Jazz Interview with Геннадий Львович

Way back on June 21st I conducted the first interview for my research project on Russian jazz. I was able to interview
, the conductor for the jazz group St Petersburg’s Saxophones. As a first year Russian student constantly worrying about mispronouncing something, I was terrified. Add to that the fact that I was interviewing this man 5 minutes before his set was supposed to start. I was told the interview would have to be quick, so I shortened my list down to just three questions. I was expecting an old Russian man who wanted to rush through this interview so he could just start the show already. I was expecting short, succinct answers to my questions.

To my surprise, Геннадий Львович was the exact opposite of what I was expecting. When we were trying to find a spot for the interview with good lighting and a nice background (we were fortunate enough to be in the Jazz Philharmonic Hall, founded in 1989), he insisted on standing with pictures of his friends lining the museum wall. I was able to ask him if we had permission to film, how long he had been playing jazz (40 years), and why jazz as opposed to any other music genre. My last question was going to be about why St Petersburg, but I did not end up having the time to ask that question. Thankfully I didn’t even have to- he spent almost 10 minutes (it seemed like) on why he played jazz, and talked about St Petersburg, Russia, and his friends in his answer.

While I did not understand every word he said, it was truly an amazing experience to interview this man. He was so passionate about what he was talking about and what he was doing. I wash lie to stay for their performance, and recorded most of it as b-roll for my project. Their entire repertoire was American jazz, which is not what my project is on but has given me an interesting insight into what kind of jazz is most popular these days.