Spanish saxophonist Ivan Saez talks about the Jazz, local scene, his projects and baritone saxophone

"Jazz is a musical language and as language the purpose of the expression of the human being."

Iván Sáez: Habla con Jazz

Iván Sáez Vigalondo was born in Burgos, Spain. He started studying jazz with Marcelo Escrich, Iñaki Arakistain and Ricardo Urrutia. He moved to Madrid to continue his studies of saxophone, improvisation and piano with the best masters: Bob Sands, Bobby Martínez and Paquito de Rivera. In this time he played with Big Band Creative School, Pauline in the Beach, Culebrijazz and recorded for Subterfuge Records.

In 2002 he made a tour through Finland and Sweden with the spectacle “Montesblancos“ and worked for “Spanish Cruise Line”. From 2004 Iván moved to Catalonia and worked few years as saxophonist for "Universal" at the theme park of "Port Aventura" for the bands “Penitence Dixie Band” and “Penitence Big Band”.

Currently Iván still improves his skills studying jazz in Conservatorio Superior de Navarra. He gives classes of saxophone, improvisation, language of the jazz in Aula de Music´s de Tarragona and Estudi de Música. He also collaborates with “Big Band del Aula de Music´s del Camp de Tarragona”, “Manuel Martínez Octeto“, “Jesús Fusté“,“La Voz de los Nadie”, “The Bird of the Cool Revival Project”, “Sexteto de Jazz + Banda de Montblanc”, the office of investigation improvisational “Cuatricromatic“. He has few albums recorded. Now he inspired by Gerry Muligan music. He plays now in two projects: “Cornelius Trío” and “Homenaje a Gerry Mulligan Quartet”. The inspiration for this group is magnificent work of Gerry Mulligan. 

Interview by Michael Limnios

What do you learn about yourself from the Jazz, what does the Jazz mean to you?

From an early age I've lucky enough to hear Jazz at home, attending concerts of quality and learn to love it and enjoy it. My father plays drums and is a great fan of this music, I have therefore done profited by discover with respect and always have at my fingertips this musical style. Starting from there has become for me an inexhaustible source of possibilities of making music. Freedom and improvisation that offers Jazz allows me to express myself fully, thus becoming a vital necessity for me.

How do you describe Ivan's's sound and progress, what characterize your music philosophy?

Actually at age 15 he was already playing live and tucked full and blow in the professional world of music. This reality, in contrast to the careers of most of the musicians, who first engaged in the study, carry out their careers and then when they are academically prepared to leave to the professional world, marks my sound and how to understand the music. I am a curious person by nature and when I discover something new in the music get me the creeps. Continuous learning for the pleasure of learning I consider a factor indispensable in my way of understanding music. And jazz, offers such range of hidden treasures to discover, that the dedication of a life is too short, but adequate and deserving of punishment, to enjoy a few.

From whom have you have learned the most secrets about the music? What is the best ever given you?

Of the musicians with whom I have shared it. Now, thanks to the internet, there is a lot of information about music, you can see a full concert being two thousand kilometers away, have your power thousands of music theory books or listen to almost any recorded disc. But I think that music is learned, making it, i.e. What is shared with a fellow musician in three trials and a recording or performance is live music at its purest. And so important is knowing what you need to do as much as what there is to do. I am very grateful to all the musicians that have shared music with me.

Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?

There have always been best and worst moments, actually I am not able to simplify at the best and worst time. Although within the less good moments I remember a season that I was playing in a boat, were about four months playing every day and at the end made me a bit long. The best time is coming.

"Jazz, offers such range of hidden treasures to discover, that the dedication of a life is too short, but adequate and deserving of punishment, to enjoy a few."

What's been their experience from the local Swing Jazz bands; which memory makes you smile?

