Jazz Interview with Jazz pianist Giovanni Guidi. interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Giovanni Guidi: – I was born in a little town named Foligno , very close to Perugia, that is famous for the Umbria Jazz Festival. My father is a big jazz fan and had a good record collection, so I started to listen music since I opened my eyes. My mother liked opera and classical music , so I raised up with Charlie Parker and Maria Callas, Mozart and Miles Davis in the ears.
JBN.S: – What interested you in picking up the piano?
GG: – I was ten or eleven years old and a friend of mine threw away a piano toy in the garbage, I recuperated it and started to play with it, after some months my parents rented an up-right piano and I started to study it.
JBN.S: – What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the piano you are today? What made you choose the piano?
GG: – At first I had a family friend, who is a piano teacher and I had my first lessons when I was eleven or twelve, then I went to some summer campus like Siena Jazz and Umbria Jazz, where I met other teenagers and we played together under the supervision of the teachers. Finally Ramberto Ciamarughi , a well respected pianist and teacher in Italy gave me very useful lessons.
JBN.S: – What about the Your sound did that influence at all? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
GG: – As I said growing up I listened to a lot of music from pop to rock to jazz. Keith Jarrett was one of my first inspirations. I remember father went to Canad and I asked him to bring some Traffic, Steve Winwood Cds , he returned after 10 days with the CDs, but in the meantime I discovered Keith Jarrett and started to listen his album a lot. Yes Jarrett was my first strong influence, but also Paul Bley, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Hampton Hawes…. I think my style, if I have one, is shaped by the voice of all these heroes .
JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
GG: – I do some exercises , but not really much , usually I start to practice and then my mind flies away I find myself playing a song from Radiohead or some Chris Mc Gregor or a new idea comes and I start to compose a new song.
JBN.S: – Many aspiring musicians are always looking for advice when navigating thru the music business. Is there any piece of advice you can offer to aspiring students or even your peers that you believe will help them succeed and stay positive in this business?
GG: – I really don’t know , each story is a different story. I was lucky enough to be noticed by Enrico Rava, one the gratest jazz players of all the times:, during a summer campus in Siena and brought me in one of his bands. Everything started from there, so for me ir was quite easy to open that door. Now things are more complicated, is a kind of struggle to survive.
JBN.S: – Аnd finally jazz can be a business today and someday?
GG: – To-day is very very difficult surviving with jazz. There is a strong competition among thousands musicians playing all over the world and it seems young audience is not much interested on it, or when they are interested they listen more commercial things. And the part is interested on jazz is not really curious to discover new things.
JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are from half-a-century ago?
GG: – I thing it is a big mistake and a nonsense to continue playing as the models of 1950 or 1960. Music must reflects our times. Even if are bad times unfortunately.
JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
GG: – Yes I agree with John Coltrane, when we face an audience we have to express what our heart, our soul is telling us and share it with the audience.
JBN.S: – What are your hopes and fears for the future of?
GG: – Our times are very difficult, there big changes in act like the migrations, the fact that richness is day by day a matter of few people. I’m afraid that the lesson we got from the past experiences is ignored by a multitude of people and most of the polticians, who govern us are not up to the challenges of our times.
JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?
GG: – I like to collaborate with musicians from other countries,at present I’m collaborating with some young refugees from Gambia and Senegal. They come from from different backgrounds and I love to discover new things. I’m also starting to write music for theatre.
JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between the blues/jazz and the genres of local folk music and traditional forms?
GG: – Yes I think so and I’m listening and studying a lot of traditional music: from Africa, India …
JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
GG: – The Beethoven sonatas played by Andrè Schiff, December Avenue by Tomasz Stanko ( I made a tour with him and Enrico Rava during the past summer) an Italian singer and songwriter named Fabrizio De Andrè, some David Virelles and Craig Taborn stuff, the Vijay Ivyer sextet, the band of a Aaaron Burnett, a very interesting young saxophone player, Shabaka Hutchings …
Conversation led: Simon Sargsyan