INTERVIEW: Raph Clarkson (and the Jazz Musicians in Front of Brick Walls website)

Raph Clarkson  (photo Jake Walker)

Trombonist RAPH CLARKSON is one of the musicians to be found on a new site Jazz Musicians in Front of Brick Walls. We were keen to find out how this new found prominence / fame notoriety / cool (discuss) was affecting him. Interview by Sebastian: 

London Jazz News: Why did you get yourself photographed in front of a brick wall?

Raph Clarkson: I’m somebody that could probably do with a cool-factor boost when it comes to publicising myself – and nothing says cool and hip like a gritty, urban brick wall. So I decided to pose in front of one! Also that particular wall (in Shoreditch of course) is near my girlfriend’s house, so… yeah. Walls are cool. Brick is cool. Brick walls are cool.

LJN: What was the first you knew about the brick walls site?

RC: I saw myself tagged in a tweet publicizing the site, and thought ‘finally – I’ve made it’.

LJN: You’ve become the poster child of the site. Which other pictures do you like?

RC: I enjoy Chris Potter‘s picture – the simultaneous performance of sax and piano is impressive enough, but put it in front of some brick – and it’s kind of overwhelming. Ambrose Akinmusire has also wisely copied my clever idea of dismantling my instrument in order to appear quirky.

Chris Potter

LJN: How does it feel?

RC: It just feels amazing, and I’m so grateful to everyone for their help on this journey, it’s been hard, goodness knows it’s been hard but, kids, the hard work pays off in the end. Keep plugging away and you too will one day find yourself on a witty photo blog.

LJN: What’s this about an album launch?

RC: All joking aside, I have actually made an album with The Dissolute Society, a band chock full of wonderful musicians who have played and improvised their hearts out to create our debut record ‘Soldiering On’, paying tribute to my mother, and musical heroes John Taylor and Kenny Wheeler. We’re launching it at The Vortex on 12th May.

LJN: Do brick walls feature in the album?

RC: There is a track on the album called Find The Way Through, which, if you are analytically minded, can be interpreted as a metaphorical struggle to break through an impasse, or wall if you will, and an impasse (or wall) that in its hardy composition, its toughness, might be described as ‘brick-like’, so yes, brick walls absolutely do feature in the album.

In your dreams and nightmares?

RC: After this interview I think the answer is inevitably yes.

Raph Clarkson’s album Soldiering On will appear on Babel Records

Categories: miscellaneous

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