Interview (English) - Jordan Officer

Publié le par Alexandre F.

Interview (English) - Jordan Officer

Jordan Officer is a Canadian musician, born in Montréal in 1976. Thanks to numerous collaborations with musicians from different universes - from jazz to blues, through country and rock - Jordan Officer has built up his own universe. As part of the Susi Aurioli Band (he had formed with the singer of the same name) he had the opportunity to perform as first part of Ray Charles. In 2010, he set out on a solo carreer and it paid off : his first record received the Prize Album Of The Year / Jazz Creation from the Quebec Music Industry Association.
In July 2013, Jordan Officer decides to come back to the style he likes most : the blues. He records "I'm Free", his second album in New-York
Learn more about Jordan Officer, his work and his relation to music in the interview he recently gave us.

Blues&Folk: When listening to your album, a subtle influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan and others great guitarists can be heard. When playing, what are your main influences ?

Jordan Officer: Many artists – and not only guitarists – have influenced me over the years. Concerning my guitar playing, I have been very touched by T-Bone Walker and Charlie Christian. My guitar playing has always been halfway between jazz and blues. T-Bone Walker is a guitarist and blues singer who showed me how the blues could be tinged with jazzy sounds and jazzy way of playing. And the Charlie Christian's way of playing came to me : he was a jazz guitarist but with a blues approach, with a very strong rythm that is typical in blues.

B&F: From the very first song, you herald the blues tone of the album. But can you explain why you got back to blues after playing so many different styles ?

J.O: Blues has always been at the heart of how I express myself in music (whatever the style), it was the first style I was passionate about. When I lived in New York, I quickly realised that, to distinguish myself in this town, crowded with talented and high-level musicians, the only way was to truly be myself. That led me to adopt a more personal style, and I also got back to blues. I really feel myself in blues, and all the other styles I love can easily be found in the blues - I really like that too.

B&F: How did you work for this last album, both for composing and writing ?

J.O: The whole thing was about living in the moment. Finding myself in situations like - for example - being in a studio like the Sear Sound in New York with a musician like Charley Drayton -- you know you're living something special. Plus, we recorded the songs in live, all in the same room with the chorus... and all that made all these moments magic. You can feel it on the album.

B&F: Why did you choose such an evocative title for the song of the eponymous album ?

J.O: At first, there was the song « I'm free » and I thought it could be a good title for the album. But above all, I realised it was a good title to talk about my experience in New York. That was the first time I left Montreal, and this removal made me loose my attachments, my expectations and my habits. So when I went on stage, the audience didn't know me and I felt really free to be someone new or truly be myself because people had no preconception. That's what «I'm free» meant too.

B&F: What is your greatest music memory ?

J.O: One that striked me a lot was when I went backstage during a Ray Charles show. I could hear him so closely. Ray Charles has never used monitor loudspeakers on stage (loudspeakers that is turned towards the musician so that he can hear himself) in his entire career. What I could hear was very smooth : his natural and unplugged voice, and the unplugged orchestra. As I was backstage, I couldn't really hear the sound effects, it was really him that I could hear and that was completely different from what we are used to hear on stage. That was destabilizing and beautiful.

B&F: What is next, both short-term and in the long run ?

J.O: For both I wish to keep on evolving, growing, taking risks, and being uprooted again, as often as possible.

B&F: Currently, what are you listening to ?

J.O: Currently, I'm rediscovering Skip James whom I love. And other soul singers such as Donny Hathaway and Al Green.

B&F: I'm free was acclaimed by critics. And you recently performed at the sold-out Festival International de Montréal. What do you feel when hard work is finally rewarded ?

This album was a challenge for me, musically, financially, personally.... I had faith and the experience was rich and magic. To see that it is appreciated, well-sold and that people like it, it really feels good, it's a really good news.

B&F: Who is the artist you would dream of playing with ?

J.O: I have a strong link with drums, and that's the reason why my last album is mainly based on a first collaboration with Charley Drayton and a second one with Tony Mason. They are two drummers that I like very much. I've know them during my stay in New York. So I would love to work with some others that I admire a lot : Brian Blade, Steve Jordan, or Bill Stewart for instance.

B&F: We are used to finish our chronicles with a quote. What is your favourite one ?

J.O: I don't know the author, but I recently found this quote : 'The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results'. I sometimes think about this, as applied to my way of playing, my development in general, and for my writing too. Indeed, if you hope to evolve or find new ideas, maybe you can't find anything new if you keep on searching in the same place.

Traduction et relecture par Marilou C. et Lucile D.


  • Artist(s): Jordan Officer
  • Album: I'm Free
  • Record label: Spectra Musique
  • Format: CD
  • Year: 2014
  • Artist(s): Jordan Officer
  • Album: Jordan Officer
  • Record label: Spectra Musique
  • Format: CD
  • Year: 2010

Website of Jordan Officer:

Publié dans interview(english), Blues

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