The Sound and me #20 with Rob Buckland

The Sound and me #20 avec Rob Buckland
Moving effortlessly between genres, Rob Buckland performs as classical soloist, chamber musician, contemporary specialist, improviser, with an International reputation as an insightful educator. Co-founder of the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, he has worked with a wide variety of jazz, pop and commercial artists, including notable performances with Michael Buble and Elvis Costello. He talks here about storytelling and improvisation…


That instant kind of chemistry

I think when we hear somebody perform, we should feel a sort of connection that you feel when you meet a new person, somebody comes into of your life and first you feel some kind of connection. Some people we like, some people we don't like, you feel that instant kind of chemistry. And I think somehow or other, the magic of what we do with an instrument is to convert our emotions and our feelings into some kind of sound wave that communicates, hopefully with the audience.

Sound and storytelling

I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra. My dad was a massive Frank Sinatra fan. And the sound of my childhood is Frank Sinatra, Nelson Riddle, those wonderful recordings. And when Frank sings to you, it feels like he's singing to you and every single note has a beginning and a middle and an end. And there's so much storytelling going on in that note. And my journey through life as a performer and a musician, regardless of context and traditions of playing, is somehow trying to replicate that connection to sound and storytelling.


The flexibility and the colour, the million different variations of sound that you hear. In the jazz world, I find infinitely more attractive to listen to, talking about a saxophone kind of here, than the sort of more formal approach to a classical saxophone, where the sound has been sort of agreed upon and homogenised a bit more. And so whilst we are unable to improvise in the way that the jazz musician does, where they have control over the harmony, the rhythm, the melody and everything that's going on, when we are playing in the classical world, our role is to improvise. I would possibly argue even more, because if we're playing a notated piece of music, our role is to take that basic information and improvise with the sound and the storytelling on top of that, how we can change the music, what we can add to it, that's not in the music. What's different, what's individual and what connects with our own story as a musician. And that is my lifelong goal as a performer, is to try and find something in my sound that can connect with my emotions and my stories and my unique journey through life through the instrument that I happen to be playing in the context I'm playing. So it's all about sound for me.

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