Jazz Dialogues. Nils Wogram

Foto: Corinne Haechler

Jazz Dialogues. Nils Wogram.

Jazz Convention: Nils, tell me about the new album Riomar?

Nils Wogram: My band Root 70 exists since 13 years. We have recorded 6 albums. At some point we started a serious called conceptional works where we focused on certain musical subjects. This is the 3red one where the concept is that we invite three string players and feature a kind of music which is romantic, emotional and amphesises on sound. This is the first time the Root 70 quartet invites guest musicians.

JC: How would you define the music of the album Riomar?

NW: I tried to find a sound that forms a unit of all players rather than putting a jazz band and a classical string trio next to each other. The music is mainly inspired by places and stories. Through that the compositions are very concrete and have a strong mood. the strings give the whole thing a romantic and dramatic touch.

JC: What are the reasons that motivated you to become a jazz musician?

NW: My father is a hobby trombonist and did research on music instruments. He has a large record collection so I had access to Jazz in very early years. That inspired me to pick up the trombone and I liked it to much that I decided to become a musician. A big inspiration was not only the music but also the musicians who play this kind of music. On the LPs I read a lot of stories about them and got fascinated by their live style.

JC: Tell me about the first memory you have of jazz music?

NW: Sitting in front of my parents stereo and checking out records. There was so much to discover. I remember how the music touched me and made my heat move. I also remember my first concert where I was very close to the musicians and was convinced: thats`s exactly my thing. I want to be like them.

JC: Who are your masters in jazz music?

NW: I am convinced that one should take the best musicians in music history as a role model. Since I grew up with traditional jazz and am a big fan of the jazz tradition up to this day my biggest heros are Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Duke Ellington. Let me say why those peope.

JC: Ok, Davis?

NW: Miles was the best band leader and a real innovator. He had a great sense who to pick for his band and how to use their talent in that particular combination in music. He let them do their thing but let them know what he wanted non verbal.

JC: Coltrane?

NW: Trane is the most spiritual and serious musician. Very humbled. A role model for me how focus on real art and spirit and not distracted by commercial issues and short term trends. Also a real virtuoso on his instrument.

JC: Ellington?

NW: Duke was gentleman who understood to entertain the people, respect the tradition and nevertheless create something new and personal. His understatement as well as his clear and friendly personality is something I want to reach.

JC: And the others?

NW: On the trombone my big heros are Jimmy Knepper, J.J. Johnson and Curtis Fuller. For composition influences are: Ellington, Hermeto Pascoal, Frank Zapper, Alban Berg, Gil Evans, Charles Mingus, Django Bates, George Russel.

JC: What is for you the best moment of your career?

NW: I feel the best when I am only in the music and the moment. When I have a concert where I lose control, feel comfortable and the band transports a deep groove and feeling. These moments are pretty rare and you can`t plan it. I t can be in a little bar or on a big festival stage. I also like working in the recording studio. When the mood is good and spirits high and you go back to the control room to listen to a great take it gives me a deep satisfaction. The same I feel when I am composing and isolate from anything else but music. It is almost like dreaming.

JC: Among the jazz albums you’ve recorded as you love most?

NW: I think Riomar is one of my best albums because I did exactly what I wanted to do without thinking who would like it or not. The sound is very good too: a great sounding room and the music recorded with vintage analogue equipment which gives the whole thing a great warmth.

JC: Only Riomar?

NW: A very good Root 70 album is also Root 70 on 52nd +/4 street. A kind of Bebop album with a special tonal system (octave divided by 24 instead of 12 tones). With nostalgia I recorded a very good more groove and pop orientated album called “Sturm und drang”. Other milestones in my recording career are the duo cd “Moods and modes” and my septet album “Complete soul”.

JC: As you see, in general, the present of jazz music?

NW: Jazz has become extremely diverse. Personally I see the real spirit of jazz in it`s improvisational character and the deep respect for the jazz tradition. I like music that is personal rather than music that is trying to be modern. If you do something personal it will automatically be something new because there is no other musician like you. I try to make music that I would like to hear myself. Many musicians differ between the music they hear at home and the stuff they play. I think that is not the right way. Jazz should transport a very clear mood and character. I think in we will have a renaissance of melody and emotion in jazz. Taking a simple piece and making it more abstract has had it`s peak.

JC: What are you doing now musically?

NW: I just recorded a new album with a trombone quartet which will be released in the summer next year. In the next few weeks I will give some duo concerts with pianists Bojan Z. and Florian Weber since I stopped working with my former duo partner Simon Nabatov. Next year we several concert and tours planed with Root 70 + strings and my organ trio Nostalgia.

JC: What are your musical plans for the future?

NW: I will record a new album with my trio Nostalgia in the same studio we recorded Riomar. Therefor I will start composing new tunes in the next few weeks. Other than that I try to continue the work with my bands and develop on each ensemble sound. I want to get deeper to real meaning of music and reach people`s heart without leaving my started path of innovation and tradition.