Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bjarne Roupe 13 Questions

Bjarne Roupé (1952, Stockholm) is a Swedish guitarist actually living in Denmark.
Roupé appeared in the fusion group EGBA in Stockholm, which also included pianist Lars Jansson and percussionist Ahmadu Jarr, and then moved to Copenhagen in 1979, where he is now based. He formed the group Alpha Centauri including Palle Mikkelborg and Jørgen Emborg and take part in Jan Kasper's Quartet.

From 1985 he was part of the Danish Radio Big Band. He has performed and recorded with his own bands, his own trio with Bo Stief and Alex Riel and with a multitude of international musicians and groups: Palle Mikkelborg group Entrance, Six Winds with Marilyn Mazur, Eddie Harris, Dizzy Gillespie, Bob Brookmeyer, Jimmy Smith, Toots Thielemans, Hermeto Pascoal, Clark Terry, Van Morrison, Georgie Fame, Johnny Griffin, Art Farmer, Alex Riel, Thomas Clausen, Bo Stief, Uffe Markussen,  Kim Kristensen and many others. In 1984 he played on the recording of AURA with Miles Davis (video).


He has been guitar soloists in Michael Mantler's Chamber Music and Songs Ensemble and participated in the “Cerco Un Paese Innocente” and “School of Understanding” recordings and performances, followed by appearances on the “Songs and One Symphony” and “Hide and Seek” albums. His latest collaboration with Mantler include the "Guitar Concerto" during its premiere performance at the Berlin JazzFest 2007, subsequently released on Mantler's ECM recording “Concertos”, “Duets”(2011) with Per Salo and the last ongoing project “The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra Update” (2014).

Roupé is currently professor of guitar at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory and freelancer still as guitarist, plays include in saxophonist Ed Epstein quartet Reds.

What do you remember about your first guitar?

I remember that it didn’t sound right, and it didn’t play right;

- sold it and bought the best guitar possible at the time, a Gibson L5CES, wonderful guitar, so I knew that if something didn’t sound right it was probably me doing something wrong.

Thomas Agergaard Sax, Thomas Fonnesbæk Bass, Lisbeth Diers Drums, Bjarne Roupe Gt. UNICORN Jazz House 14.10.2013 Denmark, Vid Nanja Pontoppidan

Which was the first and the last record you bought with your own money?

Ray Charles / Hit the Road, Jack - when I was 7
Alain Apaloo / Nunya - yesterday

Mona Larsen, vocal, Bjarne Roupé, guitar, Michael Mantler, trumpet and composition.

What do you expect from music?

I hope for the unexpected.

Which work of your own are you most surprised by, and why?

A song I wrote in the 70’s as a children’s song, I later named it “Third Kind” and recorded it with Palle Mikkelborg on the LP/CD “20:33” w/Alpha Centauri - the song changed into something else in the process, very unexpected and very fulfilling..

Jørgen Emborg, Bjarne Roupé, Bo Stief, Ole Theill, Palle Mikkelborg 1980 Stunt Records

What's the relevance of listening in music, in your opinion?

If you don’t listen in music, there’s little room for interplay, and the music might get completely lost, static, without direction at best
- if you’re improvising and don’t listen, it’s a waste of time..

Learning how to listen ahead is vital, - the future is not mere silence waiting to be filled with any old sound... The relevance of listening to music is something else...

Live in 1985, Jimmy Smith - Hammond B3, Bjarne Roupe - guitar, Richard Boone - trombone, Ed Thigpen - drums

What is your relationship with the musical past?

A great river of music and emotions, the past, the present & the future - all the same.

What’s the difference between a good instrument and a bad one?

Bad guitars make you struggle and fight; a really good guitar disappears and becomes a part of you, so there’s nothing between you and the music; you can follow your heart, go places.

Depict the sound you're still looking for.

Singing, searching, discovering, storytelling.

How would you define silence?

Silence in music is where the active listener/musician willingly/unwillingly and knowingly/unknowingly fills the void with his/her own sounds/melodies/harmonies/imagination, or chooses not to...

