Exclusive ‘24/7 Valencia’ Interview with Jason Faust prior to this Wednesday’s event at ‘Black Note’, which he titles: ‘Love in all aspects’
24/7 VALENCIA:Which are your most influential jazz artists?
JASON FAUST: I grew up with jazz, it was my musical upbringing. I’m not just a jazz player now but it’s a big part of my influence. I would say Miles Davis because I’m also a trumpet player as well as John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Count Basie. My biggest influence in jazz is probably Herbie Hancock, who was Miles Davis’s piano player back in the 60s.
Did you start off playing jazz or a different genre? Originally, I started choir when I was 8, and then I picked up rock with guitar. I got more into jazz when I started playing the trumpet when I was 13, and then I went to high school and I joined the jazz band, and that’s where it all really started; playing in the big band, playing the jazz combos, and starting my own jazz combo, then taking it more seriously in college and as a career as the years went on.
What made you decide you wanted a career in jazz? The thing that gravitated me towards jazz in the beginning was the spontaneous improvisation that it involves, because jazz is an art form that involves a lot of creating melodies and solos from nothing, from the moment. So being able to do that and explore the self through that was what really gravitated me towards it, as well as my interest in music theory, as jazz music is a lot more complex. And just being around it a lot – I grew up around it, so it was a big influence for me that shaped my artistry now, which has jazz infused into it but it is not jazz on its own. I consider myself a soul artist – I play soul music, R&B, funk, fusion, jazz, etc.
Could you give us a preview of this week’s performance? My band and I are performing at ‘Black Note Club’ here in Valencia. This is actually my first show that I’m doing as a solo artist with the band. I’ve done a lot of work as a band leader, but not as the frontman of the band, singing and playing. It’s a new adventure for me because I come a lot from the side of playing instruments and arranging music and composing music. But a new journey for me is discovering myself as a singer and as an artist. We’re going to be playing some covers of songs that represent my childhood, and a bunch of original music that I wrote. The theme of the show is ‘Love in all aspects’, so the lyrics of the songs tell a story about meeting someone that you connect with and it goes well in the beginning but then later on it goes south. And through that, you discover more about yourself. It’s about self-empowerment, self-love, and being able to enjoy your life.
What will be the musical composition of the performance? Musically the band is drums, bass, and guitar. I’m playing keyboard, trumpet, and singing, and then we have a saxophone player that’s also singing along with the drummer, so it’s like a vocal trio with the band, but the vocalists are also playing the instruments.
How would you describe your on-stage presence? I would say on stage I kind of go into this trance where I am very consciously aware of the energy I feel from the audience, and that helps ignite and spark my ability to express myself artistically and to connect with them. When I’m in the middle of my music it’s just unleashing my true self and my abilities. It’s beyond thought; it’s just feeling and state.
What kind of message do you want to convey to the audience? I would say the message that I am expressing in the music is: no matter how anyone else reacts to the way you express yourself in person, continue to keep doing that. It doesn’t matter if someone gets angry at you; keep being you, because at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is your own perception of yourself, the rest doesn’t matter.
What do you love the most about performing jazz? I love that in the genre of jazz we get to create ideas that don’t have words; we get to speak our truth without words. So when we’re taking a solo and improvising, we’re painting this picture of how we’re feeling, of who we are, just sound. And there’s no label or specification. It’s also about listening to what other people are expressing, and connecting through communication. It’s a very visceral experience.
What are your future plans in Spain with regards to the music scene? With this group, my plan is to continue playing with them because it’s much more of an intimate vibe. I really want to create the foundations that help bring out my artistry, to keep recording and releasing music, building my solo artistry. Another thing I’ve been working on for the past 6 years is a project called ‘Astral Voyage’, which is a big electric-acoustic infused music band with keyboard, synthesizers, rappers etc. And we’re doing a big show on the 22nd of June with a group called Sedajazz, so the band is reunited and it’s all about community.
Interview by Melissa McCrow
Article copyright ‘24/7 Valencia’
14th of June (Wednesday)
Black Note Club
C/ Polo, Peyrolon, 15
Buy tickets here: JASON FAUST | Black Note Club