An espresso with…
Jamie Baum

September 25, 2018


Bridges is the title of the new album by Jamie Baum, produced by Sunnyside, performed by a septet featuring Baum on flute, Amir Elsaffar on trumpet and vocals, Sam Sadigursky on clarinet, Chris Komer on French horn, Brad Shepik on guitar, John Escreet on piano, Zack Lober on bass and Jeff Hirshfield on drums. We interviewed Jamie Baum.



Which is the meaning of the title, Bridges?
The last album we recorded as a septet was called In this life, and there were a lot of influences from Indian music, which I always loved. I had the chance to go to India and Nepal and to cooperate with Nepalese musicians, and many persons have always asked me how I have been affected by this kind of music. A friend I met when I was in India was born in the US, she was Jew and she was in India to study Indian percussion; together, we spoke a lot of the fact that there are very strict connections and ties in Jewish, Muslim and Indian holy music in the period between the 10th and the 13th century. Nowadays, there are so many problems in the world, a lot of them coming from religion (not to mention Trump’s presidency!). I began to propose this project in 2013 to the Guggenheim Foundation, in order to find musical connections between the three areas I mentioned before, and therefore it is quite interesting that the CD is coming out exactly now, in a moment in which spirituality seems even more important to me. Substantially, bridges versus walls.
This is your sixth CD as a leader. How did you succeed in holding a so big line-up together for so long?
If I have to say the truth, there was a change in the line-up around 2010, the band was born in 1999 and, in that time, I was interesting in bringing the influences of classical composers in order to create new improvisation formats. Around 2010 some of the musicians were very busy and therefore the change in the line-up was perfect to introduce influences from southern Asia in my music; I met Amir ElSaffar, and we wanted to play together. I was very lucky, it is very difficult to play with a so big band, as everybody is always very busy, but I think that they all love to play together, and that they think my music is challenging.
Jazz music has a very strong spiritual tradition. Does your CD fit in this story?
Personally, I believe that this is more spirituality than religion, when I listen to some musician touching me deeply, it always seems to me that we are moving on a spiritual ground. I think that there are a lot of musicians beginning this path, by looking maybe at their roots, and we are in a political period which is so difficult, that probably that’s what we really need.
How do you work on arrangements or compositions?
Generally, I sit at the piano, sometimes I have ideas while playing the flute; there are different approaches, sometimes I play the piano and I improvise; a bass line, some chords I like, and then I try and develop. Some other times I have a conceptual idea that I want to develop; in the first track, for instance, I wanted to work with Amir and use particular scales. Some other times, believe it or not, I sing while I take a shower and many ideas come to me. Writing programs, then, are really fantastic, you can develop your ideas and listen to them in real time, considering that I don’t have an incredible piano technique.
Musical industry has hugely changed. In your opinion, is the internet a gift or a curse?
As everything, it has positive and negative sides; it is incredible to spread information, you can listen to anything… this is really fantastic, and it’s also useful to propose your music to anybody. On the contrary, streaming made it difficult for artists to earn with their own music. Unfortunately, it is convincing young people that there’s no value in intellectual property.
Do you have a dream you’d wish to come true?
I have always so many things… to be able to tour more with my band to play live, that’s always challenging. Then there are so many musicians I’d like to cooperate with, and so much interesting music which is inspiring to me… It seems to me I have just started.
Reservados todos los derechos – All rights reserved – 版權所有 – 版权所有;  An espresso with… Jamie Baum copyright Jazzespresso 2018.
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