蓝网专访 | 以“口琴”为“武器”的格莱美获得者Sugar Blue来华演出,神秘的东方国度是他新生

3 3 2017-10-24



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图片来源  : 2017.10.26北京Blue Note演出海报

采访 / 张晓松

翻译 / 张晓松

撰文 / sonoko


当我知道Sugar Blue来到中国,就像要迎接多年未见的老友一样激动,记得2014年刚来到蓝调口琴网的时候,我写了一篇关于他的文章,当时我说:


他表演的时候将口琴包像子弹包一样斜跨在胸前,若是换做别人,没有他的体格,没有他的肤色,没有这般感染力,这样的装束真会略显拙略。



2017年底他来到中国,即将在北京Blue Note、上海Chair Club做两场演出,这对于蓝调口琴的爱好者来说是一场不可多得的盛宴。


10.26 北京Blue Note 购票链接


10.28 上海Chair Club 购票链接



蓝调口琴网也非常荣幸与Sugar Blue做了一次Email专访:

先看一段中文问好


 Sugar Blue 采访 

采访者:张晓松


Q:在你职业生涯中,对你的口琴演奏影响最大的人有哪些?具体在什么方面?


A:我是一个很幸运的人,我曾经与很多擅长蓝调口琴的大师们同在一家唱片公司,我有足够的时间观察、聆听,甚至直接接受他们的指导。比如Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells, Sonny Terry, Louis Myers (他本来是以吉他手的身份与Little Walter 合作的,但是他的口琴演奏其实相当了得!) James Cotton (我与他的关系最为亲密,我的小儿子就是用他的名字来命名的) ,曾与我合作的Peg Leg Sam, 感谢与我长期合作的 Louisiana Red, Snooky Pryor 这是经由Willie Dixon大师介绍的 , George Smith, Jimmy Reed Bill Dicey, Billy Boy Arnold ……还有一些大师我没能有机会当面见到过,他们是Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson 1世和2世 , 我特别喜欢Sonny Boy 2世的演奏风格!
我完全被Jimmy Reed的演奏所震撼,他温暖的音色、流畅的演奏,以及在第一把位上简练而精确的句子,比如他在《Honest I Do》这首曲子中的口琴solo,精妙至极!Big Walter 和 Sonny Boy在第一把位上的演奏也非常棒,我了解你作为资深的蓝调口琴老师和推广者肯定知道我说的是他们的哪些作品。
      


Q:众所周知,你的蓝调口琴演奏与传统的演奏方式很不同,你拥有标志性的中高音的快速乐句,你从何时开始这样做的?是什么契机和原因导致你这么做的?


A:我在学习和演奏音乐的过程中,一直在尽力用自己的方式表达,而不是缺乏独创性的演奏。我向那些前辈大师们汲取了足够的传统养分,同时我也认识到一个乐手必须要有自己的个性才能为蓝调音乐这枚大炮加入新的火力,其他所有风格也都是一样的。



Q:你在口琴上与众不同的快速演奏方式肯定得到了很多听众的喝彩,是否也有人会对这种方式存在非议呢?如果有的话,你是怎么看这些非议的?


A:很多时候人们都只是注意到我演奏得快速,但这远不是我想表达的。在我的某些作品中的某些段落,我演奏的很精巧而不是速度。如果用心听我整个录音的话,你会发现我并不是一直快速的演奏,这是我的个人品味的选择。



Q:Blues作为一种伟大的音乐风格曾经盛极一时,在现在的美国blues音乐的现状如何?


A:在当代的美国,blues仍然流行。比如Michael Jackson 的冠军单曲 "The Way You Make Me Feel" 或者 Prince 的 “1999”,它们都是建立在blues风格基础上。当然这些作品都加入了一些创新和原创的元素,这点恰恰是当代很多玩儿blues的乐手所极度匮乏的。
我们听到的很多音乐来源于蓝调,爵士、雷鬼、放克,以及所有的所谓“英伦入侵,”(意指上个世纪六七十年代英国摇滚乐涌入美国,并引领美国音乐的潮流)披头士乐队、滚石乐队、齐柏林飞艇乐队、警察乐队等,还有朋克,流行、Motown、迪斯科……著名的蓝调诗人、蓝调大师Willie Dixon曾经说过:“蓝调是根,其余的都是果实!”



Q:作为blues音乐中标志性的音色,蓝调口琴广为传播,但是当代有越来越多的人开始在蓝调口琴上探索更多音乐风格的演奏,他们频繁使用超吹(over blow)等技巧,一方面蓝调口琴的表现力得到了拓展,另一方面似乎扭曲了蓝调口琴本来自然的音色,变得很刻意,你对此如何看的?


