7 Questions for… Anton Ponomarev

Saxophonist Anton Ponomarev comes more from the ‘whirling tornado of sound’ school than ‘honk-n-skronk’. And for me, he and his band BROM (Бром) gets the balance between composition and improvisation just right – the feet have enough to tap to while the imagination is simultaneously lifted. All the way from Moscow’s growing free scene…

 

1. Name an experience that contributed to your becoming a musician?
I was totally impressed by free improvisational jazz when heard some records. Before that I was very much into just “traditional” jazz all my childhood. That forced me to take up the saxophone as an instrument which I wanted to play.

2. What was the first music you ever bought, and the most recent?
Besides jazz I like metal pretty much so the first one was Sepultura “Roots”. The most recent is – Free form improvisation ensemble 2013 by Burton Greene, Abdelhai Bennanï, Alan Silva and Chris Henderson (Improvising Beings).

© Kirill Polonsky

© Kirill Polonsky

3. What’s the balance of preparation vs. improvisation for the average live set or recording?
In the BROM band (one of the main bands I play in) for instance we have quite strict and fixed structure of our compositions but inside of each one we have some place to improvise and to feel absolutely free there. So I could say it’s like an average 60% of preparation and 40% of improvisation. I also play a lot with bands and musicians where we have totally improvised forms.

4. Who is the most inspiring person you’ve collaborated with, and why?
Actually all guys whom I play with here in Moscow and some other cities of Russia are really great musicians, we are trying to develop the experimental music scene here. Recently I had a great opportunity to take a recording session in Amsterdam with legendary Burton Greene (pianist). It was duo – piano and saxophone and it was just amazing! His music and his way of playing and compositions always inspired me a lot so it was such a cool chance to play together.

5. What (if any) superstitions or rituals do you have? (around performance, recording, everyday life?)
A small cup of very strong espresso before a gig!

6. Where do you stand on the streaming/downloading/file-sharing/musicians-not-getting-paid-for-their-music debate?
I personally support the philosophy that all music should be open sourced, I mean all our albums you can download on our Bandcamp page, for example. But still we do make CDs and LPs with unique designs and these artefacts are sold atthe concerts or via some music shops or labels.

7. If money and time were no object, what would your next project be?
I’m very keen on duos so I hope I will do something with one of my friends who is drummer but not so jazzy, he has quite a lot metal and prog experience so it would be great to have this kind of mixture.

For a hint of what Anton might sound like mixed with more prog elements, check out this recent collaboration with Jahroom:

 

Check out Anton and BROM via Bandcamp:

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(Both the cover pic for this post and the Omlet clip are courtesy of Svetlana Selezneva)