Admittedly, the first time I saw Mike Lorenz perform, I was there for the beer. His Jazz trio was tucked in the upstairs corner of Tired Hands Brewing Company, a small-batch bar with impeccable knack for creative brews from only the best local ingredients. Apparently their taste in music isn’t bad either. Since discovering the new brewery himself, Mike has turned from just another beer lover to regular performer at Tired Hands, which he currently has exclusive rights to. We sat down with Mike to chat about jazz and the nuances that make it so special. Bi-Weekly you can catch him play upstairs at Tired Hands including tonight and Thursday the 21st. Don’t forget to try their amazing beer and food, and remember to thank us later.
The Key: How did you get into playing guitar?
Mike Lorenz: I had a friend who played guitar, so I wanted to play guitar. I started playing in 5th grade because I saw him playing, so that was in like 1995, which I always tell people is a great time to start playing guitar because all the stuff on the radio was ‘guitar rock’ – even though some of it sucked. If you wanted to play it, some of it was kind of hard for a kid beginning, so I always credit that stuff for why I am a decent guitar player. (chuckles)
TK: What, in your opinion, is the state of jazz?
ML: I guess if you read jazz stuff on the Internet, it dies every year. Someone proclaims it dead ever year. But there is lots of neat stuff. It’s just where the influence comes from. There are some great Indian-American musicians who use jazz as an influence, there are people who grew up with hip-hop who use that as an influence, and I still think it is all jazz, but then there are people who don’t. The thing that is kinda constant now is people taking in exterior influences. There are a lot of people taking what A Tribe Called Quest did, or like J Dilla and playing it on acoustic instruments in an improvised setting. A big name from last year is a person named Robert Glasper. He released a record with musicians who do that really, really well, and it is basically an R&B but it is on Blue Note which is a jazz label and there is improvising on it, but they are playing what sounds like Dilla beats and stuff like that.