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Natalia Skvortsova, “Live people”: “The most interesting thing in jazz is happening now!»

Known in the circles of connoisseurs of modern author’s jazz group “Live people” (or Live People) is releasing the fourth Studio album of author’s material. The leader of the group, pianist and composer Natalia Skvortsova told stereo.ru about how her wonderful team has developed and how they manage to swim out, playing original music-fresh and innovative. Which, although quite complex rhythmically and harmonically, is charged with drive and bright emotions.

Let the author of these lines has long been interested in modern domestic jazz, but he learned about “Living people” quite accidentally — through a channel, so to speak, mechanical. I just received another newsletter from the Moscow independent label Fancy Music. I was skeptical: what kind of “People” – there is no one else to record and release? It turned out-there really is no one, if you compare with this team.”People” is a rare jazz supergroup for our country: the composition has changed, but it has always been the best, most creative Moscow jazzmen. The band plays almost exclusively original material, which Skvortsova writes in her own peculiar manner. And as a pianist, she is also extremely attractive: there are all the “smart” references – from Cecil Taylor to brad Meldau-as well as her own sound, phrasing, and drive… “Live people” is smart jazz that “rocks”. All their three albums — and, I’m sure, the upcoming fourth-can be put on the shelf with the best samples of modern jazz / improvisational music. They belong there. They are non-national.
How did you manage to create such a band, which has gained almost cult status in Moscow, and what to expect from the new album? This is the leader of the group Natalia Skvortsova said Stereo.ru.
– Natasha, where did you come from, so unique? What is your creative path?— It started with an ordinary Moscow music school. Then at the Gnesin music school, I studied music theory. Then I went to College of improvisational music — and that’s when jazz came into my life. In between all these schools, I played both jazz rock and art rock. Finally, I went to study at the Kulek Institute of culture, where I graduated as a jazz pianist and arranger/ensemble leader. This is if the documents. People actually taught me. I listened to the recordings, listened to the people I studied with.Jazz for me started with the album “Love Supreme”, oddly enough. Before that, I did not consider jazz good and serious music — I thought it was just loud, without nuances, jazz musicians allegedly do not work with sound production, their lyrics are not interesting… But thanks to my fellow students, I listened to “Love Supreme”. By the way, I still don’t like the mainstream, I don’t listen at home. Only selectively: something from the Ellington orchestra, miles Davis. But I listen mainly to what has been created over the past 20-30 years. This is the space I live in. The most interesting thing about jazz is what is happening now, because the new directions have absorbed everything: jazz, the strongest academic school, and national cultures, plus rock, electronics, and hip-hop… These musicians can do everything!

— Who exactly do you love-just like a fan?
“A lot of people! Of course, brad Meldau, the late Esbjorn Svensson — these are generally the most favorite. But Avishai Cohen, listen to I can’t because all the records of all of his works long ago learned by heart!Some of Joshua Redman’s projects are very good. Chris Potter and his ECM album “Imaginary Cities” is just Bach’s compositional level. And his album “the Sirens” is something completely different, small composition, transparent sound. Interestingly, I first heard Potter 15 years ago, and then I did not like it, it seemed flat. And five years later, it opened!Another of the outstanding ones are our former compatriots: trumpeter Alex Sipyagin and double bass player Boris Kozlov. And their Opus 5 project with American pianist Dave Kikoski. A completely new love — Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen, he came this summer to the festival ” Manor.Jazz».
— How do you compose?” What is the ratio of written notes to improvisation?— First of all, to compose, you need to get everyone out of your room and leave yourself half a day of free time. Drink coffee, sit at a well-tuned instrument… In short, you just need free time and a free head.
“What inspires you?”I am inspired by everything beautiful. Nature, people. Or here is a good ensemble appears-I want to write for it. If there is no such ensemble, then you are all in doubt: “I will write, and who will play?»
— So the ensemble “Living people” was born?— People say that my music is complex and unusual, and really — it doesn’t sound when it is played by invited professionals. It turns out an idiotic reading from a sheet. That is, I was initially without an ensemble and community-nowhere! The main thing is to have a systematic collaboration with like-minded people and that they are motivated, create with me together, Express their opinions, participate in arrangements. This is how the music gets better from concert to concert.— And still the composition of” Living people ” changes?— Yes, many musicians have passed through the band for 10 years. Everyone is great, everyone has contributed something different, but I like the current line-up the most. We now have a rhythm section – double bassist Daria chernakova and drummer Peter Ivshin. The wind section is old: Yuri Sevastyanov on tenor, Pasha Skornyakov-soprano and Alto. Sometimes Mikhail Volokh joins us, this is my Institute friend. He is a unique emotional trumpeter, and also knows how to play the Armenian DUDUK!
– “Live people” is a rare Russian jazz band that regularly releases CDs. How do you rate your discography?— So far, I think the most interesting is “Planes” — our third, released by Seryozha Krasin on his label Fancy Music.In 2020, we will release a fourth, “High water” – that is, flooding. As recently in Venice. Flood is an ambiguous name: someone is a disaster, and someone is happy about it… In General, six months ago, the album seemed completely different. Even with a different name. But while they were recording — everything changed!I was thinking while composing the announcement: what is this music about? “About the course of a deep underground river, how one day the firmament will open, and its waters will reflect the sun.” I didn’t set any formal task — this is a set of my new compositions that I just wanted to play. I was looking for mood, peace and joy inside the music. This is what the plays have come to. The forms can be complex or simple, but the content is important — what we live by! Reveal yourself to each other, to yourself, and to our listeners. We got older. So the album is still about the inner life of each of us — it overflows its banks and becomes a reality.— What is a good Studio?
— For my compositions, the quintet, so far the best in Moscow is “Sinelab”! There are conditions for high-quality recording of any ensemble. From the point of view of planning, you need to have separate rooms, so that the sound of one instrument does not get into someone else’s microphone. So we can see each other and hear each other. I need a good Grand piano and a remote control so that the drums are in one channel and the saxophone is in another channel — so I would be comfortable playing, hearing the musicians and adjusting the volume.

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