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October 1, 2008

Charles Lazarus: Split personality: 3 Minute Egg 1

This was my introduction to 3 Minute Egg. (For the people who made the website: there is no "about" page). So as I understand it - the concept is to introduce short three minute segments of the art scene, interview style. A great idea. So without further delay, about the actual presentation... Charles Lazarus, what an interesting name. A classical trumpet player venturing into jazz is always an interesting journey. Many people get lost, some people never find what that transition is, it is a very difficult thing for a classical musician to all of a sudden open up completely and let the feelings dictate the music. Classical music is almost always an interpretation, and there is an incredible art to interpreting, it is an improvisation in itself. However there is a very profound foundation upon which that interpretation takes place. You have the notes which have been composed, structured, phrased and connected together to make a coherent idea, all this done by the mastermind, the composer. Jazz, too, comes to a certain extent from a place. It has a foundation in theory, one that is living within you when you play. But jazz is also tradition, given birth in New Orleans from a very interesting mixture of people and culture, events and worldviews. And this tradition has lived a turbulent life. So many people have taken jazz in their own direction. For Armstrong it was something, for Jelly Roll Morton another, people like Coleman and Coltrane, Parker and Miles, Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis all took jazz in their own direction. They lived it. For a classically trained musician who has been constricted the process of creating life is different. The genius composers are the ones who feel so much pressure from all the formats and traditions and modern thought of composition that they break it all and establish their own now, their own vision. It happens rarely, a lot of people play beautifully but not many journey into your mind and stir up new discoveries. It sounds like Lazarus is enjoying experimenting with these two different styles, a healthy approach to music, I would be interested in hearing him in ten years.