Victor Provost speaks about upbringing, jazz in Q&A

US – Victor Provost is a renowned steel drum musician who incorporates methods of jazz in his music. Provost is coming to Syracuse to teach a master class and perform at La Casita Cultural Center on Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. The Daily Orange spoke with Provost to discuss his music and his trip to Syracuse.

The Daily Orange: What was your first experience with music?

Victor Provost: I first found music when I was a very young child, maybe like 4 or 5 years old. My father is a kind of a Renaissance man and plays guitar and piano. He had random musical instruments around the house. I picked up whatever I wanted to play at the time. I remember being very young and him showing me note for note how to play little tunes like (Beethoven’s) “Für Elise” and (Doris Day’s) “Sentimental Journey” and showing these classical and jazz tunes. My father was my first teacher.

The D.O.: How would you best describe your own music?

VP: My music is highly informed by jazz, bebop and contemporary jazz. But rhythm-wise, all of those ideas come from the Caribbean and from Africa. I try to combine these two worlds. These are the two most intricate, highest levels of playing from black culture, like African rhythms, and the kind of harmonic and melodic music of bebop. Those are the two kinds of two types of music I primarily perform.

The D.O.: Why did you start playing steel pan?

VP: My first experience with the pan was when I was around 12 and I was supposed to be practicing for my piano lesson, but I heard this steel band play (in my school), so I went to go check them out instead, and it was just a room full of all my friends and the music was really high energy. Me practicing piano by myself in the basement was kind of boring. I just kind of did it since I liked the way it sounded and it was fun.

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