An espresso with…
Kenny Werner

Image Credits: Kenny Werner © Jazz Voyeur.

November 13, 2018

The Space

Kenny Werner is an American pianist, composer and writer, among others he has written the book entitled Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within. We interviewed him for the release of his new album, The Space.

> Ivano Rossato

 

The Space is the title of your brand new album, can you tell us something about it?
In my book, Effortless Mastery, I talk about bypassing the conscious mind connecting directly to “the space”. The conscious mind weighs and evaluates, the conscious mind “cares”. From the space we connect. From the conscious mind there’s fear of the future, regrets of the past. Determining our value as people by how good a player we are. That is truly a saint. The conscious mind is the domain of “the moment”. I’ve written about it and I’ve played from the space many times. On this album I literally allow the space to dictate this music of this record from beginning to end. Mostly the first six pieces. I literally put my conscious mind somewhere else and allowed music to come from “the space”. This is the first CD that actualizes and celebrates the space completely.
 
How do you compose?
I work in many ways, but sometimes I receive it. I used to think of that as “free music”. I now think of it as “music as yet unwritten”. Except for the written compositions, on the CD all of the material came from that source. My composition “style” in general uses several methods: one is to try to compose from the space, and to do so I use something I call “random composition”. I let the composition right itself by not editing anything that comes out on paper. I apply the same method to the playing.
 
In your book Effortless Mastery you wrote “…there are no wrong notes…“; is the distinction between “bad” and “good” in music always meaningless and exclusively a subjective matter?
Not totally. You could call misplayed notes in a written composition “wrong notes”. The question is the effective notes in general. If you place wrong notes with conviction then those listening may perceive them as exciting new “right notes”. They may technically be wrong, but the upliftment of the audience becomes more important, thereby proving that there really isn’t any wrong note. In improvisation it’s easier to define. If you play a wrong note with conviction it simply becomes the new right note. Much of Jazz has evolved through mistakes.
 
Effortless Mastery is full of inspiring concepts, if you had to choose one for a young musician, what would it be?
Cut down the amount of things you’re practicing by 90% and focus on complete ownership of the other 10%.
 
 
You have played with many great artists, is there a quality that they all had?
One way or another, they became vehicles for the music that came out of them. No matter if they were frightened before the concert, freaked out, or drinking grappa, did drugs or whatever. When they went out there the music playing itself.
 
After all these years of music, writing and teaching, what are you still trying to learn as an artist?
Orchestration and new and exciting rhythms. Basically, anything I can’t play technically. Still worth giving it a shot.
 

 

 
Reservados todos los derechos – All rights reserved – 版權所有 – 版权所有;  An espresso with… Kenny Werner copyright Jazzespresso 2018.
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