Interview with Antonio Adolfo: Besides classical music I was very interested in Bossa Nova and Jazz: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz pianist and arrangement Antonio Adolfo. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Antonio Adolfo: – I was born in Rio/Brazil on Feb, 10, 1947. My mother was a violinist at the Symphony Orchestra in Rio de Janeiro. At the age of 7, I studied violin for three years. Then, when I was 15, I’ve started studying piano. In 1963, I became professional, working with some very important Brazilian artists such as Carlos Lyra, Vinicius de Moraes and Leny Andrade, Then I formed my own Trio 3-D. Classical, Bossa Nova and Jazz were my main interest in music.

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

AA: – Besides classical music, as I said, I was very interested in Bossa Nova and Jazz, I’ve learned a lot from listening albums and playing on Jam Sessions being a soloist on my groups or accompanying Bossa singers during the 1960’s.

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

AA: – Scales, Arpeggios and jazz improvisation. I think that the fact that I grew up musically during a very rich musical period in Rio also helped a lot. So, the live play practicing was one of the important factors that contributed. I think the need to express yourself through music can also bring the development of technique you need.

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

AA: – By developing my own style naturally, to all my natural musical tedencies, paying attention to what type of music (and musicians) made me feel better no matter what it is.

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

AA: – I really don’t know, and I don’t take any drugs or alcohol; I like to stay quite before performing to not distract my attention. When I am playing with my group, I think the best is to totally focus on the music, on what each music is play to better interact musically.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2020: <BruMa: Celebrating Milton Nascimento>, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

AA: – I like very much the group of musicians who performed with me. They are the BEST!!! Of course, I love the songs by Milton and the way we did in the recording, different from any other interpretation of those songs. I’ve worked with Milton in 1968,. Since then I fell in love with his compositions and his voice, his arrangements, his playing and musical world. He is a genius. It is such a challenge to create an album with his music and keep creative, since his interpretations were (and are) so strong.

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?

AA: – The musicians are pretty much the same who performed with me on previous albums and gigs. And I think I am trying to do my best on  each new album.

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

AA: – I really don’t know how to describe it precisely. But no doubt that music has to come from our soul. Well…, they seem to mix with each other….

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

AA: – I think that it should have a balance as well on that aspect. For example, even if you play a standard tune, what normally pleases the audience, you should present it in a creative way. And I think that artists should have a role of educating as well, besides entertaining. But it is great when you feel that you and the audience are together.

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

AA: – There are several incredible memories. I have a long term experience on both (studio and live) situations. You can imagine how many interesting and memorable situations I have experimented/lived.

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

AA: – Hum,…. Young audiences not always have the same musical taste. Sometimes they can also love standards. Depends on the different  backgrounds and education of each one. And to communicate with whatever audience it is very important to be creative, in other words to be new (freh) all the time. That can a also help.

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

AA: – I think spirit as Coltrane probably said could have the meaning of religion or what one call God. Life without God has no meaning. Now….., God can have different definitions and meanings for different people. This is a deep subject that will be almost impossible to describe in words. I can also say that Music Is My Religion.

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

AA: – Music (art, creativity) cannot be conducted by commercial interests. When there is one, there is no space for the other.

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

AA: – Almost everything….

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

AA: – I am not sure, but I think it is quietness and energy, Peace and Love, I think…, Melody, Harmony and Rhythm….

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

AA: – To the deepest of my soul. I think there is no time involved.

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

AA: – How do you like the music that comes from Brazil? Do like its combination with jazz?

JBN: – Yes, of course!!!

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

AA: – Let’s sing, Let’s play, Let’s listen to music!!! Music can save!!!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Antonio Adolfo - Kalos Music & Art School

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