There’s also a sort of silence/gravity pull in music
- sometimes all over the place
very clear when you know what to listen for
- especially in harmonies and tonalities;
also in rhythms and in meters
- even in seemingly empty spaces,
in-between adjacent sounds, as well as inside flows of ideas;
this often generates strong dynamics,
like steppingstones in a stream...

What special, personal or extrange techniques do you use?

...secret stuff...

What's your best musical experience?

Recording “Aura” with Miles Davis
- playing with George Russell
- playing with Eddie Harris
- playing with Jimmy Smith
+ several projects with Michael Mantler
- most notably “Duets”, “Concerts” and ongoing project “The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra Update”.

Can you describe a sound experience that you believe contributed to your becoming a musician?

Cannonball Adderley’s alto saxophone two feet away when I was 17.

What do you recall about your playing learning process?

Not much, apart from the fact I never had a teacher.

Where are your roots? What are your secret influences?

Rio de Janeiro in the 50’s and Stockholm in the 60’s - my childhood
+ ’70’s hippies/music scene in Sweden and Denmark.

What would you enjoy most in an art work?

The idea, the expression more than the manner/technique the artist chose/found to develop it, but often these things are inseparable, same as in music, I like that a lot.

Mariane Bitran, flute -Jesper Sveidahl, trumpet - S.S.H., alto & soprano-saxophones - Fredrik Lundin, tenor-saxophone - Henril Sveidahl, barytone saxophone, Bjarne Roupe, guitar- Poul Reimann, piano- Marc Davis, bass- Anders Mogensen, drums- Jacob Andersen, percussion

If you could, what would you say to yourself 30 years ago, about your musical career?

“Quit teaching!..”

Fabrizio Mandolini: sax • Bjarne Roupé: guitar • Paolo Russo: piano • Palle Danielsson: double bass • Andrea Marcelli: drums

What quality do you most empatize with in another musician?

A free mind and a free spirit.

Which living or dead artist would you like to collaborate with?

Jan Johansson.

What is some valuable advice that someone has given to you in the past?

"Play what you hear" - George Russell.

What instruments and tools do you use?

Gibson LP Custom ’72, Gibson L-50 ’47, PRS Custom 22 ’00, Campbell Precix, several Strat’s, Ramirez 1a ’86, several acoustic guitars, Fender Deluxe & Reverb, some tube preamps + stomp boxes...

What do you like the most about being a musician?

The freedom & the music.

What projects are you working on now and what does the future hold?

I’m doing a new record, hopefully this year…
..playing with several small groups in and around Copenhagen/Denmark/Sweden
with some favourite musicians... also there’s Michael Mantler’s “The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra Update
- we’re visiting a handful of festivals in Europe this year - Moers, Lisboa, Frankfurt, Vienna...

Selected Discography

2014 The Jazz Composer's Orchestra Update Michael Mantler

2014 Kom liljor och akvileja: Sånger från Gotland Kristina Stobæus

2013 Light & Dark Bjarne Roupé

2013 Red Python Ole Matthiessen

2012 Sign of Four Reds
Bjarne Roupé, Ed Epstein, Dennis Drud & Göran Schelin

2011 For Two Michael Mantler

2011 Kind of Cuban Yulieski Gonzalez

2008 Concertos Michael Mantler

2006 Review Michael Mantler

2004 La Spiga Fabrizio Mandolini

2001 Hide and Seek Michael Mantler

2001 South of Nowhere Simon Spang-Hanssen & Central Earth

2000 Songs and One Symphony Michael Mantler

1997 The School of Understanding Michael Mantler

1995 Songs from Afar Anne Kierulff

1995 Cerco un Paese Innocente Michael Mantler
1993 Chasing Dreams Bo Stief

1992 Havblik Ocean Fables

1990 Passion Play Bjarne Roupé

1990 Aner Kim Kristensen ‎Marilyn Mazur

1988 Crackdown DRBB
1987 Hidden Frontiers Bo Stief

1985 Aura Miles Davis

1984 MM4 Mazur Markussen Quartet

1983 Entrance Palle Mikkelborg

1981 Spring Quintett ‎– Spring Quintett

1980 20:33 Alpha Centauri

1978 Amigos Latinos EGBA

1977 Live at Montmartre EGBA

1976 Jungle Jam EGBA