May 29, 2024

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Interview with Massimo Colombo: I follow my idea hoping people will appreciate it: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist and composer Massimo Colombo. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Massimo Colombo: – I was born and I live in Italy. I started to get involved into music when I was a child. I was listening to the radio once and I had been impressed by an organ melody and I told my father: “I wish I played that instrument”. Fortunately I got the organ in a few time.

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

MC: – I moved to the piano a few years later, because a musician friend of mine suggested me it: my teacher Alberto Colombo (no link/relationship with my surname) was a very well known performer; he taught me to deepen into pianistic technique and to work on sound. Later I took my degree with him at Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi in Milan.

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

MC: – Sound in piano is essential, despite many pianists don’t care about it. I’m always looking for the right color, instead. I think that the right technique is inside the beauty of sound and every day I practice to reach this goal.

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

MC: – I play every day “The Well Tempered Clavier” vol I andsome of my compositions.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now?You’re playing is very sensitive, deft, it’s smooth, and I’d say you drift more toward harmony than dissonance. There is some dissonance there, but you use it judiciously. Is that a conscious decision or again, is it just an output of what goes in?

MC: – I’m interested in harmony, but even more in counterpoint, because chords descending from the bumping of voices are surprising and unexpected.

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

MC: – I wrote more than 700 pieces for piano: that’s enough to learn how focusing on myself.

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

MC: – I’d say 50% for each, maybe sometimes 20/80, maybe 60/40.

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

MC: – I follow my idea hoping people will appreciate it, but I don’t let audience influence me; it wouldn’t be correct in an artistic way.

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

MC: – Even if compositions are old you can make them fresher through a particular approach: sound, harmony and rythm can change everything.

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

MC: – Every day I wake up and start playing, except when I’m on a journey.

The kind of music I choose marks the spirit of the day.

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

MC: – More sincerity, less business.

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

MC: – I often listen to J.S. Bach, or Brad Mehldau, Bud Powell or Wayne Shorter, who’s among my favourite composers.

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

MC: – I know the past, I’d like to see what’s going on to music in the future.

My latest record “Powell to the People” is dedicated to Bud Powell, who I deeply love and who stay by my side since I was a boy. In 2019 I’m publishing a new album focused on the music of Weather Report. I chose the same orchestrallayout; then I’m working on series of records with my piano compositions.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan


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