I have lived in three places long enough to make music with local Jazz bands. They are Miranda de Ebro (my hometown), Madrid and since 2004 in Catalonia. The first jazz band was "Blue Transit" did many concerts in the area. In Madrid touch with different musicians there although noteworthy is a group that we are "Culebrijazz" that we are a good team. In Catalonia, I have been one of my most ambitious project "Tribute to Gerry Mulligan Quartet" that since the recording of the first album in 2006 until today has not stopped to offer concerts by both the zone and the rest of the country. Now this 2013 will be our second album just finished recording. Also in Catalonia I have recorded both with groups of Jazz venues such as "Boogaloo Stompers Sextet" or "Ahina byte" as other collaborations in songwriters, pop or blues.

An experience to remember it making me smile is the stage that I was working with local musicians in Catalonia in the theme park Port Aventura. We played in a dixieland band and they put us costumes so extravagant that it was sometimes impossible to touch by the laughter that produced us see us with that dress.

Are there any memories from your studies with Bob Sands, Bobby Martínez and Paquito de Rivera, which you’d like to share with us?

I remember nothing especially noteworthy at this time. In 1999 when I decided to move to Madrid from Miranda de Ebro, Bob and Bobby were the most popular in Spain Jazz saxophonists for what went to take classes from them a brief season, the master class with Paquito de Rivera remember the fun.

What's the best jam you ever played in? What are some of the most memorable gigs you've had?

The best groups I've played so far are with which they currently play: "Tribute to Gerry Mulligan Quartet", "Angie Rodríguez" and "Cornelius Trío". The most significant concert for me was one of the theatres in my hometown, Miranda de Ebro. We engaged the Quartet "Tribute to Gerry Mulligan Quartet" jazz of the city cycle and at that time ten years ago that he had left the city. It was like a reunion with friends and family, a concert with heavy emotional load that in addition, my father played with us the last song, did all that time not playing with him. Was a very special concert.

From the musical point of you what are the difference between the saxes and what makes it special the Baritone saxophone?

The most significant difference of the SAX soprano, alto, tenor and baritone is the tessitura. For me what makes him special to the baritone saxophone is that I recognize my voice. It is as when one testing shoes, if when you wear them you are attentive to the instant you know if these shoes are for you. I have played, especially at the beginning of my career, the other saxophones, but about ten years ago now that I only play baritone. Once I get another SAX and not recognize me, it feels like acid. I enjoy with the baritone sax even as the ugly duckling of the saxophones and few people specializing in this instrument I will have much to thank. Is a fascinating tool.

Do you know why the Jazz is connected to the avant-garde culture? What are the secrets of?

Because the truth is that you did not, or he thought about it while relating the meaning avant-garde who say that it is a military term that refers to the part most advanced Army (explorers), has much to do with jazz. Improvisation and the solos are the most representative of this style, and to build a single must be an exercise of exploration, risk go away, but not too much, to not lose sight of where you are coming. The construction of a single is the search for beauty and so need to try many things and quickly, since the time is going, is not a composition in which your have the time that you want to give, here you must surrender to the maximum in a short time. To improve as soloist must explore the inexplorable. It seems that these terms are too related.

"Because the truth is that you did not, or he thought about it while relating the meaning avant-garde who say that it is a military term that refers to the part most advanced Army (explorers), has much to do with jazz."

Some music styles can be fads but the Jazz is always with us. Why do you think that is? Give one wish for the Jazz

Because the truth is that I think that jazz is not fashionable as you raise the question. What it is (at least in Spain) is institutionalized, i.e., entering as a specialty in the colleges of music and I think this fact is completely contrary to "being fashionable". We can ask you to the classical music on this topic...

Desire for the passage of time defining some style, and Jazz that Jazz label to any improvised music is not in use.

When we talk about Jazz, we usually refer to memories and moments of the past. Apart from the old cats, do you believe in the existence of real Jazz nowadays?

Yes of course. Jazz is a musical language and as language the purpose of the expression of the human being. It is clear that to learn a language; you have to learn from the masters, it can happen in all disciplines. And then comes the expression i.e. use this communication channel to count things, share and cause sensations... We are sometimes so obsessed in evolving music that we forget to use it means enjoy it.

Ivan Saez - official website

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