A:首先让我们讲over-blow技术,它不是什么新鲜事!Blues Bird Head 60多年前就已经开发和掌握了这个技巧。技术只是一种表达音乐的工具,没有它你无法沟通!技术不是你演奏的内容,它只是让你的演奏符合某个套用的爵士理论的工具……技术并不是所有在我看来,比如鲍勃·迪伦的并不是一个技术型的乐手,但他用他的乐器演奏出的音乐完美地传达他的意思和感觉。


Q:从你的众多专辑中可以听到,你的作品既有较为传统的blues,也有很多创新的东西,不仅如此,在Funk、Rock等其他各种风格中你都会有很多自己的创新,对于传统音乐和创新元素的音乐你是如何看待这两者的?


A:传统蓝调正如我之前所说的,是我们今天听到很多音乐的根源,因此我深入研究们的各个方面,对于传统蓝调和其他的派生风格我都很享受演奏他们。我认为你知道之前发生了什么,你越能理解和享受后面的!



Q:Blues在中国逐渐的发展起来了,有更多的乐手爱上了演奏blues,你对他们有什么忠告和建议吗?


A:在很多年前Willie Dixon说过一句话:“蓝调音乐是生活的真相。”这句话放到当下也是适用的,因为它讲述的是每天生活的考验和磨难、爱、笑、哭、成功、失败、挣扎,那些你得到的东西和试图得到的东西。
这些事实是普遍存在的,这就是为什么蓝调音乐可以触碰那些不同国家种族人们的心和灵魂。
对中国爱好者的建议?

我想是:用心、灵魂、思想,去聆听那些先驱、大师、乐手,然后跟着感觉去演奏。



Q:我在十年前建立了中国第一个蓝调口琴教学推广网站www.tenholes.com,经过十年的时间越来越多的人通过这个网站了解、学会了演奏蓝调口琴,并且爱上了blues音乐,对于正在学习蓝调口琴演奏的他们,请你谈一些忠告吧。


A:演奏无论是蓝调还是蓝调的派生风格,这本身就是学习它们的一个过程,一定要保持练习。玩儿它、并喜欢上它、与每个人分享你找到的快乐,无论何处,每一天! !



Q:听说你会在中国比较长久的呆下去,甚至把中国作为一个新的开始,是什么原因让你想要来中国发展的?


A:我来到中国希望能分享我对于蓝调音乐的爱与激情,并且我一直对中国文化着迷,它为世界贡献了那么多,在很多领域:科学、哲学、艺术、烹饪,最重要的是没有笙就没有口琴! !

原文:
Interview on Sugar Blue

1. Are there any people, who have influenced you most on your harmonica playing in your career life. Who are they and in which aspects?


I've been fortunate enough to have been able to have spent significant time in the company of many great masters of the instrument, watching, listening and even being mentored by artists such as Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells, Sonny Terry, Louis Myers (whose fame is primarily for his guitar work and association with Little Walter however he was an incredible harp player as well) James Cotton (who I was particularly close with and named my little boy after him) Peg Leg Sam, whom I met and worked with thanks to my long association with Louisiana Red, Snooky Pryor who Maestro Willie Dixon introduced me to, George Smith, Jimmy Reed Bill Dicey, Billy Boy Arnold and the great men that I didn't have the opportunity to meet like Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson 1 and 2 , I especially like Sonny Boy 2's style!

Aspects... I was blown away by Jimmy Reed's fluidity, warmth of tone and sparse but tasteful precision in first position, one example, the solo in Honest I Do. Brilliant!
Big Walter and Sonny Boy were amazing in first as well!! I could give names of tunes but since you're all students of the Masters you know what I'm talking about !

2. As we all know, your blues harmonica playing method is different from the traditional way of playing. You have your own symbolic  quick licks. Since when have you started to do this? What was the turning point for your decision? And why did you decided to do this?/What caused you to do this?


I have tried to approach the music in my own way as much as possible and to avoid derivative playing, as much as I love and have learned from the progenitors, I also learned that one must be one-self if you want to truly add something to the Blues canon, but the same is true in any genre I believe.

3. You must have gained a lot of cheers from audiences because of your distinctive way of fast playing. Have you ever gotten any criticism about your approach? If yes, how do you think of those criticisms?


Many times I've heard people speak of velocity when speaking of my work, but that is far from the point of what I'm trying to do. 


Some passages in certain songs I've written call for dexterity, not speed. If you listen to the whole of my recorded output you'll see that I use it sparingly and not as the be all and end all, taste is my preference.

4. As a great musical style, blues was once prevailing. How about the current condition of blues in US now?


The Blues is still prevalent and relevant today as an Instance take Michael Jackson's monster hit "The Way You Make Me Feel" or Prince's "1999", both straight ahead Blues but with originality and creativity which is sorely lacking in many of those that want to play the Blues these days. 


Much of the music we listen to is derived from the Blues, Jazz, Reggae, Funk, all of the  British invasion stuff, The Beatles, The stones, Led Zeppelin, the police, Country and Western, punk, pop, Motown, Disco... 


