John Schofield: “a Good sound engineer should be a very musical person himself»
John Schofield is coming to Russia soon. And this, perhaps, says it all. Run for tickets. You don’t have to explain anything. But still, I will explain why and why it is worth doing.
John Schofield has long been called a living jazz legend. Suffice it to say that he played and recorded with miles Davis himself, which already provides a place in history. Although Mr. Schofield does not look like a legend or mythical hero at all: a smiling, balding man in colorful shirts. But what he does on stage is magic.He performed in Moscow only twice (the last one was already 9 years ago!), but with such different programs that we realized that this musician can do anything. Indeed, his numerous albums are a real Museum of jazz and near-jazz styles. From mainstream to acid jazz, from psychedelic rock covers to jam bands. We were lucky enough to talk to John Schofield before his concerts in Moscow, which are scheduled for March 14 and 15.
— This is the third time you will perform in Moscow. What do you feel about this, and how do we, Muscovites, feel about it as an audience?— I think that the Moscow audience is quite special! I feel that she understands jazz and is interested in it seriously. In General, this is understandable: Moscow has always revered music and art. I have always played for a wonderful audience: attentive, immersed in music.— Do you have any friends among Russian musicians?— There are two absolutely excellent trumpeters of Russian origin-Valery Ponomarev and Alex Sipyagin. I’ve heard both of them a hundred times in new York. And, of course, I also like Igor Butman very much!
— Did you know that this year the Herbie Hancock Institute guitar competition was won by a Russian guy — Eugene Pobozhy?— Of course! I was on the jury myself! Of course, I listened carefully to his speech, and I was very impressed with it. I’m sure he has a very big future.
— You always try to go into non-jazz styles: from modern classics to country, folk, psychedelia of the 60s… The result is always impressive, but how does it happen, where do these ideas come from?— Yes, I have one foot in the life of rock and roll, Blues, country, music of the peoples of the world… I have a lot of legs, Yes! This is partly because I am a guitarist, and the guitar is the rock instrument of all time. Jim Hall, himself a jazz guitarist, said that the guitar plays the Blues by itself, ha ha! But I don’t think you can just force yourself to make hybrid music. It should work by itself, grow together. I hope that with my fusion of different styles, this is how it works.— What’s the next stage?— Right now I’m starting a project like this: a jazz Quartet plays jazz versions of Americana. It looks like something I’ve already done. We’ll record country music, something from the Grateful Dead, The Beatles, that kind of thing. We’ll improvise based on these tunes.
— Recently you performed with the legendary double bassist Dave Holland. How did you even meet and why did you start a Duo just now, after working together for so many decades in different projects?Yes, Dave and I have recorded a lot with different bands. Worked with Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Chris Potter, Roy Haynes… I honestly can’t remember when we met or under what circumstances. But that was definitely a long time ago. I remember the first time I played with him at a rehearsal for Charles Mingus’s Music in 1977, but Dave doesn’t remember it. I think I’m wrong here! I was lucky to play with Dave in different lineups, Yes. When we started this joint project, we just decided that this is a Duo, just the two of us — it’s very interesting, it’s worth it.- A duet-it’s difficult, it’s a challenge!— Of course, and any Duo is a challenge. But in this particular case, I can say that playing with Dave is like playing with a whole band! He has such a rhythmic drive crazy! And, of course, he’s the perfect bass player.
— If we talk about the process of recording your albums, does it change over the years or does it remain more or less the same?— More or less the same, Yes. I like to capture the live sound of the band and not do a lot of overdubs.
— A good Studio for you — what is it?— This is a good recording room, it’s great equipment, instruments, especially a Grand piano. If there is a good coffee shop nearby — this is a nice bonus.
— How do you usually record your guitar?— I just pick up a guitar and an amp that I like.” The engineer is responsible for the recording itself. I was lucky enough to work with two outstanding engineers here in new York. This is Joe Ferla-he’s retired now-and James Farber. I don’t know what they do or how they do it, but their guitar sounds great. As, however, and all other tools.— And how do you write: film, then Protools?..— Just Protools via the Neve console, plus great microphones and a room with good sound.
— Do you have any secrets that no one knows?”— No, I think not!
— What is a good sound engineer / producer?— I think a good engineer is one who is a very musical person himself. Not just a super tech guy! A producer is a different job altogether, he helps musicians shape their music to make a great statement album, and also makes sure that the engineers record it all… well, in General, he should keep an eye on everything! Producers help musicians feel comfortable and-sometimes-they add something from themselves to make the material as good as possible!