Q&A: Jaap Blonk

CS: What has been inspiring you lately?

JB: Mostly landscapes, either on hikes or on bicycle trips.

CS: Favorite musicians, artists, thinkers and why (current or general)?

JB: Current favorite composer: the German Enno Poppe. Combining rigorous systems with a great sense of organic coherence and growth. Using sounds and instruments not often heard in contemporary composed music, to good effect.

Favorite artist of all time: Paul Klee, for precision and unlimited imagination, giving me a wonderful incentive for drawing.

Thinker I will be reading until I die, hoping I will gradually understand more of his intractable work: Alain Badiou (regular brain crunching makes you live longer).

CS: Favorite films, books, etc. and why (current or general)

JB: Reading the novels of Thomas Bernhard (in German). Finished the first three. Strangely, the monomaniacal drive of his long sentences sometimes confers to me a similar feeling as high-energy improvised music.

Always coming back to Saul Bellow. Wise and very moving. Recently read “Mr Sammler’s Planet” and “Ravelstein”, reread “Herzog”.

I rarely go to the cinema or watch films at home. Last year I got a DVD set of the last season of “Twin Peaks“, which I watched during recovery from surgery. Great work, I tremendously enjoyed that.

CS: Favorite record no one else has listened to?

JB: Well, how can I know? At least, I think very few people in the Western world have listened to “Korowód” by the Polish singer Marek Grechuta. I bought this LP in Poland in 1972. My favorite song on it was “Ocalić od zapomnienia” (“Save from Oblivion”).

CS: Best thing you’ve seen on Youtube (recently)?

CS: Dream trio/quartet/quintet with historical figures?

JB: Lately I am more into the duo format. Duets with Sunny Murray, Charles Mingus or with Cecil Taylor could have been great!

CS: Last performance you saw that expanded the way you think about your own work?

JB: For decades already, I have been getting the best new ideas for my own work while attending concerts that bored me… I’d rather not mention any in particular.

CS: Record you most wish you had played on?

JB: Could be Derek Bailey’s “Ballads” album. I think I would have found a way to scramble the texts and melodies of the standards that might have made a good combination.

CS: Recording people would be most surprised you listen to?

JB: Sometimes I really need Karen Dalton’s “It’s So Hard to Tell Who’s Going to Love You the Best“. But who doesn’t?