After a successful opening night of the Made in Prague series at the Spice of Life last night, Ladislav Plimpfl, Director of the Czech Centre in London, talks to guitarist Libor Šmoldas about his influences, the UK, his upcoming show (20:00, Nov 22nd at Spice of Life) and his new albums.
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Ladislav Pflimpfl: Libor, what inspired you initially?
Libor Šmoldas: I started out as a kid playing recorder and trumpet. I hated it, mostly because I was pushed to practice and because I never really liked the music they made me play. After I was kicked out of music the school (it’s true!) I picked up guitar myself and started to play just for fun. Later, I got into listening to Muddy Waters and Charlie Parker, and eventually tried to reproduce this kind of music on guitar.
LP: What would be your dream band to play with?
LS: I really like American guitarist Peter Bernstein. I could use guys like Larry Goldings, Charlie Haden and Brian Blade as a rhythm section for a night or two…
LP: What do jazz and London mean to you – do you follow the UK jazz scene?
LŠ: London makes me think of the clubs: Ronnie Scott’s and Pizza Express. It makes me think of musicians that I like to listen to – guitarist Jim Mullen, organist Mike Carr and his record Good Times and the Blues. Also some great musicians based in London that I am lucky to play with – drummer Stephen Keogh, tenor player Osian Roberts, the Fishwick brothers. I met wonderful group of musicians from London this summer during the Global Music Foundation courses: Francesco Petreni, Arnie Somogyi, Eddie Hick, Duncan Hopkins. I am excited to come to London and get to know some more of its scene that I am sure is brilliant.
LP: Why did you produce your last recording in the US and what’s next?
LS: My Czech Quartet and I were on tour on the east coast of the U.S.A. in early spring 2011. There were so many great experiences and so much fun, especially meeting the great Bobby Watson and playing with him. This friendship eventually led to our touring and recording this year. One of our gigs in America was a jazz festival hosted by Western Carolina University. They have a great program for studio engineers and invited us to use their studio during our stay in the campus. It felt very easy to record with the band. We had been on tour for some time, very much tuned in to the same vibe. Recording an album was an obvious choice. I also recorded a trio record in the states with Jay Anderson and Adam Nussbaum. This one will be released by German label Ozella next year. There are three more records with me coming up next year: Bobby Watson & Libor Šmoldas Quartet, Skip Wilkins Quartet, Brian Charette trio.
Ladislav Plimpfl: Any UK-based projects in the pipeline?
Libor Šmoldas: I will be visiting London once again during the Easter break, playing and teaching at the GMF London Jazz Workshop and Music Festival London 2013.
Tickets are £8-10 and can be purchased HERE
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