The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] French native looks to pave the way for blues music

By Korea Herald

Published : Dec. 9, 2014 - 21:01

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After moving to New York from Paris with wide-eyed dreams of moving to Harlem to pursue a life with jazz, David Naze instead found himself unexpectedly enthralled with Korean culture.

Living in Big Apple for two years and being exposed to the city’s large Korean community, Naze said that he was so eager to discover Korean culture that he decided to pack his things and do away with his American dreams to move here despite having no concrete plans.

Now in his third year in Korea, Naze has founded and launched his latest project, “Corea in Blue,” to introduce boogie-woogie and blues piano to the Korean audience.

“It’s very happy music, and since I came to Korea, I noticed that Koreans seem to like the ideas of happy music, happy lifestyle, happy coffee place,” Naze said, noting that he was disappointed to learn that boogie-woogie blues music has little to no presence in the local music scene. 
David Naze, founder of Corea in Blue. (Courtesy of David Naze) David Naze, founder of Corea in Blue. (Courtesy of David Naze)

“This music is very popular in Austria and Germany. There was a revival of this music in the 70s, and there are a lot of piano players who play this music ... but it’s not like this in Korea,” he added.

Boogie-woogie music is a style of piano-based blues music that originated in the United States and became popular around the late 20s but was a short-lived fad that began to die out several decades later. Although in Europe the music genre has seen a resurrection, in other parts of the world, including North America, the style of play is becoming rarer and rarer to find in the modern jazz community, says Naze.

“The new generation, most of them don’t even know what it (boogie-woogie) is … I think people should at least try,” he said. “I have always loved this type of music and I really think Koreans could have a really good time with this music.”

Following many attempts to find his niche in Seoul, the self-taught jazz musician decided finally to take his love of blues music to the next level with the launch of “Corea in Blue.” As part of Naze’s new project, he has managed to land himself a partnership with Samick Music Corporation to help him in his endeavor to expose more Koreans to blues piano, with the overall goal to one day be able to organize a blues festival that would allow him to invite professional blues and boogie musicians to perform in Seoul.

Despite only considering himself as a part-time musician ― having spent most of his professional career in the communication field ― Naze realized that the best way for him to start promoting the piano style in Korea was to hold performances himself.

After viewing a video clip on the artist’s website, a local cafe manager was immediately hooked, landing Naze his first local gig.

The artist will be performing live at the dal.komm cafe in Daehangno on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., as well as holding a live piano session at the Korea Christmas Fair held at Kintex in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province from Dec. 12 to 14.

“Boogie-woogie and blues piano is about acoustic music,” he says. “We live in difficult times ... this music can be a relief because for five minutes, you can just forget about everything.”

By Julie Jackson (