Interview with Silvio Amato: Music is a storm of passions! Video

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Jazz interview with jazz pianist and composer Silvio Amato. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Silvio Amato: – I was born in Catania – Sicily a big city in southern Italy; that city and the island consider themselves culturally different from the rest of the “continent”. The continent is of course Italy and us sicilians have the belief that we must regard ourselves different and in many aspects very similar to our land: rich in contrasts.

Catania, the town I got to know when I was little; was itself a town full of contrasts. And the musical fabric of the town mirrored the maniche-an fabric of the noisy city. There was a contrast between the “low” mu-sic that spread by radio and TV, by street vendors, the “pupari”, the storytellers, the “high” music of the Massimo Vincenzo Bellini theater. I was, as any oher kid, drawn to popular music, that of songs, played by radios and juke boxes. My generation was heavily involved either in politics or music, my choice was the first category.

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

SA: – The secret is to play, to try, continue to make mistakes but most im-portantly to have fun. The spirit is the same that I had when i was 14 years old and I was playing with friends. I try not to take myself too se-riously and to live with a healthy dose of self-deprecation; I think that’s a fundamental part of life. When, for a small moment my head be-comes kind of big, I try to go back to my being 14 years old.

JBN: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to main-tain and improve your current musical ability especially pertain-ing to rhythm?

SA: – I have been having the fortune to be working for many years on the Gebrauchsmusik, the utility music, for tv and cinema. The musical form has to be incisive and this need for directness is for me very ex-citing.

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

SA: – Contaminations are fundamental. Art is contamination. In the art there shouldn’t be frontiers, passports. Art is a melting-pot.

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

SA: – A bit of Parmigiano Reggiano and a glass of Nero D’Avola, my favorite wine.

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

SA: – The album was born after a long chat with my dear friend, the great guitarist Tom Rotella. I tell him about my idea to write a jazz album. It’s Tom’s idea to involve Jimmy Branley and I must say that this was a fantastic choice. Jimmy gets into the project and proposes the idea and some demo to Jimmy Haslip, the great bass player from Yellojackets who decides to produce the album and to organize the casting for all the session recordings.

Last but not least, I’d like to thank Joseph Patrick Moore at Blue Ca-noe who helped creating and publishing this project, encouraging me all the way on the whole project.

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

SA: – There’s no balance. Music is a storm of passions. The intellect influ-ences to much.

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

SA: – I’m used to work for hire. They tell me exactly who the audience is. And I have no problem to satisfy the client. In this case it was about playing for the joy of playing amongst friends.

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

SA: – I’m quite discontinuous, and at this point most of my career writing music is something I usually do in solitude. I write music alone and I exchange views with musicians exclusively when recording my works and soundtaracks. I remember that a few years ago, I had fun working as a session musician for famous italian artists. But it was also a tiring and messy time. Lately I’ve become meditative. I need silences, rou-tines and the joy brought by my family.

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

SA: – Let’s have them intersted in music, in art. Whether it’s jazz, classical music, rock, pop, blues, rap or drum&bass it’s not really important. Standards in jazz are old? Oh well. Let’s think about how current a composer from the XVII century is: J.S. Bach. Classics are a pillar of the soul and urge us to find new ways.

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

SA: – You understand the spirit of life from little things. But this is a thought that’s maybe dicated by maturity. In this moment my existance is for me the spirit of life, which lives in the freedom of music, flowing with-out judging the next guy.

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

SA: – Music should be more open to young people and think more about art rather than profit.

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

SA: – Toru Takemitsu is a japanese composer that I’ve recently discovered. He’s a fascinating artist and goes well with my mood these latest months. Suspended and sinister times.

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

SA: – Joy and freedom.

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

SA: – I love to live my time. I love contemporary life and I can’t stand my same-age friends that keep on talking about when we were young whilst condemning todays’ kids. We were irresponsible and self-righteous… Technology makes us more free, more curious and it spreads information. In some ways this is the realization of the Dide-rot and D’alembert’s Encylopedias. If I had to choose I would maybe like to be in Paris at the end of the 19th century, like the protagonist of the Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris.”

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

SA: – Sure, here’s my question for myself: “Silvio where do you want to see yourself in 10 years? – Answer: “I want to see myself where I am now: amongst my friends, music and family.”

JBN: – My question is do you have a question for me, not yourself 🙂

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

SA: – “Of course, I have never been more happier in my life, and life helps me achieve just that!”

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Composer & Piano Master Silvio Amato - BLUE CANOE RECORDS

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