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Samuel Ber - It’s great when a piece of art projects a kind of map in your inner world and opens some doors

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Samuel Ber - It’s great when a piece of art projects a kind of map in your inner world and opens some doors

Bram de Looze (piano), Sylvian Debaisieuz (sax) en Samuel Ber (drums) - één voor één indrukwekkende muzikanten binnen de jazz - vormen samen de al even tot de verbeelding sprekende formatie Pentadox. Aangevuld met het Amerikaanse trio muzikanten Nick Dunston (contrabas), Weston Olencki (elektronica, trombone) en Lester St. Louis (cello). Muzikanten die net zo als de basismuzikanten van Pentadox houden van op avontuur trekken door het jazzlandschap.
Het basistrio zagen we recent aan het werk in De Casino in Sint-Niklaas. Het volledige verslag van die avond kunt u hier nog eens nalezen:http://www.musiczine.net/nl/concertreviews/item/77369-natashia-kelly-group-pentadox-magie-en-virtuositeit-in-twee-keer-het-drievoud.html
Pentadox bracht eveneens een plaat uit: 'Fragments Of Expansion' via W.E.R.F. Een schijf die al even veel uiteenlopende kanten uitgaat en uiteenlopend klinkt als wat we de band op dat podium zagen doen.
Ook aan deze schijf besteden we de nodige aandacht. De recensie kunt u hier eens nalezen: http://www.musiczine.net/nl/cd-reviews/item/77955-fragments-of-expansion.html
Op basis van deze uitzonderlijke belevenis zowel op als naast het podium vonden we het interessant om bezieler en oprichter van deze top band Samuel Ber eens enkele vragen te stellen. Hij beantwoordt die het liefst in het Engels, voor ons geen probleem uiteraard. Het werd een zeer warm gesprek, ook al was het via e-mail.

Om met de deur in huis te vallen. Het valt me op hoeveel jongeren teruggrijpen naar jazz? Ik krijg hierop uiteenlopende antwoorden, maar waarom jazz? En kun je dat nog jazz noemen?
That’s a deep question… Maybe because it has already a long history shaped by many different creative minds, streams, intentions, aesthetics, it’s easier for somebody to relate to at least a part of it ? The more I do listen to jazz (whatever it means), the more I can feel how this sonic territory is way broader than I expected… and that’s of course really exciting. And then there is a second thing which is the encounter between improvisation and composition, and the focus on individual expression, both as musician and composer, which embodies a way of being and acting that might attract many young performers. I started playing this music and experiencing its space(s) well before studying it from a more theoretical point of view. I was around 10 when I joined a kind of young jazz band led by a teacher, and I remember that, from the very beginning, it felt good ! 

Hoe is alles voor jou begonnen? En wie zijn je grootste invloeden?
When I was 6, I saw a group of djembefola playing outdoor and I told my parents that’s what I wanted to do. They found a teacher, Manu Lurquin, and because I was too young to join the collective djembe lessons, he proposed me to take private drums lessons. So I started with a drums, he encouraged me to improvise from the very beginning, and he taught me many rhythms and variations, sometimes accompanying me on the djembe. A few years later, I joined the djembe lessons as well as a big group of percussions he was also directing, playing Sabar (he’s a student of Doudou N’diaye Rose). This large ensemble was made of djembés, djun djun, bells, shakers, surdos, and drums. The sound of it, the “largeness” of time, if we can say so, definitely made a huge impact on me. I can find back this approach to time when I listen to drummers Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, Ed Blackwell, Nasheet Waits or Gerald Cleaver. These last days, I’ve also been listening to Mamadi Keita, Gene Krupa, Charles Lloyd’s album “Hyperion with Billy Higgins”, “Jazz at Massey Hall” by Parker, Gillespie, Powell, Mingus and Roach (Bud Powell’s comping on “All the things” !), Gerri Allen, Ivo Pogorelich, Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher, the last album of Deerhoof, and watched movies by Apitchatpong Weerasethakul, Werner Herzog, Ingmar Bergman, Satyajit Ray, Chris Marker, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Louis Malle and Park Chan-Wook, and a little documentary on Masabumi Kikuchi. Lately, I’ve been inspired by films and pianists a lot.

Samuel ik heb je vooral leren kennen via het project Pentadox. Hoe ben je in dat project gerold?
Well, I founded it.  It was created as a band willing to develop its own language in a very playful way. We like to explore things, compositions, music relationships, attitudes… playing “on the edge”… At the beginning, I was the only composer, and later on everybody started to bring compositions.

Jullie hebben ook over de grens heen gekeken en een samenwerking aangegaan met internationale artiesten? Ik kan het opzoeken, maar wie en hoe is dat in zijn werk gegaan?
We just proposed musicians we already knew if they would like to join us. I’m talking about Lester St. Louis (cello) that Bram met in NYC and Nick Dunston (doublebass) that I met in a workshop led by Vijay Iyer at Banff (Canada). Bram and me spent a few days at the Darmstadt Ferienkurse during summer 2018 I believe and that’s how we met Weston Olencki (trombone and electronics).

De nieuwste plaat ‘Fragments of Expansion’ is trouwens, wat mij betreft vergelijkbaar met een zoektocht doorheen het landschap jazz en aanverwante, een zeer avontuurlijke plaat. Wat is uw mening hierover?
Subconsciously (because I realize that we never really talked about it), the core of this project seems to be the idea of playfulness… which of course echoes what you say when you qualify the music of adventurous. The fun of music making, like building things with Lego’s… It’s a long process; we’re still talking about how we could improve the overall architecture.

