Why don't young people like jazz?

Interview - «Jazz and Hip-Hop - it's the same thing»

«Jazz and Hip-Hop - it's the same thing»

Terrace Martin (39) wants to win the Afro-American community with his music.

Terrace Martin appears in the lobby of the Hotel Plaza Montreux. He is holding a stick with his smartphone in his hand. "I record everything, everything is important," he says and installs the smartphone on the table for the interview. "You take me in, I'll take you, okay?" What he hides: His community is also there online and makes comments during the interview.

You come from the hip-hop community and play jazz. What are you? Hip-hopper or jazz musician?

Terrace Martin: Neither nor. I am Terrace Martin. I am a musician who likes all forms of music. I can't be pigeonholed. I hate categories. I just want to make music, art that comes from God and from the ghetto, black art. I want to feed the people with it.

Didn't you start with jazz?

No, Run DMC, Public Enemy, Easy E, Ice Cube and Dr Dre were my heroes. This is the music of my youth, the music of my generation. I learned to love jazz through my parents and the jazz-rap troupe A Tribe Called Quest. My father then bought me a saxophone. I've heard everything from Death Row (the Dr Dre label) and Bad Boy (the Puff Daddy's label) to Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. All at once, all at the same time.

What is the difference between hip-hop and jazz for you?

I don't see any difference, everything comes from the same place. From the ghetto, from black areas, from black America. From the streets with all the pimps, swindlers, crooks and gangsters, you know what I'm talking about? We have it all: Dr Dre and Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Snoop Dogg. Saxophone, microphone and turntable. All the same, the same shit!

The essence of jazz is improvisation. Does hip-hop also improvise?

Of course, think of all the freestylers! Improvisation is everywhere. (loudly) It's the same man! Jazz and hip-hop - it's the same thing. Black music, man. You can't separate that.

Do young black Americans even know John Coltrane or Charlie Parker?

Of course we know them, of course we hear them. I'm African-American, my father introduced me to Coltrane and it's my job to get his word out there. The word of the ghetto. (slightly annoyed) Oh, man! (Pause) But go ahead, I like that.

Do the young Afro-Americans also listen to your music?

Yes, (speaks staccato) my people listen to my music.

Don't you think your music is a little too intellectual to appeal to a large number of African Americans?

No no no! She's not too intellectual for Afro-Americans, at most she's too intellectual for you white motherfuckers! I grew up with Snoop Dogg. What are you talking about? This is our music, why should it be too intellectual?

What does it mean to you to be black?

To be black is awesome, amazing, beautiful. You want to insult me? You can't do that.

You're from Los Angeles. What is special about the scene there?

It's a cultural melting pot. It's life in L.A. that inspires me. The people in the ghetto, my family, my homeboys, my friends in prison. L.A. is a wonderful place. But you have to pay attention. Don't shake the wrong hands or you will be killed.

One more question. Do you know European jazz?

European jazz? (Tilts to his smartphone and calls) What the fuck is european jazz? I've never heard that before. (Turns to Robert Glasper, who is also giving an interview next door) Do you know European jazz? (both burst out laughing). They piss me off all the time, but that's ok

One last question: do you know jazz from Switzerland?

I like Swiss Chocolat and the Swiss Alps, I like the Swiss and I like you. But Swiss Jazz?