The Hero’s Journey of Michael Sarian

What is the best thing that I love about my work? It’s always changing and in a constant flux. As time goes on, the more I’m encouraged to try new and different things, and that’s an exciting thing no matter what line of work you’re in. Musically, though, it’s a necessity, to keep the artist and audience engaged.
What is my idea of happiness? I don’t know… perhaps this ties into the previous question. What is happiness? Different things put me in a good mood depending on the day, on what’s going on. It’s always changing, so each day I might have different, little goals to set for myself. I am thankful for many things though, which make me happy: my health and my family’s health, that I’m able to pursue a life in music…

Photo credit:  Germana Costanza Lavagna
What is my greatest fear? Staying stagnant. No longer being relevant, or having nothing to offer.What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Procrastination.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire? Guillermo Klein, Ambrose Akinmusire, Charles Lloyd, Dave Douglas, Enrico Rava, Wolfgang  Muthspiel.

What is my greatest extravagance? I think I allow myself many small extravagances, but I’m going to copy my friend Alix Tucou’s answer: choosing a career in the performing arts is the greatest.

On what occasion would I lie? If I thought it would prevent someone from getting hurt… but even then, I’d try to tell the truth.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? Lack of professionalism. And specifically in the US/NY vs other places in the world, it’s normal  for venues or presenters to not treat the artist with as much respect, or take them for granted.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? Performing music  I love with people I love, and cherry on top would be to have a responsive and engaging audience.

If I could, what would I change about myself? Musically/professionally? Have a more rigorous work ethic, not become too complacent.

What is my greatest achievement in work? So far, continuing to create and put out music. Also being savvy on the business side of things, but sometimes I think I spend too much time on this and it takes away from my practice.

Where would I most like to live? Right now, exactly where I am:  Brooklyn, NY.

What is my most treasured possession? My trumpet. Things I treasure but rarely use, my father’s watch, my grandfather’s tuxedo.

What is my most marked characteristic? I’d like to think it’s being able to maintain a positive outlook no matter the situation.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? Nowadays it needs to be in walking distance: Brooklyn Bridge Park

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? My local haunt, Vekslers (again, walking distance)

What books influenced my life and how? Most recently, Haruki Murakami’s ‘Killing Commendatore’. It’s about a 30-something artist who  has a drastic life and career change. Also, ‘Being Here’ by Radhika Philip, the author interviews many of today’s great musicians and it’s fascinating to see that at the end of the day, we all struggle with the same insecurities.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day? Assuming I have the whole day! Charles Lloyd’s Passin’ Thru, Guillermo Klein y los Guachos Live at the Village Vanguard, Jaco Pastorius’  Birthday Concert, Miles Davis’ In a Silent Way, Bill Frisell’s Ghost Town, a lot of Argentine rock like Charly Garcia, Luis Alberto Spinetta… so much more I would try to fit in!

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life? People who have continued to create inspiring art throughout their lives, like Charles Lloyd, Sonny Rollins, Enrico Rava, many, many more.

What role plays art in my life and work? I feel like it gives me a purpose.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me? No excuses. You get what you put in.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? Greatest fan and sponsor: my mother.

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2020?  Unlikely in 2020, but ECM or Nonesuch Records, festivals like the DC JazzFest, Winter JazzFest, Toronto Jazz Festival, and a slew of others around the world…

Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would i love to meet in 2020? Unlikely to happen, but… Manfred Eicher, Charles Lloyd, Enrico Rava.

What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on? I’m releasing a new album in September with my quartet, New Aurora. I was looking forward to touring it and performing a lot, but that’s changed. Now finding ways to share more music online, and collaborating with different people on recording projects.

Where can you see me or my work in 2020? I post everything on my Instagram, and by signing up for my newsletter on my website

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Paul Motian comes to mind. Even though age might give us certain limitations, we’ll always find ways to pursue our passions.

Which creative heroes should Peter invite to tell their story? Santiago Leibson, Olec Mün, Jim Piela, Joe Pino, Tomás Martini, Allison Philps

How can you contact me? Instagram

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