I recently asked some of the jazz jammers who perform around town to answer a few questions for our readers. One of the first to reply was a pianist Ade Ishs who I think you will hear much more of in the future. Other musicians will be featured in coming weeks. RM
Why I like jazz: I don’t know for sure. Perhaps because I had exposure to it early in my life. My dad liked big-band and orchestral vocal jazz stuff. And then my brother brought electric fusion (Chick Corea Elektric Band, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, stuff like that) home. I started playing fusion stuff in the 1990s, when I got influences from Bob James, Lyle Mays, Pat Metheny, and others. During that time, I joined a Pat Metheny cover band. I rarely played standards until early 2000s. My musical training was largely classical piano performance, although I shortly studied jazz organ performance and composition.
Nevertheless, my playing techniques are largely derived from what I learned in my classical piano training. To me, that works. And if the crowd likes it, that’s a plus. I often try to draw connections between classical music and jazz. I guess I benefit from learning J. S. Bach’s music melodic techniques and also ambidexterity. From W. A. Mozart’s, structure. From Debussy’s and Chopin’s, dynamics and harmony. And so on. By no means I imply that I haven’t learned, for example, dynamics from Mozart’s, or anything else from other giants not mentioned. I’m just saying that probably they’re my main influences from the classical world. Jazz is one of my means of practising awareness with my environment and adjusting to it accordingly, and manners with others, plus other things. Maybe that’s why I like it.
Why I like the jam sessions: Isn’t it obvious? Because I can practise jazz! Also, to find potential people with whom I can play in a band.
What I’m planning this year: More gigs, particularly with my trio with drummer Chelsea Allen and bassist Daigo Nakai. Also, preparing materials for my next album.
Favourite players: Many. Pianist Lyle Mays, guitarist Pat Metheny, drummers Jack Dejohnette and Billy Stewart, bassist Marc Johnson, and the list goes on.
You can read an extended interview with Ade here