Harald Hult

Apr.29, 2012

DISCAHOLIC INTERVIEW SERIES, APRIL 2012

 

HARALD HULT

How did you start collecting vinyls? Is there an inherent conflict in both collecting and selling?
- I defend myself against the word “collect” all  together. Collecting for me is an unhealthy activity. Or at least something to be questioned.
If you care about the music… it’s natural to want to have it in physical form – to own it. If you then can afford to have the original, first pressing, on vinyl, it sounds better, looks better, smells better!
Although I make money from collectors, I get bothered by those who care more about the object than the music.

 


What where your driving force in the beginning?
- When I discovered jazz in my teens, which for me was primarily traditional jazz (Bunk Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory and others), it was a powerful feeling of healthy power, freedom and life!
Another better world. Now that I have adopted bebop, free jazz and free improvised music,  I’m wondering what is common  and true for the different styles, what is to be accommodated within the jazz concept.

 

 


What drives you now?

-  TACET

How do you look upon yourself? Peddler? Enthusiast? Collector? Preacher / Prophet? Informer ? Fan?

- YES!

Is it still a thrill, after all these years, when someone comes in with a vinyl title that you have never seen before and that you want very much to buy?

- YES!

Can  collecting records have a therapeutic effect, or is it mostly a disease?

- It doesn´t hurt anyone else than yourself.

 


 

painting by Edward Jarvis, used by permission.

 

 

 

What defines a great jazz album?
- You know it when you hear it, see it.

 

 


Is the graphical / visual context of any importance? Smell? Feel? Album Text? Rarity? Or would you say that it’s just about the music?
- I surrender when facing a beautiful cover, but the music is always first!

 

 


What is Jazz? (Hard not to ask such a stupid question, but we are endlessly curious about the “correct” answer …)
- Jazz for me is a picture/ mirror of the ideal conversation, the ideal society. You listen to each other, you can make your voice heard and  someone cares. You are offering something, something in common that brings joy and consolation. The individual  and the collective are in perfect balance (at its best).
The question is not only stupid, it’s hard too … and a bit uninteresting.
All definitions you come across have weaknesses, or gaps
.

 

 

 

What is not Jazz?
- See above.


Who swings the hardest, who´s got the softest touch?
- I am a strong opponent to all questions that involve ranking! I like to point out a favorite musician to a customer who comes to my store, whom I communicate with.
I think lists are excluding –  strictly elitist thinking…
The important thing is the individual listening.
To feel and think for yourself.

 


What was your first album bought with your own money?
- Can not remember … possibly a 78 with Bunk Johnson? or Kid Ory. Can´t fuckin remember

 


Are  jazz musicians  buying many records or is it mostly listeners and fans that buys?
- Jazz musicians are often “bad” customers, perhaps they get too many records from their colleagues? They might be too busy trying to defend their style, their voice, and they dont want to be disturbed? They who have the urge to listen, who are curious, they are the ones I believe in! They get better.

 


Are music journalists buying records at all, or are they just sitting at home waiting for today’s pile of records or new soundfiles to download?
- Ask them!

 


What do you prefer? Långfil (northern swedish sour milk, Ed´s note) or mp3 file?
- I have to answer långfil, then.

 


How do you sort your own collection? Alphabetically or by genre?
- Yes, both.

 

 

Can you put together some lists for us to contemplate, reflect and get inspiration from … can you list your top 5:

Best jazz albums, subjectively?
- TACET


Best jazz albums, objectively?
- TACET


Best jazz trumpeters?
- TACET


Best-looking record company logo?
- TACET


Most  sensual album covers?
- TACET


Most beautiful tenor sax tone
- TACET


Record companies that consistently provide or have provided, great jazz-related music?

- TACET

 


Is it important to absorbe  the entire jazz tradition in your way of  listening, from Bunk Johnson’s whistling of Boddy Bolden´s  way of phrasing, to the wheezing sounds of Axel Dörner? Or is it okay to focus on only British so called “insect improv” from 1973, or the Swedish west coast jazz from 1958?
-  I think you get more out of the music,  if you’ve heard (“understood”) various genres and styles, such as classical music, contemporary music, newly composed, folk and pop of course.
The question is whether you can understand (for real), without knowing and understanding the tradition, the developments. I doubt it.

 

 


Are you trying to educate your clients? Are upbringing and educating included in your business idea?
- Yes, but more like propaganda than a business idea.

 


Can you give examples of reprogrammed individuals who come to your shop and asked for, in your opinion, watered-down music, and then left the shop some time later as awakened, open people craving for creative music and new ideas?
- It may have happened. But the curious, the open, have the more to choose from – it is much more fun to help them.

 

 


When you enter a vinyl shop, where are you looking for the goodies and rarities?
- The wall.

 


And then where do you look?
- In the shelf near the counter or ask for the free jazz vinyls.

 

 

Which section do you never look in?
- Pop.