Vooral zorgt die samenwerking voor een magisch kluwen , waaruit je eens die ontward is , iets moois ontdekt dat je intens gelukkig maakt. Wat is uw mening over deze stelling?
I’m really happy to read that ! It makes me think about these long walks in the woods I’ve been doing regularly these last weeks and how these experiences reconnected me with memories, “forgotten” sensations, a deep sensibility to space and light, and also made me intensely happy. When I watch a Tarkovski or a David Lynch movie, I’m always surprised to observe how it triggers many feelings and sensations I even didn’t know I was able to experience. It’s great when a piece of art projects a kind of map in your inner world and opens some doors.

Hoe waren trouwens de algemene reacties op deze plaat?
From the ones I’ve read, what comes back pretty often is this feeling of puzzling adventure, strangeness, but also exploration of “buried” emotions,… To me, being lost can be a beautiful thing. What’s particularly interesting to read are the different journalists’ reactions to this relationship with the unknown… some like it, some not, that’s a very personal thing.

Live stralen jullie alle zoveel spelplezier uit dat je er prompt 'happy' van wordt. Jullie vullen en voelen elkaar ook perfect aan

Naast Pentadox zit je ook in andere projecten. Vertel er gerust wat meer over.  Zijn er ook plannen voor een eventuele solo plaat?
Playing solo has been at the back of my mind these last years. In these quarantine times, I’ve been spending a lot of time alone with the instrument, and it really feels like it should happen soon. Next to that, I’m starting a new band called Reservoir Ghosts, with Lotte Anker (saxophones), Daniel Levin (cello) and Soet Kempeneer (bass). http://www.insidejazz.be/portfolio_page/reservoir_ghosts/  We’re going to play in the fall in Rataplan in Antwerp, as part of my residency in this venue and in Volta in Brussels. Hopefully, we can play more.  I’ve been already composing a lot for that band and I’m really curious about gathering these minds all together. Due to the virus crisis, my tour with Tony Malaby and Jozef Dumoulin has been cancelled, I hope we’ll able to play together again as soon as possible.  In parallel, I’m part of Benoît Delbecq’s new sextet with Samuel Blaser, we had planned some rehearsals next month before the virus crisis breaks out. Bo Van Der Werf also created a new band around his compositions, with Jozef Dumoulin, Bram De Looze, Nelson Veras and Cyrille Obermüller, we had a nice residency 6 months ago in France. And I’m happy to join again Susanne Abbuehl in the Fall for another project of her. Some things are also likely to emerge from encounterings I made this year in New York. There is a recording with Michaël Attias, Richard Bonnet and James Carney which was made there which should be released soon.  Among the more regular projects, I’m part of Laurent Blondiau’s collective Mâäk (from quintet to big band), Nicolas Thys’ Broadway Neon, Soet Kempeneer’s Dream Tree and Casimir Liberski trio.

De vraag die iedereen beetje bezig houdt, hoe ga je als muzikant om met deze extreme corona tijden?
I’m back from New York where I was studying this year. Back to Brussels, at my parents. I’m lucky enough to be able to play drums and piano here. Spending a lot of time with the instrument is a beautiful thing. I’m also working on some electronics. I’m still part of a residency which should take place in July but, next to that, pretty much everything has been cancelled at least until end of August (I was normally playing with different bands on the garden stage at Jazz Middelheim). But, as I said, this suddenly new context also allows me to develop some things in a different way… I have maybe more time to push some ideas and, even if I get “lost”, that’s not a big deal, I still have plenty of time to try out other directions. Having more time for mistakes is great. But I truly miss all the social aspects of music !

Welke plannen waren er door die corona eigenlijk in het water gevallen?
A trio tour with Tony Malaby and Jozef Dumoulin, a little series of concerts with Nicolas Thys’ Broadway Neon and Mâäk, some summer performances for Pentadox Fragments of Expansion, and a residency day at Jazz Middelheim with all these bands + the premiere of Reservoir Ghosts. Also, Pentadox was finalist of the Avignon Jazz Contest. It should normally be postponed to summer 2021.

Wat zijn nu de verdere plannen na deze crisis? volgen er releases? Live shows (al zal dat sowieso koffiedik kijken zijn dit jaar)?
It depends a lot on government’s guidelines I guess, it’s hard to predict at this point. I have a couple of concerts in the Fall with Reservoir Ghosts, and a residency with Susanne Abbuehl. I will also be part of an exciting project at Bozar for the 4th Stream festival but I don’t know if I’m already allowed to talk about it …

Het online live concerten aanbieden van jullie muziek via sociale media? Zou dat een optie zijn in deze tijden? Ook al brengt dat geen geld in het laatje
I enjoyed watching Bert Cools and Bram De Looze playing livestream solo concerts. I don’t really know if I would like to do it myself, this is a strange medium… But I never say, never.

Om toch geld in het laatje de brengen, op welke wijze kunnen muziekfans jullie het best steunen?
There is some music materialized on CD’s or floating on a kind of cloud called Bandcamp which is waiting for you to listen to ! Buying music is currently the best way to support artists.

Om af te sluiten, zijn er nog opmerkingen of dingen die me zijn ontgaan, plaats ze gerust hieronder . Zeer veel goede moed in deze bijzonder moeilijke tijden, en we spreken elkaar hopelijk snel eens face to face. Stay Safe!
I also hope you’re doing well and that we’ll meet soon ! Thanks for your interest and your enthusiasm ! 

Pics homepag Samuel Ber (Pentadox) @Laurent Poiget

Aanvullende informatie

  • Band Name: Pentadox
  • Date: 2020-04-27 22:00:00
  • Rating: 8
Gelezen: 823 keer
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