Award-Winning Trumpeter Ilya Serov To Perform In Mumbai On Valentine’s Day

Award-Winning Trumpeter Ilya Serov To Perform In Mumbai On Valentine’s Day

He talks about coming to India and making friends here and also about his journey with jazz so far

Verus FerreiraUpdated: Friday, February 09, 2024, 08:56 PM IST
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Ilya Serov |

Trumpeter Ilya Serov is on his way to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Mumbai. The 37-year-old Austin, Texas based jazz trumpeter, guitar player and singer, also plays a Jazzohorn and is soon to release his fourth album. The award-winning trumpeter is all set to make this Valentine’s Day special for Mumbai with a performance at the Tata Theatre.

Excerpts from the interview:

You are visiting India for the first time. What have you heard of the country?

It will be my first trip to India and I couldn’t be more excited. I am fascinated with India, the rich culture, especially the music. The vast variety of rhythms in classical Indian music are incredible. I have spent hours on YouTube mesmerised watching videos of Solkattu and Konnakol. The movies, singing, dancing, styles, and colours of India are so unique and so fascinating. Growing up in Russia in the ’90s I remember Indian movies were pretty popular. So, I am familiar with that part of the culture. I also love Indian cuisine. There is a pretty big Indian community here in Austin, Texas where I live now. So, we have a lot of great places to eat with some great Indian food. I am very excited to experience some authentic Indian flavours while in Mumbai.

What are your plans for the concert in Mumbai?

This Valentine’s show is going to be unique in many ways, as I am combining some elements and songs from many of my previous shows I have done over the years. During this upcoming concert, we will combine multiple music styles, crossing many generations of jazz. We will present a vast collection of world love songs including some of my original songs and compositions. The cool thing about jazz is that no matter how much and what you are planning in advance, the real magic happens in that moment on stage. It is that connection with the audience and joy of music that creates those very special moments to remember. I am very excited to make a lot of great new friends in India.

You grew up in Russia, and relocated to Los Angeles. How how that journey been?

Before becoming a jazz, soul, and RnB musician in the US, I went through a long path navigating myself in the world of music. I was learning and figuring out what I wanted to do by trying a lot of things. I started as a classical musician at the age of seven and went through all the formal academies training resulting in a Bachelor’s Degree in Performance and Education. During the years of formal training in classical music, I always gravitated towards other genres that fascinated me, and one of them was jazz in its many forms and shades. During my college years, I realised that it is the kind of music that I really want to be playing. After I moved to the US, I still played classical music for a little while, by working with multiple symphony orchestras, but after a few years my life completely shifted to jazz. It has been a fascinating journey so far, and I can’t wait to see where the music is taking me next.

How would you classify the jazz music style you play?

I would consider myself a jazz musician. But since the music is constantly evolving and over the decades it has been infused with so many other genres, it is so hard to say what jazz really is these days. The music that I have been releasing lately could be called contemporary jazz, soul, and smooth RnB.

You released ‘Just Friends’ an album dedicated to trumpeter Chet Baker. What was prompted you to come up with such an album?

That is correct, Just Friends is a tribute to one of my biggest musical influences, trumpeter, and vocalist Chet Baker. After listening to Chet’s early albums for the first time I absolutely fell in love with his style and sound. His voice also inspired my roots in singing, but not until I was in my late 20s. The idea behind the album was to imagine what Chet would sound like in 2021 as A contemporary jazz musician. That is the year the album came out. I picked some of my favourite songs from Chet’s repertoire and rearranged them with a contemporary jazz twist. Just Friends was one the first songs of Chet’s that I discovered and was taken by. To make the album more personal I added a few of my original compositions to the album as well.

The album also features a unique instrument, the Jazzohorn. Tell us about the instrument.

The story behind the Jazzohorn, as I called it, goes back a few years. When I first started to think of recording my very first contemporary jazz album Just Friends, one of my producer friends suggested exploring some cool looking instruments made by a very talented trumpet maker in the UK, Andy Taylor. Looking at all the unique looking instruments on his site, we got an idea to make a trumpet that looks like a saxophone. I thought it would be funny, but when we really got into the process and the instrument turned out the way it is now, it became a huge part of the musical palette for recordings and live shows.

You are also a composer and have worked in films. What are some of your popular works?

I am very fortunate to have worked on a few projects with film, both as a vocalist and composer. I did a vocal session for the movie Deadpool 2, and other projects like co-writing one of the main themes for the movie Creed 2 alongside incredible composer Ludwig Goransson and recording/producing vocals for the animated film The Addams Family 2. All these were such valuable and memorable experiences for me as a writer, producer, and musician.

Are you working on any new music?

I am working on my fourth studio album right now, and planning to release it in the spring. It is my first ever album that consists of only original music (both songs and instrumentals). I collaborated with some of my favourite musicians and producers and I can’t wait to share this new project with the world.

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