We could go on but let's quote the Poet Laureate of The Blues, Mr. Willie Dixon, who famously said:"The Blues are the Roots, the rest are the fruits!"

5. Blues harp spreads widely because of its symbolic timbre in the blues music. But nowadays there are more and more people, who begin to explore the diversity of blues harp and try to play it with different kinds of musical style. They use some techniques frequently, such as, over blow. On the one hand, the expressiveness of blues harmonica has been expanded. On the other hand, the original timbre of blues harp seems to be twisted. And the performance seems to be deliberate. What’s your opinion about this?


First let's speak of the over-blow technique, it is nothing new! Blues Bird Head developed and mastered that more than 60 years ago. Technique is just a way to have a musical conversation, without it you can't communicate! 


It ain't what you play, it's the way that you play it to paraphrase a well known Jazz composition...
 Technique isn't  all in my opinion: for instance Bob Dylan isn't a technical player but the things that he does with the instrument compliments his music perfectly and communicates his meaning and feeling.
 
6. From your albums we can find that there’re traditional blues in your works, and there’re also many innovative things/factors. Moreover, you also have creative things in other musical style, for example, in Funk or Rock music. What’s your opinion about these two kinds of things, traditional music and the music with creative factors?


Traditional Blues as I have asserted before is the root of much that we listen to today and so therefore I delve into its many facets enjoying the new and the old equally. I think the more you know of what came before, the more you can understand and enjoy what comes after!

7. Blues is developing gradually in China. More and more musicians fall in love with blues. Do you have any advice to them?


"Blues are the facts of life" Willie Dixon said it many years ago and it's true to this day because it speaks of the trials and tribulations of day to day living. Loving, laughing, working, crying, succeeding, failing, struggling, juggling what you've got or haven't got to try and get what you need. 


These realities are universal and that's why the Blues touches the heart and soul of people around the world in every language and country.
Advice for my fellow Blues players in China?
Listen to the progenitors, the great masters, writers, singers and players with all of your heart, mind and soul then play with feeling!

8. Ten years ago, I have established the first blues harp teaching and promoting website www.tenholes.com. More and more people know the knowledge of blues harmonica from this website. They learned how to play the harp through this website and fell in love with blues music. For those, who are in the process of learning, could you say something to them and give them some advise?

Playing music be it the Blues or any of its derivatives is a process of learning that should continue for as long as you play.
Live it, love it and share the joy you find in it with everyone, everywhere, every day!!

9. I’ve heard that you’re planning to stay in China for a long time, even consider China as a new beginning. What makes you want to come to China?

I live to share my love and passion for this music and I've always been fascinated by Chinese culture, it has given the world so much in science, philosophy, artistry, culinary and after all without the Sheng there would be no harmonica!!



10.26 北京Blue Note 购票链接


10.28 上海Chair Club 购票链接



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他是当代布鲁斯音乐中流砥柱的口琴手

原名James Whiting,他说Sugar Blue这个名字来源于一次他在路边捡到的一个写着“sugar blues by Sidney Bechet”黑胶唱片。(Sidney Bechet是一位高音萨克斯风的先驱者)



1949年12月16日出生于美国纽约市哈莱姆区,美国著名口琴手、歌手和作曲人,葛莱美大奖获奖人。


他的母亲是一位舞蹈员,从小就跟随在母亲身边的他从小就具有不俗的音乐背景和天赋。


少年时代,他的阿姨送了他一把口琴,令他欣喜非常。皆因他小时候就在电台听了许多Steve Wonder和Bob Dylan等人的音乐,已令他对口琴有着浓厚的兴趣。很快的,他接触到了爵士音乐和蓝调音乐,这也让他的音乐,集百家之长。


成年后,他先是街头艺人,但很快被赏识,1975年,他首次进入录音室,就已是为蓝调大咖Brownie McGhee伴奏。尔后,他备受关注,陆续为Memphis Slim、Victoria Spivey、Johnny Shines等巨星伴奏。


Sugar 在法国演出时,被滚石乐队相中,邀入录音室录音,这一举让他声名大噪,名声传遍欧洲。80年代初,Sugar Blues感觉自己需要更加进步,毅然放弃自己在欧洲的成就,返回美国,开始在一众口琴大师如Big Walter Horton , Carey Bell , James Cotton和Junior Well身边吹奏口琴,同时向这些大师讨教,增进自己的口琴技艺。Willie Dixon也很赏识这位青年,开始为他写歌作曲。


1985年,Sugar Blue凭着自己的一曲“Another Man Done Gone”荣获格莱美大奖。此后,Sugar Blue陆续与Muddy Waters, B.B. King,Fats Domino, Ray Charles,Jerry Lee Lewis等大音乐家合作。

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