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Pathways Trio

OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS Q & A with Chris Guilfoyle of Pathways Trio

  • Interviews / Q&As

Leading Irish guitarist Chris Guilfoyle debuts his newest project - Pathways trio. Featuring two of the most in demand young jazz musicians in Europe - Lukas Traxel (bass) and Mortiz Baumgaertner (drums), expect fresh and innovative arrangements of music from Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Aphex Twin, Jimi Hendrix and more. Ahead of their April 5th gig at IMC's 'The Cooler at The Complex', Chris shared more about how this project came to be.

Could you tell us a little bit about your early musical style as a guitarist?

Jimi Hendrix is the reason I picked up a guitar in the first place. I remember there was an ad for a new car on the TV and they were using his classic track 'Vodoo Child' and I remember thinking "Oh, the guitar is pretty cool" so my parents got me one for my 12th birthday. Even though I grew up surrounded by jazz through my dad and uncle, my first real influences came from my older sister. She was listening to a lot of grunge and metal at the time and I really liked how that music sounded as it was like nothing I had heard before. From there, I started playing in bands with my friends and we all started to gravitate towards punk music, so I spent the best part of 6 years playing in the DIY punk scene in Dublin. I also started checking out music outside of the punk sphere as I was heading into my twenties. I discovered artists like Squarepusher and Aphex Twin who I became obsessed with for a period of time.

What stood out to you about the artists that you're performing in this show?

What I love about Lukas's bass playing is the way he is able to really open up the music but still keep everything feeling really grounded. As a player it is great to know that he is going to take risks with you but it's never going to feel like the music is going to fall apart. I remember the first time I saw Moritz play I was just blown away by his creativity and energy and I knew right then and there that I wanted to play with him. He has such a great command of the drums and an endless palette of colors which really makes it so exciting to play with him

How do you think about bringing these influences into your music as a contemporary jazz guitarist?

Well, I've been doing a similar thing with my band Umbra but obviously, that is original music. One of the things that I've always loved about jazz is the fact that it is accepting of all genres of music outside of jazz. I guess in one way I view the material I will be playing with this trio as my own personal "jazz standards". The standard repertoire is made up primarily of music that was popular at the time and the jazz musicians of the day were interpreting these tunes and making it their own. I see this project in the same direct lineage of the standard tradition.

How does working with international collaborators like Lukas and Moritz shape your music?

Even though it is very important to work with people in your scene and create a unique sound and vision as I have done with Matt Jacobson and Barry Donohue, it is also important to get a fresh set of eyes and ears from time to time. They are going to bring something different to the music that I won't have experienced before and that in turn will make me improvise in a different way and that is a very exciting prospect!

Catch Chris Guilfoyle and Pathways Trio at The Cooler on April 5th:

Chris put together a playlist of some of the tunes he'll be re-imagining with Pathways Trio:

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