May 20, 2024

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Interview with Alessio Menconi: We think too much sometimes and we don’t feel too much: Video

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Alessio Menconi. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Alessio Menconi: – My Father was a part time musician and he gives me Beatles records and some iritis rock/blues as Led Zeppeli, Deep Purple and also Hendrix. I was in love with this kind of music and with guitar so, I start to learn by my self.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the guitar? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the guitar?

AM: – I had an acoustic guitar at home and I wanted to learn solos of my heroes like Blackmore, Clapton and Jimmy Page. I had few lessons but mainly I learn by my self

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

AM: – I always think about my sound trying to develop it … I don’t know how … I play, her my self and work on it mainly with my mind.

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

AM: – I play straight music and I find some new and best ways to play a particular song, chord, melody. I like also to learn new song and find my way to play it. I don’t need to practice technique.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?

AM: – I love brazilian composers from 60ies and 70ies and the way they use harmonies. I love also Coltrane harmonies and patterns.

JBN.S: – Which are the best jazz albums for you of 2017 year?


AM: – I like Cécile McLorin Salvant “Dreams and Daggers”.

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

AM: – I think you miss “heart”. We think too much sometimes and we don’t feel too much. I’m trying to figure a white paper in front of me while I’m playing live and I want to surprise myself.

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

AM: – I was really excited when I played with Billy Cobham Band….I was young and he was one of my heroes.

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?

AM: – In these cases personal choices take over. If you think too much about the buiseness you risk not to be yourself to the end, this is why I chose to play only the music I love and above all with my style. I believe that if you play with sincerity you will find your space also in the buiseness

JBN.S: – Аnd furthermore, can jazz be a business today or someday?

AM: – Unfortunately there is less and less jazz around … and the records are no longer sold. We keep playing.

JBN.S: – Which collaboration have been the most important experiences for you?

AM: – I have many collaborations in my mind and everyone was important. I can remember Cobham, Jimmy Cobb, Albert Heath, Red Holloway …

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

AM: – Often people need to be lucky to have someone at home or some friends that introduce him to jazz music.

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

AM: – I do not believe you can understand the spirit … life is like the water of a flowing river, it does not stop and it is never the same, and so is the spirit. I believe that the only thing to do with life and music is to try to give more to others, to try to feel the love you have inside and give it to others. Make people understand how you are feeling and how much love you have inside.

JBN.S: – What are your expectations of the future? What brings you fear or anxiety?

AM: – I’m happy about what I’m doing and I don’t have fear or anxiety. I’m playing around the world and I teach proveately and online so, I’m fine.

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

AM: – I would like to add art and music culture in the world, through the media as TV, radio, schools, less social networks and more clubs and concerts.

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between jazz and world music, including folk music?

AM: – I think you can put jazz music anywhere! If Hancock, Brecker or Zawinul plays with some folk singer (as the did) you can feel immediately jazz feeling and their big personality.

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

AM: – I love to listen to many kind of music and I love songs: brazilian music, great composers as Bacharach or Beatles and I’m discovering also african music

JBN.S: – What’s your current setup?

AM: – I play mainly three vintage Gibson of the 60ies: A 175, Johnny Smith and L5
.

I like amps Roland JC 120 or Twin. I use cìsometimes a Strymon delay and when I play with my jazz-rock trio I add some pedals: Muthron, Pog, Overdrive, phaser.

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

AM: – I would like to live during late 60ies for the energy of that time and because there were so many high level musicians.

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

AM: – What do you expect from jazz today?

JBN.S: – Thank you for answers. Jazz is life today, tomorrow, and the future!!!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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