Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Two Questions: Late Winter Edition

Jake Herzog is a daring young guitarist who has managed to blur the line that separates jazz and rock, using the best aspects of each style to create a fresh approach to improvisation. I had the privilege of hearing him live recently in a trio with bassist Harvie S and drummer Victor Jones. The musical interplay among the three of them was fluid and exciting, a true union of heavy metal with straight-ahead.

As a result of this audacious breaking down of the barriers one would normally expect when different genres merge, I was very enthusiastic about getting Jake to participate in my "two questions" interview. So here it is folks!

1. Why did you decide on a career in music?

I think music chose me. If I asked myself, what could I live without, well, I could live without literature, history, or mathematics. I could survive just fine not studying physics, biology, chemistry. But I couldn't keep the small bit of sanity I have left without music. So when it came time to go to college and move on from just being a high school student, music was the only thing I wanted to do.

2. What is it about jazz that made you decide to focus on that type of music?

The spirit of jazz, to me, has always been complete freedom and creativity, that's what improvised music is all about. So, in a phrase, I decided to focus on jazz because, of all the musics (I'm a singer songwriter as well), jazz and improvised music has the most freedom. I love the thrill of unpredictability, chaos and, and when the performer doesn't know more about what will happen next then the audience does. That said, this spirit of jazz is not confined to one language, like bebop, or fusion, or modern jazz. It's in all of them and far beyond. So my whole thing with the rock influence, to me, is that's the next place to go. We had jazz in the 70s that was influenced by the rock bands at the time, so why should jazz today not be influenced by every other style of music. The way I see it, you leave style and language behind and just focus on being creative and moving people with improvisation. The rest doesn't matter. I think if you can do that, Charlie Parker would be proud.

To get a better idea of Jake Hertzog in action, go to his You Tube channel:

For even more information about Jake's music, check out his website at

1 comment:

  1. A truly amazing guitarist.. performer... and all around musician! Thanks for sharing!