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Interview with pianist and composer George Natsis

Monday, 16 May 2022 , ora 8.49

On Thursday, the 12th of May 2022, a new concert will take place, part of the project "Funky Bird" initiated by the composer and pianist George Natsis. Starting with 19:00, on the stage of the Radio Hall, 9 musicians, members of the Big Band Radio, will go on stage. The concert can also be heard live on Radio România Muzical.

More about this from George Natsis, the founder of the project:

On Thursday night, you will perform on the stage of the Radio Hall, a second concert from the project Funky Bird, that you've started last year, rearranging pieces by Charlie Parker in the funk style. At that time, the concert took place without a public due to the pandemic. And now, we have a new program, interpreted in normal conditions. What did you choose this time from the work of Charlie Parker?

The project is the same, the only significant difference is, as you said, the presence of the public. In the absence of the public, the project felt like a recording session to us. We are used to such a thing, but the reaction of the public to such a project is something that can really pump your adrenaline, your positive energy. I consider it a spectacular project. The music of Charlie Parker is very dinamic-Charlie Paarker being considered one of the fathers of bip bop. A few years back, I was talking with a coleague of mine from Big Band Radio and he was telling me that Charlie Parker's themes are already improvised. What can you improvise more when you're playing such a well-wrritten theme by Charlie Parker? Well, that is why I've tried to take some of his themes into a different zone, closer to our time and I chose this funk zone, which makes the effect of these themes even more spectacular. For the most part, they're the same themes that we've had last year, of course I'm reffering to pieces from the 50's, and even the 40's, because that's when Parker was on a roll. I chose pieces such as Ah-Leu-Cha, Cheryl, Sing the Bird, Yardbird Suite.As you can see, the word bird is very present. We all know that Charlie Parker had this nickname from his coleagues. There are a lot of stories surrounding this nickname. Some say it came from his great appetite for chicken. He is said to have been given the name Yardbird, and after that it came to a shortened version, just Bird. It it why we also have pieces like Yard Bird, Suite Bird or Chasing the Bird. Others say this nickname was given to him while he was on tour, because while he was with his coleagues, a small unhappy accident happened: a small chicken was run over and killed. Anyways, what matters is that Charlie Parker has not only the nickname Bird, but also music that is, as I was saying, very dinamic. He is a pioneer of jazz and I think we can all agree that his music can very well stand in the manner that we have imagined it for the concert on the 12th of May.

Could you please mention the colegues that will accompany you on stage ?

Altogether we are 9 musicians, including myself. Alongside me there will be Sebastian Burneci playing the trumpet, Paolo Profeti- alto saxophone, Evghenii Mamot playing tenor saxophone, Florin Radu-the trombone, Iulian Nicolau and Adrian Cojocaru-drums ( he is actually one of the trombone players of Big Band Radio). And last but not least- Liviu Negru on guitar and Adrian Flautistu on bass. All of them, besides Iulian Nicolau, who is an associate, are part of the Big Band Radio, all well-known and very appreciated in the music industry, especially the jazz one. I'm waiting for the public, because as I have announced at the last concert of this combo season, it will be a spectacular concert. Moreover, it will be the last concert of this season in the combo formula (of course, the Big Band concerts will continue), and we will eventually meet again in the fall.

Interview by Florica Jalbă
Translated by Ioana Busuioc,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu