JazzBluesNews Interview with Gregor Huebner
JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?
Gregor Huebner: – I grew up in the south of Germany on the lake of Konstanz. My parents, both music teachers made sure that me and my siblings started early learning musical instruments. I began with piano but also added violin short after since this was the instrument played by my father, grand father going back for generations. Of course this was about classical music and I remember seeing Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and the Glenn Miller Story on TV when I was around 12 years old which got me very excited and I started to improvise first on the piano. My brother Veit and me created a band called “Bell Art Trio” in High School and we played as much as we could all over the town and the region we lived at the time. I kind of knew when I was around 15 that music is my passion and that I want to live my live in music. In the last year of High School we got the state award for the best youth jazz band and opened a big festival in Stuttgart for Charly Mariano, Wolfgang Dauner and Dino Saluzi and Aldi Meola which was broadcasted on TV and very exciting. That was the moment when I know I could make a living playing music.
JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?
GH: – This is an interesting question since these kind of things you probably think of in College consciously, in your early education it happens unconsciously. For me playing 2 instruments, on the violin mainly classical music with a family background of Eastern European folk and Roma music, on the piano mainly jazz, this is a kind of complicated question. In hindsight I think it was an advantage to develop harmonic and jazz theory skills on the piano in Stuttgart and later at Manhattan School of Music. At the same time going through the heavy classical school on the violin with great teachers in Vienna and Stuttgart, as well as having the melodic background of Eastern European folk music helped me later to put this all together becoming an improvising violinist, pianist and composer. Of course this is all about technique but to develop sound is a part of technique as well. On the violin for example I once saw an interview with the great conductor Celibidache who talked about what makes the string player individual. He talked about the vibrato on string instruments, which often, as I see it in my teaching, is automatic and not controllable. Celibidache said, with the vibrato the string player can develop his individual sound. I guess my vibrato was good and my teachers didn’t really talk much about it. So that means to me as a player you have to be able to control it if you want it to be a major part of creating your own sound. Today sound is not just how you play your instrument but how do you amplify it, which microphones do you use and many other. Billy Hart, the great drummer once told me, make sure you always come with the same set up to record or to play live, so the part of the sound you can control is always the same. Thats why he always got very angry when promoters didn’t get him the drums he wanted which I totally understand now. Or Richie Beirach wants a tuned Steinway so he knows whats coming. I am fortunate to bring my own instrument which I am playing since I am 18 years old. It became a part of my body over time.