The Hollywood Press Corps’ traveled to Tokyo, Japan and got a chance to meet up with jazz musician Joris Posthumus. He is Internationally known for his NU-bop composing and alto saxophone playing. Joris was busy recording a new album but had time to do an interview. The album, Joris Posthumus Group, Tokyo’s Badboys will be released by Challenge Records International, autumn 2016
When did you start playing your instrument, and what or who were your early influences?
At the age of six I started playing the drums. After a couple of years I decided to change to the clarinet. My first teacher also played the tenor sax and I changed to alto, an old Bundy Selmer.
My early heroes were mostly tenor players like Ben Webster, Colman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins.
I got tapes from my teacher with a lot of different players on it, some I liked, and some I really did not understand yet. It’s funny how your ears develop in time and you appreciate more and more music and styles.
What do you personally consider to be the defining moment in your work or career?
For me 2010 was a great year. I was selected for a Young VIPS tour, a prestigious price that gave me the opportunity to play many of the big venues in Holland. Also, I released my first album, The Abyss, had an aperients in a TV show and was invited to play at the North Sea Jazz festival.
What are currently your main artistic challenges?
I recorded an album in Tokyo, September 2015, release will be 2016 so I put a lot of effort in this at the moment and I’m planning a tour both in Japan in 2016 and a tour in Holland for this group in 2017.
Touring Holland and Belgium with a project called ‘De Zeeland Suite’.
I also joined a new group, Jacob Bedaux Quartet., album recording 2016
What do improvisation and composition mean to you and what, to you, are their respective merits?
I feel that melody and improvisation are connected. It’s a symbiosis. I always have the melody in mind when I am improvising and try to play as melodic as possible. I am also thinking about sound and what the song needs.
How important are practising and instrumental technique for achieving your musical goals?
Of course practicing is a vital part of your development as a musician, and I try to do this as often as I can. In the summer I usually go to a greenhouse nearby my garden and study there. Also I study piano. I feel that as a horn player this is a real asset and also provides a more visual way to write songs.
What do you try to capture when recording?
I think to get that live sound, and intention, is the biggest challenge when recording in the studio. First takes are always special, there is a freshness that is hard to capture for a second time. For me a ‘good’ take is when the whole band and song stands out.
Who is your favourite Japanese jazz musician? Could you describe the Japanese jazz scene?
At the moment this would be my pianist, Shunichi Yanagi. He is a big talent and I am happy he is in my group.
The Japanese jazz scene might not have the biggest stages and festivals in the world but it compensates for it by having a lot of small jazz venues. During my tour in 2014 I played many clubs and was amazed by the diversity of venues out there. Of course there are some bigger stages and festivals but I really dig the smaller clubs. I feel that jazz in general is really alive in Japan. Anywhere you go you can hear jazz around you, in restaurants, bars, on the street, anywhere.
The level of musicianship is high and there are many great players out there.
Could you say a few words in Japanese?
My Japanese is really bad, so I will spare you this. I am starting Japanese lessons soon because I would really like to do enouncements in Japanese when I am there.
What are your future plans in Japan?
My future plans for Japan are to go there and promote the album with my Japanese band.
Together with Gaku Hasagawa(drums) Shunichi Yanagi(piano) Satoshi Tokuda(bass) Yuichiro Tokudo(alto sax) and Yuki Nakae (tenor sax) I want to show Japan and the world what a great group this is.
What are your goals for the future?
To write, play and record more. To visit more countries and connect with more musicians globally.
What is something that would surprise our readers to know about you?
I am a big gardening freak, love growing my own food for me, my wife and kids. We have a big garden where I grow lots of different vegetables. I find it very relaxing and it gives me time to think about music. There is no noise there.
Who is your favourite Dutch musician?
Jeroen van Vliet. He is a great piano player and composer. I did a project with him called De Zeeland Suite Revisited. A special project about a part of Holland at our coastline. Last year he won a big price in Holland, The Boy Edgar Price.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
I would like to end this with a quote from Eric Dolphy:
When you hear music, after it’s over, it’s gone in the air. You can never capture it again
Check out Joris’ website at;