Sopot Jazz Festival 2018 - Music is like a mirror for me - an interview with Tineke Postma

Marta Jundziłł

Few days ago, you celebrated your 40th birthday. For many, 40th birthday means another stage in a lifetime, a crucial moment. How do you feel about it?

Great, it’s just a number and I am happy to have such a privileged live, being surrounded by inspiring and amazing friends, colleagues and family and because I’m doing what I love to do most; making music.

Tell me, how your cooperation with Greg Osby began? Do you treat him more as a mentor or as a friend?

We met at a Mexican Jazz festival and I already was a huge fan of his playing and music. I asked for a lesson and when I moved to New York in 2013 I started studying with him. He became an important mentor and friend through the years. After some time we decided to start a band called Sonic Halo which we co-lead. We released one album and toured the project in 2015-2016. I continue to learn a lot from him; he’s a generous person who always takes the time to share his knowledge.

Jazz music is dominated by men. Do you feel, that because of this phenomenon it was harder to became a successful musician? Did you experienced any discrimination or opinions that €˜girls could not play as good as guys’? 

Let me state in the first place; in my career, I’ve received a lot of help and support from male colleagues. It’s sometimes true that a female musician has to prove herself more in the beginning and of course I’ve dealt with men making specific female unfriendly remarks. That was not cool and hurtful but actually for me, those situation have been rare and I’ve always tried to just pursue my dreams and not let this influence me too much. I think, in some cases, women are conditioned to feel inferior to men. Whenever I teach girls who feel this I always try to change their ideas and work on their self esteem.
It’s good that these issues get attention and sexist behaviour needs to be condemned. We’re all equal. There are many amazing female players on the scene today. It’s so old-fashioned and totally ignorant to not see that. All the musicians who I admire are free spirits who a completely emancipated and always supporting females as much a males.
But it’s a pretty complicated matter which is not black or white. I also know female players who have used their female aspect in a dubious way to influence their career and who’ve been  unsupportive or enviously towards female colleagues.
It’s an issue that needs a lot attention but it should not lead to polarisation or more aggression; by both men and women.

AXON is a new project in which you’ll present at Sopot Jazz Festival. Tell me about it.

It’s a group put together by Greg Osby and I’m looking forward performing with these wonderful musicians. We’ll play original compositions from all band members.

During SJF you will also be in charge of masterclasses for saxophone players. What can we expect during this course? Who can participate? How people can signed up for it? 

I’ll talk about my approach to improvisation, composition, leading a band, interplay and other music related subjects. Anyone who want to come is welcome. I’m sure the festival can give you all the info you need.

As a young student you’ve participated in many masterclasses, now you are in charge of one. How do you feel in this role?

I love to share and exchange knowledge. It’s great to teach, I always learn a lot.

What is the most exciting thing about being a jazz musician?

To have the opportunity to share stories, experiences, emotions with other artists through music on a stage in front of people. Music is like a mirror for me, it reflects how I feel, in what state I’m in and through music I develop and grow as a person and visa versa.

What are your future plans? What can we wish you?

I’m recording my next record in December in NYC. New music, new collaborations with Ralph Alessi for example. I’ve mostly worked in Europe in the past years and now I’m getting ready to visit and work in the States more often which is a very inspiring perspective. I want to continue to develop my playing and composing and keep on touring.