Continuing my conversation with Ben Powell:
B.P. - "With the combination of the traditional Stephane Grappelli tribute material, some of my more contemporary original material and other selections, I knew I would get a nice range of styles on the CD and I was really going for this. While I am always trying to progress in my writing and playing by absorbing as much contemporary music as possible, I find it important to always remember where it is I have come from, and to play this music just as much. ‘New Street’ presented a nice opportunity to put traditional and more contemporary material side by side. I feel jazz musicians these days are diversifying their repertoire more and more which is a great thing. While somebody else might do a pop cover, I wanted to add a classical piece in ‘Sea Shell’ to my record. Also being a classical violinist, I am very lucky to have an enormous repertoire of music to choose from. I’d love to present more classical and jazz repertoire side by side in the future, as it’s a wonderful way to show off the violin, and really celebrate its presence in both styles.
I hope that each listener enjoys the different characteristics of each track on New Street, and feels a connection with my sound and expression. I also hope that they feel this is an album they would like to return to over time for this reason."
Of course the release is centered around Grappelli but where do you find your musical influences and what was the name of the last disc you purchased.
B.P. "Predominantly my musical influences are equal in both jazz and classical composers/musicians, but I’m always trying to draw from a wider array of sounds and styles! As a violinist, I am inspired by the ‘greats’; David Oistrakh, Michael Rabin, Nathan Milstein, Itzhak Perlman to name but a few….. I was fortunate enough to study with Joe Lovano when I was at Berklee College of Music. I’ m always greatly inspired by his writing, playing and musicianship. In addition to Grappelli, Romanian gypsy jazz violinist Florin Niculescu has had an enormous impact on the shaping of my sound and expression as a jazz violinist. He is uniquely the only violinist I know who has equally strong footing as both a classical and jazz player, and I’ve had the good fortune of taking some lessons from him- a real inspiration.
The last disc I purchased…. it must have been ‘The New Gary Burton Quartet - Common Ground’. At that time I was really trying to get inside Julian and Gary’s sound in preparation for my session with them!"
My review of this stunning new release : http://www.criticaljazz.com/2012/04/ben-powell-new-street-2012.html
Special Thanks to Ben Powell for his time and energy as well as Ann Braithwaite of Braithwaite and Katz for making this interview happen! Ben Powell's musical stock is an arrow pointing straight up!