Zayn Interview & Note

Zayn Mohammed

zayn-txAppearing at the Latitude Music Festival was Zayn’s prize for winning the 2016 season of the UK Sky Arts TV series Guitar Star. Rock producer Tony Visconti, of David Bowie fame, welcomed him to the stage as, “an incredible performer, a consummate artist, great guitarist, great musician and a visionary!” George Benson, who like Visconti was a judge and mentor on the series, appeared via video on the stage screens with these words, “Zayn has a been an outstanding performer, because he shows what guitar is all about. Its about invention, it’s about personality…he’s truly a star.”

Once on stage he embodied two seemingly incongruous qualities, humility and rock star cool. For the television viewer it seemed like a dream come true situation for the young jazz guitarist – as he played the director intermittently cut to slow motion closeups of various teenage girls in the crowd swaying to his music. It was a joyous and well deserved culmination of an arduous competition. Unseen by viewers was the harrowing experience he endured, which is the stuff from which musicians’ nightmares spring.

After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Zayn spent some years in New York City honing his craft before returning to London. Shortly thereafter his London flat was burglarized and all of his laptops, computers, and hard drives were stolen. Yet another nightmare for a musician – in an instant years of work and irreplaceable media were lost. With nothing left to lose, he auditioned for Guitar Star and emerged as the clear winner.

Clearly, he’s been tested, but also blessed. After he left the stage at Latitude, Melvin Benn, the festival’s founder, told Zayn he wasn’t made for the little stage, he was made for the big stage. His perceptive observation was spot on, a delicate flower would have withered in that intensity. Not only did Zayn survive, he clearly thrived. Subtle, intense, emotive, inspired, inventive, resilient, resourceful, passionate, eclectic, and continuously evolving – that’s Zayn Mohammed. Life has given him an exciting fresh start, and I’m eagerly anticipating the next chapters of his musical adventure.

Listen below to part 1 ZAYN’S GUITAR EXPERIENCE —

black mp3to download

Listen below to part 2 THE MAIN INTERVIEW —

to downland

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Below interview related videos

bar blue line

Zayn playing Breezin’ for George Benson

Below is 12 y.o. Zayn on Sky Television in the UK

Below Zayn in 2013 testing a Godin Nylon String @ Guitar Center playing Nardis

Below Zayn as a student @ the 2013 Berklee Folk Festival –
1. MANOUCHE/GYPSY JAZZ (GUITAR) : “Danse Norvigienne” – Django Reinhardt
(2nd Guitar: Mike Bono, Violin: Patrick McGonigle)
2. NORTH/INDIAN FUSION (SAROD) : “Lotus Feet” – Shakti
(Piano: Nicolo Ielasi. Tabla – Kabir Uppal)

Below Zayn as a student @ the 2013 Berklee Folk Festival – Part 2 playing Oud

The great Lenny Breau mentioned by Zayn

Below MonoNeon (thanks to Zayn for this great tip)

Below back in their student days at Berklee, MonoNeon and Zayn

Mentioned by Zayn, Bireli Lagrene and Sylvain Luc

Bireli Lagrene (Gypsy Project) – Place De Broukere (Samois 2002)

We spoke about Dave Brubeck not reading music (for four more interesting facts read the rest @  Here’s the 1srt of their 5 things you didn’t know about Dave Brubeck

Brubeck enrolled at what’s now University of the Pacific in 1938 with plans to study veterinary medicine. He eventually switched his major to music, though, and he tore through his classes until he had to enroll in keyboard instruction his senior year. At that point, Brubeck had to admit to his professor that he couldn’t read a single note of music, even though he played jazz as well as anyone.

Brubeck’s professor and dean informed him that they couldn’t let a student graduate with a music degree if he couldn’t read music. Brubeck shrugged off their worries by saying he didn’t care about reading music; he just wanted to play jazz. Brubeck’s other teachers protested that he was a very gifted musician even if he couldn’t read music, so the dean cut a deal with the jazz man: Brubeck could graduate, but only if he promised never to teach music and embarrass the school by revealing his shortcoming. Brubeck later laughingly told the website JazzWax, “I kept that promise ever since, even when I was starving.”

Here is someone else mentioned who doesn’t read music, but can play just about anything on guitar.  Here’s yet another side of Louie Shelton doin’ some chicken picken

Zayn mentioned he felt Derek Trucks was a kindred spirit after hearing this song.

Another of Zayn’s major influences — John McLaughlin with Shakti, 4th Dimension, and Remember Shakti with the late great Shrinivas

Another big influence Tigran Hamasyan

Zayn mentioned Jan Garbarek as a huge influence, but I didn’t recognize the name — seeing it, it then looked familiar. And stored away on vinyl I even have an LP :-O

The saxophonist who recorded in Africa whose name escaped me is Pharoah Sanders. (the name of the album is: Maleem Mahmoud Ghania-The Trance Of Seven Colors with Pharoah Sanders.)


Posted on August 27, 2016, in Interview Notes, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Zayn Interview & Note.

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