Music Wall is glad to introduce you Gerry López, a young rising saxophonist on the world jazz scene. He won first place at four national competitions: “Concurso Nacional de Saxofón” (Mexico, 2009); “Concurso Panamericano de Saxofón” (Panama, 2011); “Jazz a la Défense” (France, 2012) and “Paris Saint Germain Des Prés” (2013), which jury was composed by some of the most remarkable figures of the French jazz critics.
Gerry López, born in Ciudad Juárez (Mexico) in April 1986, inspired by passionate Charlie Parker’s music, since early age has been in love with jazz.
He studied at the School for Improvisation in New York City (from 2009 to 2010), under Ralph Alessi and Steve Coleman. During his studies in New York City, he had the opportunity to follow private lessons with some of the best jazz teachers of our time (Brian Lynch and Barry Harris) and famous artists who inspired him to find his personal musical identity (Miguel Zenón, Jerry Bergonzi, Seamus Blake).
In 2011 he realized his dream of moving to Paris and devoting completely to jazz music.
In 2014 he graduated at the Paris Jazz Conservatory, where he studied with Jean Charles Richard (conducting), Carine Bonnefoy (composing), Luigi Grasso (improvisation) and Emil Spany (harmony).
Gerry López has played with world-renowned musicians: Brian Lynch, Alain Pérez, Marc Miralta, Ingrid and Christine Jensen, François Lindemann, Paoli Mejias, Osmany Paredes, E.J. Strickland, Danilo Pérez, Sarah Carso, Mark Aanderud, etc.
He has performed in recitals and concerts as a leader or sideman of the band in several European and American cities: New York City, Boston, Washington D.C. , Montreux (Montreux Jazz Festival), Lausanne, Zurich, Friburg, Budapest, Vienna, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Panamá, in Croatia, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic.
His latest project, the album Esperanza, launched in Paris (2014) by Cristal Records, shows a great future for the young artist. His extraordinary compositions and unique style in playing attract the South American and European audiences. López wishes to keep on spreading his music all over the world.
New Generation (Swing House, 2011)
Fro Trio (Fresh Sound, 2012)
Esperanza (Cristal Records, 2014)
“Gerry López, a young virtuoso saxophonist, has started off with the Parisian Jazz scene. The launch of Fro Trio album (November 2012) marks beyond doubt the born of a great soloist.”
LA DÉFENSE JAZZ FESTIVAL
“He is considered one the most promising young musicians of the International jazz scene.”
Jordi Batalle RADIO FRANCE INTERNATIONAL
Interview (the original interview is in Spanish)
Which saxophonists do you follow?
I could say Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Jackie Mclean; modern ones: Miguel Zenón, David Binney, Steve Lehman etc.
What’s your favorite jazz album?
Kind Of Blue.
And what about the best-beloved jazz standard?
I´ll be seeing you.
If you could go back in time which jazz style would you follow? Why? And who would you play with?
Without a doubt Bebop, for its strength and freedom of expression. I would play with Charles Mingus, Philly Joe Jones, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, etc.
Please tell me about your album Esperanza.
It’s the outcome of the last three years of my life. Well, I started a strong period of my life coming in Europe to study and launching a new artistic path. Hope is an important value I still believe in, and each day it keeps me going on realizing my dreams. That’s why I decided to call so this new album.
Your favorite composition? What inspired you?
I like very much the bolero. A woman inspired me.
You have performed in several concerts around the world, what was the warmest audience?
Certainly the ones of Mexico, Panama, Cuba and Venezuela.
What’s the best memory of your concerts?
Once in Italy, while I was playing a child jumped on the stage at the middle of the theme and started playing with his tiny sax beside me! It was so touching!
Why did you choose to move to Paris?
It was just a coincidence. Listen, I went to Paris to play at a Mexican festival in France (2011) and I fell in love with that city. A friend told me about the conservatory, so I submitted the entry form and then I was accepted. So I moved to Paris.
Have the cities where you’ve lived (Ciudad Juárez, New York City and Paris) influenced you in any way? If so, how?
Surely the three cities are completely in contrast between themselves. Good and bad things happen in each one and influence society’s behavior. So, each city has contributed to my personal growth as human and as artist.
What kind of music are you into, besides jazz?
I’m into classical, Afro-Cuban and Mexican music as well as R ‘n’ B.
Have you realized your dreams?
Yes, I have. I have worked hard to reach my aims and some of them have been changed during the way. I’ve been satisfied so far.
What do you expect from 2014?
In June I’ll get the music degree and I’ll show my new album. Hope to come back to concert life to share my music around the world.
Can you tell us the most important events of 2014?
12, 14 and 16 – Switzerland, concerts as First Alto Sax with the Lausanne Jazz Big Band
24 – Switzerland, concert with François Lindemann
25 – Paris, concert with my new group
26 and 27 – my new album’s recording
13 – Switzerland, Zurich, concert with orchestra
16 – Switzerland, Lausanne, concert with Quartet
23-27 – Mexico, Jazz Festival
Switzerland, Gerry López and Big Band
13 – launch of “Gerry Lopez & Quartet String”
Paris, International Jazz Festival Paris Saint Germain
Orlean Jazz Festival
Paris, Conservatory’s degree concerts
In July the tour to launch my new album in France and Spain, in August Italy tour and in September Mexico tour.
What do you miss most about your home country?
Could you please send a message to the readers of this magazine, particularly to the young musicians that undertake the hard and long way in the world of music?
From my own experience you must work every day with constancy to go forward, better yourself and learn something new. Don’t stop dreaming. Stay beside people that motivate and teach you. You should be always open-minded and humble to learn something new.
Gerry López on Facebook and Soundcloud