60 seconds with ... Misha Mullov-Abbado

Misha is a BBC New Generation Artist for 2017-19. His band, the Misha Mullov-Abbado group, will appear in November 2017 at the Hampstead Arts and EFG London Jazz Festivals.

What was it like growing up in a household with famous musicians as parents?  Was there an expectation to follow the musical path?
Not at all. They started me off on the piano but I found the bass all by myself and certainly began writing without any encouragement from them. But I’ve always been surrounded by lots and lots of support and help from them.

Who has influenced your career most and why?
Mainly some of the teachers I had at the Academy such as Pete Churchill and Jasper Høiby. But as a bass player and band leader I would have to say Avishai Cohen.

Where and how did you meet the members of the band?  What is the story behind this formation?
I first met James at Junior RCM though we hardly played together and I didn’t know any jazz then. When I first started taking jazz seriously at Cambridge University I met Liam and pretty much always played with him and learnt lots in doing so. I then met Sam, Matt and Scott at the Academy through playing in various other small group and originals projects, and was also playing with James and Liam in other combinations by this point. The line-up of the band has slowly evolved to what it is now, and it works so well because we all know each other well, have all played together for ages and are all really close friends.

What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?
Probably figuring out what sort of musician I want to be and what my dreams are, as it has taken a long time for me to reach this point in knowing vaguely what lies ahead of me musically, and even now there are lots of unanswered questions.

What has been the highlight of your professional career so far?
I was invited to bring my band to a festival in Mexico City earlier this year. That was a lot of fun and we were extremely well looked after!

What is the best piece of advice you could give a budding classical or jazz musician starting out?
It’s good to have people whose footsteps you may want to follow, but it’s so important to figure out who you really are and what you have to say as musician. I couldn’t be bothered with trying to be a musician that’s exactly like another musician.

Outside of music, what are you passionate about and how do you include these in your day to day life?
I love traveling and I love the outdoors, nature and mountains. Just spending some time outside does me a lot of good each day.

In an alternate universe, if you were not a musician what other profession would you go into?
I would be either an engineer, designer, physicist or a politician.

Which actor would you like to play you in a story of your life?
I honestly couldn’t imagine anyone else on the planet pretending to be me. Sorry I know that’s boring… I think a cartoon if anything would be more accurate.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself which people may find surprising.
I am obsessed with transport, in particular trains, and especially the tube. So much that I named my most recent album after a particular type of interchange that you can find on certain tube stops.

If you were to have a dinner party, which 3 people who would you invite (dead or alive) and why?
Jeremy Corbyn because I’d love to chat to him about the state of the country and ask him how he’s found the last two years, Stevie Wonder because I’d love to give him a giant hug and thank him for making so many hours of my life listening to music so happy, and finally my girlfriend because I’d love for her to meet them as well.

Lastly, Twitter or Instagram?
Neither! I find the concept of having multiple social media outlets very irritating so I just stick to Facebook.