Interview with Carlo Nardozza: Intellect can kill the soul … Video

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Jazz interview with jazz trumpeter Carlo Nardozza. An interview by email in writing.

JazzBluesNews.com: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Carlo Nardozza: – I grew up in Genk, a small city in Belgium near Maastricht. I started playing music at a very young age with my father and in a local Harmony  orchestra where I met my first trumpet teacher. He got me really into the beauty of music and learned me that music is a general thing and not divided into small parts like, jazz, classical, pop, etc…

When I was 7 years old I saw Dizzy Gillespie on TV for the first time and he was and still is my biggest influence in life since that day, because of his music, optimism and happiness.

Later on I started studying at the conservatory of Maastricht with Rob Bruynen, Claudius Valk, Bert joris, and many others. I also started my first quintet over there and started to write music.

JBN: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

CN: – It was and still is a difficult thing because my favourite players and music is extremely in contrast, actually my problem is that I love and play a lot of styles, sounds, line ups, and at the other hand that’s also my strength so I can mix a lot of things.

However It is difficult to play 2nd trumpet in a big band and the day after a duo with bass.

But, my biggest sound influence concerning my own music are Dave Douglas, Bert Joris and Freddie Hubbard and on my last album I finaly found my sound of ‘Blue Smoke’ which I was always looking for.

Another important thing was choosing a good horn, what a bitch 😉 Luckily I found Huub Van Laar who was patient enough to build me a good trumpet, thanks mate!

JBN: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

CN: – Haha, routine, oh my God, I wish I had one…

Well, routine is something that changes a lot for me because sometimes I feel my chops are getting weak and I need to do more technical stuff, sometimes I feel that I’m practicing to much exercises and I need to play more in my routine.

Basically I make a list for myself of all items I want to practice and do every item 10 minutes.

That I divide over 3 blocks; Technique (warm up, flexibility, range, etc,  Music (scales, colors, patterns, arpeggios, …, and Play along (just play, play over records,…)

JBN: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?

CN: – Water never forgets his source, so always start from the perspective of: “Why did you start playing and making music, what and who do you want to reach and what do you want to serve your crowd…”. Main influences are your childhood and first musical influences but stay open for every other colour as long as you add it sincerely to your music, not because you try to be hip.

JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

CN: – I try to find a good balance in body, spirit and mind. This is my golden triangle and what helps me a lot is Kung Fu. Since I’m part of this Traditional school (King Saan Juun) under Sifu Wai lam Yip, I’m able to fight against myself in my head which prevents me to let my ego speak in the music, it helps me from all kind of back and standing discomfort, and it helps me to control my breathing.

It is one of the best things that came in to my life and as long  as I can implement it in to my routine together with practice, listening and writing, I feel as prepared as possible…

JBN: – Ism is culled from a variety of lives dates with various performers over the course of a few years. Did your sound evolve during that time? And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?

CN: – I was influenced by lots of players and I had the opportunities to play with some real heavy cats. Bert Joris, Philippe Catherine, Richard Bona, Ambrose Akinmusire, George Duke, Lee Konitz, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jeremy Pelt, Michel Chamilo… mostly in big band settings

And off course they all influenced me in my sound, my playing and my ideas.

Especially Brussels Jazz Orchestra where I learned a lot a lot and much more!!!

I played and still play from time to time with Henri Texier and he was maybe one of the biggest influences because he advised me as a young guy how to handle and see musical situations in a good way, he helped me to think about concepts.

Bert Joris was also one of the biggest personal influences on my musical ideas because of his honest advise he always gives, somewhere between a colleague and a silent teacher.

At the end I ended up with a lot of different own projects, mostly duo or trio because of the fragile idea of music. This trio In Bocca al Lupo is very simple, they are my soulmates in life, it’s very easy to make beautiful music with two people who knows you best…

JBN: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

CN: – Intellect can kill the soul … Music has to touch the soul, you want to be intellectual? Read a book…

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?

CN: – Dizzy was one of my biggest example! He was the best like Clark Terry in finding a balance between being great as musician and entertainer! We are a kind of public service to create happy moments for body mind and spirit via music and art!

JBN: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Do not memories?

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?

CN: – I don’t know, I’m not a jazz musician, I’m a musician without any label so ask the specialists 😉

JBN: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

CN: – The meaning of life is love! If we can’t love each other and help each other, there is no meaning in life.

The second thing is that you have to give and find a meaning in life in a person, a thing, a hobby,…

My meanings in life are my music, kung fu, my lovely wife and my kids, that’s enough meaning in one life.

JBN: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

CN: – Make music music again, I want more happy people during and after gigs, more smiles, and less niche, just more openness between musical styles. Let music be music and let it touch you without judging, I think that’s one of the bad things from jazz educations that music became a study on a high school. It’s not! It’s a travel trough life without any end. You can’t really learn it because the biggest part in music is “feel”. Music has to be an expression of your soul and off course like every good languages you have to learn and have a good vocabulary but not the same accent.

JBN: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

CN: – Schumann, Chopin, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Chet Baker, Joshua Redman, Rage against the machine, Nirvana, Doc Severinsen, Vince Mendoza, … All different styles, because they all touch me in some way.

JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

CN: – Once again: “Public service to create happy moments and well being for body mind and spirit.” Whatever the feel of the day is, touching emotions and have a good evening all together!

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

CN: – Next to Dizzy Gillespie and Clark Terry in a bar after a few beers smoking a cigar and having fun, because the best learning schools in life were just next to my hero’s in a bar having fun and listening to them.

JBN: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

CN: – What’s my hope for the future of music?  In the first place I hope that people will come back to the idea that you have to listen music in live situations and being patient enough to listen also whole albums instead of this quick idea of picking tunes on Spotify or Youtube. If it works for a three hours Star Wars movie it should also work for a 56 minutes album of music.

In the second place I hope that people will find a balance between making music from mathematic and heart. I think in this whole educational process we have to take care that students start to listen and hear music in their heads before reading and writing it. We have to be careful from the idea that we need to create music out of a course or a book. It’s all about the golden midway and the learning process of life. As soon as you see music as a mirror it will reflect yourself and in that perspective I will be happy and curious to see who and what I am at a age of for example fifty.

JBN: – You should have asked your question to me and not to yourself …

JBN: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?

CN: – I’m a happy man because I never had to work one single day in my life. I’m playing and I earn my living by playing like a kid is playing every day. So that will keep me going on and together with a good selection of positive people in my life the future looks brighter than ever.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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