An interview with Jo Kaiat

  • Describe your sound in 3 words

Jazz, Afro, Oriental

  • For Your next album you work with some great musicians. What is the idea behind the album ?

The idea behind this album is to transmit a multicultural message that was built from my various influences and foundations: Europe, North Africa, West Africa, Middle East, America.

  • Who is your favourite pianist ?

My Favorite Pianist is Thelonious Monk. Thelonious Monk brings another dimension to bebop (of which he is one of the founding fathers) and to music in general, through his playing, his compositions, and his interpretation of famous standards of the time, as well as other composers such as Duke Ellington that he particularly affectionates.

Through his unexpected syncopes and dissonance, out of the beaten tracks, he can often make you think of Stravinsky and other composers of that time, the ones that outpassed the musical rules, even through some shocking transitions.

In my sense, the music of Thelonious Monk is very close to the one of ancient Africa.

A lot of elements of his sense of tempo are very personalized. The art of the stride piano of which he’s coming from is under currently present, but not only. All his albums are true masterpieces. I also like his minimalism. His silences have real reason for existing, and are inhabited, his music remains timeless.

  • What is your favorite album of the past year ?

Seven Seas by Avishai Cohen. There are a lot of elements in his music that I find fascinating; because he’s a real good jazzman an excellent level but also a composer and an innovator who found out how to sculpt his music with different shapes and norms. The different influences he accumulated since his childhood until today are fully alive in his music : pop, classical, eastern, balkanese, ladino…

  • What do you enjoy most ? Writing music or performing your music live ?

I like both, but i enjoy mostly playing in music. which means that I re-compose it spontaneously. I recreate it with the feeling of the moment, interacting withe musicians I share it with. When you’re inside the creative process, it’s heaven sent. It demands a lot of work, though, but leads to a certain freedom. It’s really worth it.

  • What is the best venue you have ever performed ?

The international city of Arts, Paris. The Auditorium. What I really liked in this venue, it’s the acoustic sound and the wonderful Bosendorfer Imperial that was there… A dream piano. It was a concert with an oud player.

  • Jazz music as a genre has been accused as music for snobs. Is jazz music elitist ?

Jazz is very wide today, There is something for everybody. You could say that there is also an elitist kind of jazz, but for me, it’s a pleasure before everything, a message, feelings… Are the young musicians that are fresh out of jazz music schools, more representative of jazz than self-taught musicians? Musicians that come from out of nowhere and cultivate their art through work and discipline can go much farther than that… All the long way that this music has travelled, and also the hard time make it a part of the cultural heritage of mankind

  • If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be ?

Consider that all feelings, colors and tastes that we have must live inside the music we play.

  • Which book should we read while listening to your album ?

No, you can’t read a book while listening to the music, you can’t do two things at once. You can read while listening to light music

  • One last thing we should know about you ?

I would like to gather all the people of earth inside a common project.

Thanks Jo!

Follow Jo Kaiat

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