We recently interviewed Tizer to find out what inspired him to perform jazz and how the band's tour has gone so far.
The Pitch: What's your band's brand of fusion? What sounds do you enjoy using most?
Tizer: We call this music world fusion. That title encapsulates many flavors and influences. From funk to jazz to world to Latin to jam and even some classical-esque moments. I mostly use acoustic piano and vintage electric piano patches (Rhodes, Wurlitzer, etc). Some very lights pads and little bit of strings in some sections.
I hear lots of different interpretations on what's considered contemporary jazz. What's your definition?
I probably lean towards the widest and most open definition. I generally like the audience to have an open mind, so the less they prejudge what we're doing the better. Generally I think of contemporary jazz as a style that is comprised of more contemporary compositional styles and influences mixed with the improvisational freedom that is "jazz." It can include many flavors, but generally those are the guidelines I see.
I read that you became interested at the age of 5. What was it, back then, that drew you to creating/playing music?
I've been playing for 24 years now. I originally was attracted to piano when my parents got one for my sister when I was 5. I didn't know anything about or how to play it then, but I was fascinated by it and used to just mess around on it for hours sometimes. My parents finally got me lessons when I was 9, and I suppose the rest is history! As for the trio playing tonight, we've been working together for a couple of years, but we play a lot, so sometimes it feels like it's been longer than that. Great musicians and a really fun outfit to play with and hang with on the road!
What inspired you to create jazz? Was it a particular instrument? Artist?
I think it was the natural slant for me to take, being someone that has always improvised and composed. As I matured in music, I was drawn in that direction. I wouldn't say any one artist in particular drew me that way, just the combination of the two things I enjoy most in music. Also, being that I'm not a singer, it's a pretty natural place to be. I also love writing diverse music and drawing on different flavors, and that freedom is the deepest essence of what is jazz to me.
What will your upcoming album be like? Any new sounds, guest artists?
It's going to be a continuation of the path we're on now in the past year or so. Really adventuring into great writing and fiery playing. It will have strong melodies and includes many of the influences referenced above. We'll definitely have all 10 musicians that make up the general roster that is TIZER, including Chieli Minucci (Special EFX) and Karen Briggs (Yanni) and maybe some other surprises, too. The record is still in its conceptual development right now. We have about seven songs that are close to finished, and I have many more ideas to bring in. We'll choose the best 10 and try and capture the best elements of the group, our energy and synergy combined with great songs and memorable melodies.
I know you guys have been touring for a long time and will into 2012. What's been the most interesting date, tour experience yet? Anything upcoming you're looking forward to?
Wow, that's a tough one! Many to choose from. We've had some interesting experiences, from the very fun to the very rough! I'd have to say all of the international festivals we've done so far have been equally cool and enjoyable. I love to visit new places, meet the people, experience the culture, etc. I know there's many more to come, and that's definitely something to look forward to!
Lao Tizer Trio will play as part the Zona Rosa Jazz Series (8640 North Dixson) tonight, Thursday, July 21, at 7 p.m.