Jazzitalia - Interview with Guy Zinger
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Interview with Guy Zinger
September 2010
by: Eva Simontacchi

Fai click qui per leggere la versione in italiano


The first question is: Could you tell us something about your background as far as music is concerned?

I'll try to keep it short…. I've been playing and singing for 20 years now. Singing is the latest addition. I started studying classical piano when I was 6 years old and I made a transition to jazz when I was 18. These are my two passions: piano jazz and vocal jazz, and when an artist is combining those two skills, then he's really my idol, which is Nat King Cole, if I didn't say it yet. I followed for a long time Marian McPartland's piano jazz radio broadcast on NPR and as a pianist my idol would be Thelonious Monk. I also got notes of him about how to play jazz. I am also a great admirer of the works of Mal Waldron, Hank Jones, Barry Harris and George Shearing and the likes. I programmed jazz programs in various radio stations around the World, and I also conceived and created Adore Jazz that airs only vocal jazz 24x7 under the 1.FM umbrella. This station has listeners from all over the world and if I have to pick albums which I really would take with me to a desert island, then they would be: Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane - Ballads (it only has 6 tracks in it, and it was all done in one take and it's amazing) and then Nat King Cole (17 mar 1919 - 15 feb 1965)'s "The Complete After Midnight Sessions", then "Thelonious Monk plays Duke Ellington" and Carmen Mcrae and Betty Carter, the duets, then Ernestine Anderson and George Shearing "A perfect Match" and Carmen Mcrae's "Carmen Sings Monk", and then Susan Mccorkle, she's a favorite of mine because she's the best storyteller. She was killed in a plane accident in her fifties. But she's the greatest American storyteller for me. And last but not least, I'm not the greatest admirer of Ella Fitzgerald, I must admit but… on her last album with Joe Pass, Ella and Pass Again, she has this kind of fragility in her voice because she was quite old then, and it's just like staying at home with hot cup of tea with lemon kind of album. It's so warm, it's so fragile; it's got like 10 extra layers of depth in it. It's really not the usual Ella, it's got much more fragility in it and it does it for me. But enough about me, let's talk about the project. One week ago I released my debut album called "Project Out Of The Blue" with Simone Gubbiotti, Tim Harmony Welvaars and Patrick De Bree and we are beginning to tour next week in the Netherlands, and in the making are U.K., France and Belgium.

How did you get to know Simone Gubbiotti and the other musicians that are working with you in the project? And how did the project and the ideas come up? Could you tell us the story of this album?

This album is called "Project Out Of The Blue" was originally called "Out Of The Blue" but I had to modify it because there were more than 100 different "Out Of The Blue" albums… (He laughs) and this is really a project. It came out of the blue, it really did. It came out of a series of unexpected events in my life and this is also (unexpectedly) how I met all the players in it: Simone, Tim and Patrick. This album came out of a series of unexpected events, my 10 year long relationship reached an end, and actually this album is about the different phases of my relationship, falling in love, the heavenly periods, the period in which I still thought we could fix things, etc. We had 9 beautiful years, and only the last one was not so good.

So, is it about love or a love that's ending?

It's about love, it's about if you really have it, or if you just think you have it and suddenly it's gone. it's really intimate. You need to listen to this album with your eyes closed. This is really a listening instruction, and it's about relationships, with all that this entails, and it's done via music. It's got standards in it, standards with a very unique interpretation to each one of them that gives them a twist together with the emotions you can hear from my voice. Also if you think that each song represents a different phase in relationships. It's also got original pieces. Together they tell a story. "Out Of The Blue" is actually Simone's music "Una Lunga Conversazione" and I wrote the lyrics. I heard it once and then the lyrics flew out of me because of my situation, and I have titled it "Out Of The Blue", because "A Long Conversation" bears negative connotations and is not such a nice title in English….. (He smiles).
The second original is "Point of No Return" and this was written originally by Tim for the 75th birthday of Toots Thielemans (music), and I heard it and 5 minutes later I had the lyrics. And I met Simone by coincidence through a mutual friend, Margeaux Lampley, and then we decided that we'd do this project and that he would come to the Netherlands and we would work on it together and then record together, accompanied by a trio but on the last day before the recording was planned they cancelled on me - But due to I got to meet Tim - on the very same day they cancelled on me I had dinner with a friend of mine who knew Tim Harmony. This friend of mine, who is totally not in the music business and he was the kibbutz brother of Tim; you see in the Kibbutz, you have an adopting father. My friend told me "Well I know he plays the harmonica, I don't know how well (Tim is the best harmonica player in the world), Maybe you should give him a call". The next day I found myself in Tim's House talking about music, and making music for a number of hours. I've added a percussion line later with Patrick De Bree, after he heard me in a performance with Tim. I sang a couple of songs with his band and Patrick was the drummer and afterwards he went to me and said "I really like the way you sing, you really croon", and it was great match because I really liked the way he was playing percussions. He's really minimalistic. I said: "Well, you know what? Let's experiment. Let's see how you do with the album!" And he plays the percussions in the album not as drums or percussions, but as an extra instrument, so the result is very interesting to hear. However the album is about "less is more", it's very minimalistic. So there are a lot of gaps there and that's part of what I've tried to create, kind of a dreamy atmosphere that lets the listener listen, shut their eyes, smile, enjoy, think, cry… invoking emotions, thoughts and good energy. Feeling one's own emotions. Eventually the synergy between us all created this CD. Does this answer your question?

How did you choose the tracks to tell your own story?

The album is composed of eight standards (with a twist), and 2 originals. The last standard "It was almost like a song", is actually the conclusion of my relationship. It was almost like a song, but at the end it fell apart. It's not really a jazz standard. It's a country standard. The only jazz artist who recorded this song was Johnny Hartman and me! It was a song, I thought it was perfect, and we called ourselves soul mates, but it was at the end the illusion broke down and the song was not was off key and didn't rhyme.

What do you mean by "almost like a song"?

If you take a song it should not hurt your ears. That's a song. OK? But this was almost like a song. There were too many dissonances there. There were too many interruptions, too many things that didn't add up. Reflecting back on my relationship and on the text brought me back to my relationship. Both are linked together: "January through December it was such a perfect year, then the sun became a dying ember, all at once you weren't here……" That's really almost like a song. And the rest of the tracks are really representing various periods in a relationship: the dreamy era, the learning to know each other period (should be all the time), the disillusion, the compromises, the working on a relationship period. I do all the songs very storytelling-like, very Rubato-like with a lot of tempo changes in the middle, but the atmosphere is dreamy; I think about a garden, about caressing the petals of a rose, and believing that you are there. Quiet night of quiet stars, is one phase of my relationship. I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face is also another phase of my relationship (realization that you cannot be apart). They were all carefully selected.

Now I've got another question for you: Is this record self produced? Where can people buy it?

This record is self-produced. People can buy this record via the major internet shops like i-Tunes, amazon.com, or cd baby.com (to name a few) if they look up Guy Zinger - Project out of the blue. It will be also available in retail stores. on CDbaby.com there is option to by the CD itself. On my site there's a lot of information on myself and on the album, and samples (temporary mixes) of the tracks without percussion…. There are also samples with the percussion in the internet shops, but only of 30 seconds. My site is www.guyzinger.com.
That's it!

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Publishing Date: 05/12/2010

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