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Interview : Yair Loewenson
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In Remembrance of: Benjamin Henry, Eva Burrell, Eric Paul Jackson, Bertha Smith, Leon Guitry, Jackie Hall
By Richard Henry on March 13, 2010

 Bassist Yair Loewenson was born in Haifa, Israel and it is no surprise that he has embraced jazz music along with late contemporary and classical compositions. Yair plays electric bass, guitar, double bass and has a broad range of experience on stage that includes trios, big bands, and duets. Recently he composed and produced his debut trio album Room 13 and performs in Europe and Israel.

Tell us about your album Room 13 and your inspiration for creating it.
The pianist Asaf Flumendorf was on a trip to Israel. He was bothered by the fact that he was playing only commercial music. I suggested that we should record a cd. For this project I did not choose old material. I met drummer Noam Israeli at a jam session. After playing with him a few times, I decided that he was suited for Asaf and I. Fortunately, I was able to rehearse with Asaf, Noam and pianist Eran Talmor who is a friend of mine. Asaf came to Israel for a few days and we had a rehearsal. On the second day we recorded the album. The session was twelve hours long.

When you were just starting to get interested in jazz, what jazz artists did you start listening to?
I started listening to jazz during my teens. The first record that I bought was a Pat Metheny album. I also started listening to a jazz fusion band called Weather Report and Charlie Parker.

What are some of your favorite places to play in Europe and Israel?
In Israel I have performed at the Red Sea Jazz Festival. The Dusseldorf Jazz Festival is another festival in Germany that I have performed at. I have also played in clubs that do not exist anymore as well as a jazz club in Belgium.

Who were your jazz influences as you started getting more into jazz?
My jazz influences included Keith Jarrett, Steve Swallow, Ron Carter, Gary Peacock and Miles Davis.

What classical composers do you like to listen to?
I enjoy listening to Bach, Debussy, Messiaen and Scriabin.

What kind of background do you have in classical music?
I had studied classical music for years and also played classical music on bass.

What interesting jazz musicians have you had the chance to meet?
I once met Eddie Gomez and Ray Brown. Arnie Lawrence is a saxophonist who played with Dizzy Gillespie that I also had the pleasure to play with.

What direction do you think jazz is headed?
Well that's hard to answer. Today I think there's a lot of retro fashion in jazz. Some musicians try to sound like musicians from the 1950s. On the other hand you can hear a lot of world music combined with jazz and a lot of odd meters. I feel that people should try to do new things with the music but in a natural way. Jazz is music with freedom and people tend to forget it quite often. I try to do my own thing in a very simple and natural way.

Can we expect more music projects from you in the future?
Right now I'm working on a new cd with Eran Talmor on piano and Nir Sabag on drums.

Yair Loewenson
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