October 15, 2019
Jorge Rossy (drummer, pianist and vibraphonist) is one of the most emblematic personalities of contemporary jazz. We interviewed him.
What made you desire to be a jazz drummer?
What keeps my desire to be a jazz drummer alive is to feel the impact that drums have in the music. I feel that my instrument is the band. By playing the drums I can define the character of the music just like an orchestra conductor but in a much more direct and powerful way.
Once you assume this responsibility, everything you choose to play or not play, how you play it and the reasons for the choices you make give meaning to your music. Music can be very meaningful and it changes the world every day.
In your opinion, what is jazz today?
Jazz is many things. For me, it is a way of living. It is a network of musicians, music lovers, promotors and professionals living in a world where national, racial and religious identities are completely obsolete. This spirit of freedom and humanity encompassed in music has always been the essence of jazz from the very beginnings.
Every day I discover an amazing performer thanks to one of the great masters I have listened to all my life or I buy some great music I wasn’t aware of, both by artists from the past of by newer ones.
Besides the infinite wealth of creative music that this tradition has given to humanity, now available to millions of people, the jazz community can inspire the post-capitalist culture that humanity needs to survive.
Great jazz musicians have great social skills and developed humanity. These values, if shared, can save us.
How do you choose, arrange and write songs? And how do you choose the musicians you play with?
This is a very important question. I don’t like being on stage playing something I don’t believe in. Sometimes you fall in love with a piece of music, sometimes you are intrigued by a tune and you are compelled to explore it. I write without an instrument most of the time, without thinking too much ahead, almost improvising. I write some sounds and ideas on paper, then I try to understand what I have written and learn how to play it. I arrange it according to the band I need to play with. You always need to be aware of the capabilities and limitations of the instruments and the musicians that will play the music.
Choosing who to play with is probably the most important part of anyone’s music development. Choosing who to spend time with is the most important choice for any human being. Time is all we have and it’s limited. There are so many great, well-meaning, intelligent and generous people in my life and I try to be fully awake and helpful to them. I treasure these relationships over everything else in life.
I have also learned to stay away from narcissist and immature characters, I have no time for those. I try to help them if they ask me to, but if I feel they just want to use me as they do with everyone else I disappear quite fast.
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