Our guest in today's Arts is young Czech jazz guitarist David Doruzka. Born in 1980, David started performing regularly at the age of fourteen. Ten years ago he received the "Best Talent of the Year" award from the Czech Jazz Society and in the following years he performed with leading musicians on the Czech jazz scene. In 1999 David Doruzka went to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music. Last June he recorded his first CD, called "Hidden Paths" in the United States. It was officially released here in the Czech Republic on Tuesday. When David Doruzka came into our studio, I first asked him whether he'd always wanted to be a musician.
"Yes, I guess ever since I started playing the guitar at the age of ten, music was, I guess, the most important thing for me to do but there wasn't any one point where I would make a decision to be a musician. It was just somehow very natural."
How did you get to study in the United States? Was it difficult to get a scholarship?
"Well, the way it happened was that in 1997 Berklee College of Music did a kind of workshop for a week in Frydlant, North Bohemia, and this was something that Berklee does all over the world. But it was the only occasion they did it in the Czech Republic. So I went to this workshop and at the end they were awarding several scholarships and I was fortunate enough to receive one of them."
What attracted you to jazz music? I would expect somebody your age to be playing rock music, for example...
"Well, one reason, I think, was because my grandfather is a much respected jazz critic and journalist, so I heard some of that music from him. Then probably the most important thing for me was the way jazz music is open, you know, very loose, in a way, musically. That's a quality that you don't find in other styles of music as much. And improvisation is definitely the most important factor in that; the possibility to react at any moment to the actual environment and mood and feeling."
So you've never been tempted to play in a rock band?
"Maybe, I've been tempted... Actually, before I became interested in jazz I mostly listened to rock music and blues. I would never limit myself just to listening to one particular style of music."
You've spent a long time in the United States. Have you been in touch with Czech music, I mean, Czech jazz music, for example?
"Well, I still play with my trio over here, my Czech trio, my long-term musical partners, Jaromir Honzak on bass and Jiri Slavicek on drums. And I'm still all the time in touch with the music scene here."
Now, let's get to your new CD, called "Hidden Paths". Why "Hidden Paths"?
"Well, the title actually has no particular meaning. How I came up with the title was when the whole CD was finished and we just finished the cover, I was looking at the cover and the picture of a stairway in winter. So that's how I came up with the title."
Most of the tunes on the CD were composed by you, a number of songs were written by such people as John Coltrane or Thelonious Monk, and there is even a cover of a song by Björk. Why did you make this choice of tunes?
"Well, because in all the cases they were songs that I really liked as a listener. And with the Monk and Coltrane tunes, these are tunes that belong to the standard jazz repertoire, in a way. So I just wanted to do my own version of them, something different than how I heard other people play these songs. With the Björk song - I have always admired all of Björk's music because I think she is someone really special on what you could call the pop-music scene. I was particularly taken by this song which originally appeared in the Lars von Trier movie "Dancer in the Dark" and I just wanted to play the song in my own way but still keep the original mood and the original meaning of the song."
Are you planning any concerts here in the Czech Republic?
"Yes, actually the CD release party for Hidden Paths, in Svandovo divadlo, was also the first concert of a tour that I'm doing with my trio. This tour is going to be all over the Czech Republic and it's going to last until the end of April. So we have some more concerts in Prague and some concerts at several festivals throughout the country, in Brno, Sumperk and Trutnov, and then a lot of club playings in small clubs in different towns."
Who are the other two people in your trio?
"So this Czech tour is going to be with my Czech trio, that's Jaromir Honzak on bass and Jiri Slavicek on drums."
But the CD was recorded by different people...
"The CD was recorded in New York last year in June and the musicians on that are my friends who I met while studying at Berklee College of Music. All of us were studying there at the same time. And it's Massimo Biolcati on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums. Kendrick is from Texas and Massimo is half Swedish and half Italian."
Do you have any interesting plans for the future?
"Well, there is quite a lot of playing now for me in the next few months here and then I want to start working on my next project. I have several ideas, several people who I would like to work with who are actually from different countries in Europe and I want to take some time to write new music..."
You can find the details on David Doruzka's new CD "Hidden Paths" at www.praguejazz.cz
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