 


Where do you keep your hottest items in your own store? Openly or secretly far away from Tom, Dick and Harry?
- Most of it is accessible to all, even the most expensive objects stored in my kitchen.
(But a few are at an undisclosed location…)

 


How do you get the new rare gems, the goodies? Are you a mountain or a prophet?
- I do not advertise aggressively, but I like to buy (and pays well …)

 


How do your ideal customer look like? Give us as much details as possible referring to the visual features, character traits, selection of music, general appearance and other details…
- Curious, versatile, communicative – then age, gender and appearance does not mean that much.

 

 

Are there any female collectors at all?
- Yes, but few.

 

 

Who was / is your most unexpected customer?
- I expect the unexpected.

 

 

What did Joakim Thåström not buy from you?
- Can´t  remember … (the two stuffed ravens guarding the shop, ed’s note)

 


What did actually Thurston Moore buy?
- A lot.

 


What was Murakami looking for in the shop?
- Swedish jazz.

 


Can you give us a play list for a typical day of musical upbringing and dedicated listening at your business Andra Jazz?
- Fortunately, there is no typical day, that´s why I love my job

 

 

Can you give examples of any artist/ group in a different genre of music that swings just like a mean jazz ditto?
- Hoquetus music from Central Africa, for example, swings the same way.
(Central Africa, Ocora Records……. , Ed’s note)

 


Are there any specific records that you privately are looking for?

- I’m not looking for records, I buy everything that is good.

 


What is the relationship between badminton and jazz?
- Soft, hard and rhythmically. Smart and relaxed.

 

Between  table tennis and Han Bennink?
- Fast reflexes.

 


Between you and Misha Mengelberg?
- We play both piano and chess ( I won the last game). But he is the better  piano player.


 

Why is it a good practice to listen blindly, blindfolded to music? What’s the point?
- It is the ONLY good method. If you want to make a fair, unprejudiced assessment, or have an uncolored / uneffected experience.

 


How many records per day keeps the doctor away?
- It may be enough with one, for the psyche. The body however needs badminton and a good gene pool.

 


Can diskaholism be cured?
- If you become seriously ill in another way, maybe you do not care so much about that rare EP…

 


What type of vinyl smells the best?
- Thick.

 

 

Can we look forward to some new releases on the Blue Tower Records label, your own record label?
- Doubtfully, but…

 


You play the piano with skills …. Do you listen in a special way when you hear a pianists play?
- No.


What pianists are really freakin great and amazing acccording to your opinion?
- Art Tatum technically, Bud Powell I just love. Cecil Taylor, Yosuke Yamashita…

 


Who has the most killin touch in his/ her right hand?
- Bud Powell.

 


In the his/ her left  hand?
- Monk?


Is this interview too long?
- Yes.

 


Which record has surprised you the most after the first listening?
- TACET


Which record has surprised you the most after numerous listenings?
- TACET


Which album have you listened to the most ? Why?

- Something with George Lewis (the clarinetist)
He had such a big heart … but died of a weak.

 


Was Ken Burns television series on jazz well done, from a historical point of view? Why?
- I don´t  remember… don´t think I was so fond of it.

 


Who should make the ultimate story on the essence of jazz? As a Film? In Text?
- Let  many voices be heard. But so far, the film Sven Klangs Kvintett is the best.

 


What is the most authentic jazz book/ jazz narrative so far written?
- I rather listen than read about jazz, but the book on George Lewis by Ann Fairbairn (pseudonym for Dorothy Tait, Ed´s note) touched me. It’s about Lewis, a touching portrait of a truly fine human being.
The book also gives us an idea of ??what it was like to be black and poor in New Orleans.

 


How do you clean your records? Do you have any technical advice to give our readers?
- Water for marmalade, pure alcohol for grease.


 

Is vinyl crackling delicious?
- No, but with a mono needle the sound could be improved if you have a crackling mono record.

 

 


How important is the quality of sound when you listen?
- It is wonderful to hear records from, for instance,  the Contemporary label, but a bootleg with Charlie Parker (can be the worst sound ever) still beats the most.

 


Are the audio geeks worse than the record nerds?
- TACET


Mono or stereo?
- Yes.

 

 

 


Is it annoying or upsetting with collectors who do not listen … who just want to have and have and have … Or is it OK to just collect the items?
- Not ok, not to listen.

 


So finally, in your opinion:

What is the best jazz genre / period?
- TACET


What is the best jazz album ever recorded?
- TACET


Which one is the best jazz composition?
- TACET


What is the best recording of an  individual solo in jazz history?
- TACET


What is the single best phrasing ever?
- TACET


What single note on a jazz recording in  the whole jazz history is the best?
- TACET


Is one tone enough???
- Not really… it requires a context.

 


Can pigs scream??? ( a local term of definition at Andra Jazz for tenor sax players with a severe Brötzmann/ Frank Wright complex, Ed´s note)
- Yes, unfortunately. We do not want them to suffer, right?

 


 

http://www.andrajazz.com/