Interview with Enzo Pietropaoli: The soul is always very prevalent over the intellect: Video

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Jazz interview with jazz bassist Enzo Pietropaoli. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Enzo Pietropaoli: – I grew up in a family context where music was not considered a possible job so I lost many years before I realized that this passion of mine could become the main activity of my life. At home we didn’t even have a record player and so all the musical influences of my early years came from the radio

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

EP: – My sound has developed over the years through the musical experience and listening the great masters, but I have never done a specific work in this direction.

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

EP: – In my life there have been periods of intense study and others where I only touched my instrument when I was doing a concert. In the past I used to practice with a metronome, but lately I prefer drum loops and it helps me a lot for the rhythm and it is also more stimulating. I am not a constant person and I am also a bit lazy, but the music is always with me and I think that you can grow as a musician even when you don’t have your instrument in your hand.

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

EP: – This is the most important thing for me. I love very different musical genres and my goal is to always be myself, not to adapt my personality to a style but to do the opposite. To achieve this you have to make courageous choices and accept to work less, but then you are rewarded by the wonderful feeling of being yourself and giving your original contribution to music.

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

EP: – I have probably been very lucky in my life because all the things in music have always come out naturally and without particular mental or psychological preparation, surely before a new job I try to familiarize myself with the music by trying the new songs, but not too much because I risk losing my naturalness.

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

EP: – I can say that the soul is always very prevalent over the intellect, when I practice a little less, but in concert the soul is everything.

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

EP: – The audience is made up of many different individuals, so it is impossible to know what they want. But I am sure that, beyond the musical genres, they need sincerity, they wants to receive emotions, to be stimulated to discover new things, and this is what I would like to be able to give them, trying to avoid compromises.

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

EP: – I have been playing for 45 years and it is very difficult to choose among all the beautiful episodes that I have lived thanks to music, certainly the youth experiences are the ones that have marked me the most, and therefore I remember the very first concerts and recordings with masters like Chet Baker and Lee Konitz, or a tour in the USA with Ginger Baker, drummer of Cream, one of my favorite bands when I was very young and I played Rock, I remember the sweetness of Toots Thielemans, the energy of Lester Bowie, the irony of John Scofield, l humility shown by giants like Michael Brecker and Pat Metheny, but all the people I have played with have left an indelible mark on me.

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

EP: – Personally, since many years, I try to imagine that today’s standards are nothing more than beautiful songs, like those of George Gershwin or Cole Porter, and therefore instead of recording yet another version of My Funny Valentine or Bye Bye Blackbird, I propose my interpretation of a Bob Dylan song, or Radiohead, or Joni Mitchell, or Peter Gabriel, or Pearl Jam and so on and on. But playing a lot of American standards in my early years was very helpful and fun.

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

EP: – I believe that a single life is not enough to give a sensible answer to such a profound question.

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

EP: – My dream would be to bring children closer to music when they are still small, when they are like little sponges that absorb everything, and to do this not to create many new future musicians but to form a more mature and sensitive audience, less manipulable from a certain type of record industry.

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

EP: – Jazz, rock, pop, progressive country, classical, folk, soul, all the good old and new music I discover every day.

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

EP: – Love and culture.

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

EP: – Between the late 60’s and early 70’s.

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

EP: – Are you happy?

JBN: – I’m not an idiot․ So – so, thanks!!

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

EP: – Honestly I’m not able and I don’t know if I’ll succeed one day, but life is beautiful because we are always looking for something and this research makes us alive.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

INTERVIEW WITH ENZO PIETROPAOLI - Bass My Fever - Covering all the "basses"

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