The St. Gallen Claude Diallo lived in New York for eleven years and recommends the city to every young jazz musician. The world-famous pianist and composer accuses the Swiss jazz club scene of lacking competence.
In five days, he could organize a ten-day tour of Japan via Facebook, says the East Swiss jazz pianist Claude Diallo. However, when the internationally active musician, who was born in 1981, repeatedly called on the Basel jazz club Bird’s Eye for an appearance, he received an e-mail with the words “Patience, my friend”. He can only rub his eyes.
He knows colleagues who have won the Swiss Jazz Award and yet were not allowed to perform in the Zurich Club Moods. “And if I recommend there a band that has won the Grammy, they do not even know them.” With the Swiss jazz club scene diallo goes at least tough on the court: “The lack of expertise that I feel there, annoys me.”
«Swiss are missing the attack»
Claude Diallo’s success as a jazz pianist is completely determined by his view that he flew out early. “I would not have got any further here.” He quit the St. Gallen Jazz School to study in Boston at the famous Berklee College of Music. At that time he was only laughed at in St. Gallen. Diallo has learned one thing above all abroad: persistence. For him, she has become the key to success. He stubbornly tried to study with a high school teacher in Boston in 2004 and not at any one.
Raymond Santisi, where celebrities such as Keith Jarrett or Diana Krall went to school, has added Diallo to his class. “There is still a lack of color in your game, but we can do it,” he encouraged the young Swiss. Diallo likes to remember another teacher, Charlie Banacos. At 5.30am he sometimes had his lesson there. Banacos told him: “You realize that you Swiss were never at war, there is also missing in the piano playing the attack.”
Fighting, staying tuned, writing 350 e-mails to play “Fifty Five” in New York: In Switzerland, one might write an e-mail and then give up in frustration, says Diallo. By the beginning of 2018, eleven years, he lived in New York, played jazz and directed a music school, almost to the point of burnout. “With us, fighting stance is considered bad, in New York you need it.” Diallo once told an organizer that he was good, “I’m playing okay.” He said, “If only you okay I can not take you seriously. “Claude Diallo has met a scene in New York that he found unprejudiced, open, frank and free. “I sometimes fell on my face. And New York is a city that also has fears, but the fact that I have to perform the best in every situation has given my career a tremendous boost. “He could only recommend flying out of Switzerland to any young jazz player.
“Here in Switzerland, you do not like to hear criticism,” says Claude Diallo, who would like to abolish the term jazz altogether, because he is now rather frightening. He also regrets seeing only older audiences in his Swiss concerts today. To really be successful, you have to play abroad as a Swiss jazz musician.
Learned not to mince words
Diallo has also spent a year and a half in China, learning Chinese. “In China, I’ve learned that it does not matter where you live. You can achieve the same everywhere. But not with Swiss politeness. “He has learned by flying that he does not mince his words, even if he is now strongly criticizing the St. Gallen culture festival on Facebook for the fact that the musicians are chattering in an unprecedented noise level Audience would have to play. He finds this “primitive”. He himself would have canceled an appearance there immediately.
Claude Diallo has flown out and made a name for himself outside of Switzerland. And now it is the love that made him fly back. He lives with his young family for several months in Trogen, where he also teaches at the Kantonsschule.