way.

How has jazz changed over the years for you? Can a certain order or dictatorship change the music?

No, it cannot. Even before the changes, famine for the jazz music was much more.

Can Jazz music bring the message of rebellion, as it does in rock?

I think Jazz music can’t play a role in this , the simple reason that it is not pop music. Rock music could play this role because it is music to the mass of the crowds, the energy is very different too.

Which is your biggest success and what is your biggest disgrace as a musician?

Thank God I have managed to prevent disgrace. I understand disgrace like a betrayal to my first idea of how my music should sound. And I’m proud of myself that all these years I did not depart from the idea of the jazz music, especially when it was very difficult – in 1996 and then in 1997 when the situation was catastrophic in Bulgaria. Then people, like a jazz musician, had no work. Those who survived and did not run to cheap opportunities to earn money elsewhere succeeded in keeping our good names.

My biggest success is that these days my daughter was accepted to study in Hannover – classical piano.

For so many years on stage is there something you never forget?

Yes! I will never forget, when in 1985 I played in Warsaw with Miles Davis. This is a miracle that God gave to me.

What advice would you give to future jazz musicians?

First I would tell them that if they want to play this music first they must be infected with her. This is a virus, it is a disease. And if they feel that they have this virus they can start to play.

Will you play soon abroad?

In November or December I will have concerts in Germany – Dusseldorf and in Bohom. I know there are Bulgarians, who created a foundation in Düsseldorf for the presentation of Bulgarian art. I am sure that Germany is a place where the Bulgarian lobby is very strong and there are many cultural centers that could provide Bulgarian music.

Photos & Multimedia: Nikolay Nikolov

Categories: Frontpage · Modern Times · Stage



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