Jason Hunter: jazz is a great practice in democracy through art
Jason Hunter is an American trumpet player who lives in Estonia. On July 8, he will perform at the Rigas Ritmi Festival, where he will play as a member of his Baltic Quartet together with Estonian saxophonist Allan Kaljaste, Latvian Hammond organist Atis Andersons and Lithuanian drummer Augustas Baronas, presenting LP ImagiNation.
The concert will take place on the Jersika Stage in the arts center Noass on the AB dam. In the meantime, we asked Jason to fill out something similar to a book of memories, which we call this time the Jazz Book and which we ask other representatives of the current jazz generation in Latvia and the Baltics to do as well.
What is jazz to you?
Jazz is one of the most inspirational art forms that is still and will always be alive as long as people desire a space to create music as a collective while expressing ones individual ideas and perspective. Done right, it is a great practice in democracy through art.
What inspired you to become a jazz musician?
Hearing the music of Louis Armstrong and the sounds, dress, dance, and countless amazing musicians of the early stages of what we call jazz at a young age truly moved me to see the world in a positive and artistic light.
And where is jazz going?
I feel that jazz has so many avenues still to be explored but currently, I believe that melodic improvisation is once again on the rise.
What's the best thing to expect from a jazz concert?
Leaving the concert with an uplifted spirit and understanding not only of the joys but the hardships of life and how to deal with it all in a sophisticated way.
How to achieve the feeling of free flight on stage?
A good connection with all band members and consideration of the audience and repertoire can make for a fantastic experience on stage.
Is it always easy for you to throw yourself into the vortex of jazz playing and is it always easy to get out of it and back into the real world?
It is not always easy; much like life itself. There are good, bad, and great days. But I feel it is always an opprtunity to learn and grow as a musician and human being.
What is the strangest thing that has happened to you while performing?
There have been a few strange moments, but the one that stands out to me the most is my trumpet malfunctioning during the climax of my solo during a pretty big gig. The band was on fire, and I went for a loud and powerful phrase only to have nothing come out of my horn.
Who would you like to record an album with or at least jam with?
I would love to record and/or jam with the great drummer Gregory Hutchinson.
Where do you get inspiration for creating new music?
Many things; such as life experiences or a simple melody or rhythm I hear in a random place or bouncing around in my head. But most of all, I am always deeply inspired by the countless great musicians that came before me.
Is there a lot of jazz in Estonia?
For a small country, there is a big jazz community that is very supportive and always looking to expand their understanding and commitment to the music. Hosting great festivals and attracting great talent to perform for the people of Estonia.
Is there such a thing as Estonian jazz sound?
I think so. It is very unique in my opinion, and I find it beautifully intelectual and descriptive of the Estonian experience.
What would you wish and recommend for the Rīgas Ritmi Festival?
That all scheduling and accommodations are respectful to the artist, as well as the audience. In addition, a late-night jam session would be fantastic!