May 24, 2024

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Interview with Antonio Colangelo: The intellect helps to progress, study and produce: Video

Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Antonio Colangelo. An interview by email in writing. – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?

Antonio Colangelo: – I grew up in Italy, in the south, in a village called Stigliano, in the Basilicata region. I have lived in Brazil for 13 years, in Florianópolis. I have been interested in music since I was a child. I bought the first keyboard with 5 years. With 7 I was already going to piano lessons. I studied piano up to 12 years. After that, with 14 years I bought my first guitar and went for rock & roll. But the first music I was deeply interested in was classical music, through the study of the piano.

JBN: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound? What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?

AC: – The experience of playing different genres, especially at the beginning, is essential in melting your hands and mind! Further on, I believe two things in particular made the difference: the study of music theory and transcriptions. Music theory has stimulated me to seek a path, a personal direction in the sea of ​​possibilities that open up to you. The transcriptions instead made me understand with time which direction I wanted to take. The direction an artist takes is always the sum of his experiences with his musical reference points. Being aware of what this direction is and what its constituent elements are makes a crucial difference.

As for the study, however, currently due to the many commitments, I cannot maintain a fixed study routine. I study when I can. As for me, I think the secret is to focus on a few elements and study them well. Then during the study always try to apply them through the repertoire and improvisation. Theory and technique must never be dissociated from practice. The same theory must be taken in pills. Rhythm permeates everything that I study in everything I do. I never study in an isolated form but always associated with something else.

JBN: – Can you tell us more about your influences and how your musical identity has developed over the years?

AC: – I listened and still listen to everything. I have never had any kind of prejudice, nor have I ever felt the need or desire to belong to any church. Listening from Funk and R&B to World Music. From Jazz to Classical Music. I listen to a lot of Latin and Brazilian music. African and Oriental music. I try to combine all of this through Jazz. I think my identity is still open to a sea of ​​possibilities. Having an overly defined identity is like being inside a cage.

Artists who influenced me: Bach, Debussy, Ravel, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, James Brown, John Coltrane, Jamiroquai, Avishai Cohen, Dhafer Youssef, The Chemical Brother, Paquito d ‘Riveira, João Bosco, Tom Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Ivan Lins and many others. As guitarists, however, I can quote Jimi Hendrix, Freddie King, Robben Ford, Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jesse Van Ruller, Helio Delmiro, Ricardo Silveira and Chico Pinheiro.

JBN: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what youre doing?

AC: – When you play you have to let the music flow. You don’t have to force anything. If you are studying a specific topic, theme or artist, the moment you play you must forget it. You must feel the music in your soul, ideas must start from the mind and then reach the hands, not the other way around. The moment you are playing, improvising or composing you must be present: concentrated, relaxed and happy. You must try to understand what your space is in that particular context and fit in better. You have to put yourself at the service of music and not put music at your service.

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

AC: – When I have to play I usually concentrate my studies on the Gig repertoire. Playing it enough. Looking for new ideas. Trying to apply different ideas. Focusing on the studies on things I’d like to hear in that context: specific forms of playing arpeggios, scales, chromatisms, licks, harmonies, inversions of chords and re-harmonizations. The rhythm permeates all this. I like to feel confident, relaxed and creative, this feeling helps me to maintain a spiritual and musical resistance.

JBN: – Ism is culled from a variety of lives dates with various performers over the course of a few years. Did your sound evolve during that time? And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?

AC: – In recent years I have played with incredible artists. This proximity already makes you evolve as a sound and as a human being. In recent years I have played in various projects of Jazz and Brazilian Music with a great bassist friend, Vincenzo Maurogiovanni. He was decisive in the production of this work, involving three other incredible musicians in the project: Pier Luigi Villani (drums) Mirko Maria Matera (piano and synths) and Cesare Pastanella (percussion). In Brazil, however, where I produced 2 music, I recorded with musicians I knew and admired for some time: Rafael Calegari (bass). Neto Fernandez (Drums), Fabio Mello (sax) and Cristian Faig (transverse flute). Decisive elements in the choice of musicians were certainly the original artistic personality, in terms of the search for its own sound, creativity, experience and professionalism. The fact that all of them are people with whom it is easy to work with was also decisive in terms of results.

JBN: – Whats the balance in music between intellect and soul?

AC: – The intellect helps to progress, study and produce. My music and music in general for me is 100% soul.

JBN: – Theres a two-way relationship between audience and artist; youre okay with giving the people what they want?

AC: – I am my own audience. I give people what I wish I was given. Not lying to myself, I can’t lie to others.

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

AC: – The recording sections of “Tabaco y Azucar” will always remain etched in my soul. There was an atmosphere of friendship and collaboration, both in Brazil and in Italy, everyone had their own space in proposing ideas and solutions. On the advice of one of my great friend, Alegre Correa (grammy award with the album 75 by Joe Zawinull), I arrived in the studio with the tracks structured to a minimum, in order to give as much space as possible to the musicians involved. We proceeded by structuring each song together, trying it out and recording it as much as possible. third take Some tracks are takes 1. Once the track has been recorded, we moved on to the next and so on. Everyone’s participation has created a very special atmosphere that can be heard on the disc. A work that pulsates, breathes, is deeply alive.

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

AC: – The beauty of jazz is that everything is constantly re-invented. It doesn’t matter when a song was written. I think an exemplary path was traced by Miles Davis. To restrict jazz to a certain type of repertoire or instrumentation is to deprive it of its very essence. Many people who listen to Jacob Collier, Esperanza Spalding or Snarky Puppy don’t even know who Charlie Parker is. Jazz is not a church, with its patron saints and its religious authorities. To educate young people to jazz is to educate them to freedom.

JBN: – What are your thoughts on the state of jazz music today and the direction the genre is currently being taken on?

AC: – I think jazz is experiencing one of its best moments. One of the main reasons is the fact that it has been cleared through customs. Today’s jazz is attracting a young audience, which listens and produces new trends. Until a few years ago Jazz was dying in its niche, as sophisticated music for an old elite, who frequented expensive clubs and used jazz as a status label. For a few years we have witnessed a return of traditional formations playing the same old standards. The scenes of New York, London, Amsterdam, Sao Paulo, Melbourne, Israel, Bari, etc. they approximated jazz to other styles by redeeming it for what it really is: a universal language.

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

AC: – I would eliminate envy. Being an art, egos are hypertrophic. People who should be an example in the minds of many turn into imaginary enemies. If we dedicated ourselves less to criticism and more to the state of our art and the art of our colleagues, we would perhaps finally be able to perceive ourselves as a class, instead of a series of isolated atoms gone mad. This perception would certainly strengthen our work and all our actions.

JBN: – What are you listening to, reading and/or watching these days?

AC: – I’m listening to Ivan Lins, especially an album with the Metropole Orchestra, an incredible job, a gold mine. I am reading an anthology by Eduardo Galeano, one of my favorite writers. I’m watching old Chick Corea Electric Band videos on youtube.

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

AC: – I want to explore the possibilities and sounds of a hybrid and syncretic music, which wants to dissolve the symbolic dictatorship of blood, memory and roots in its slippery maritime spaces. In this climate of hatred that has spread in recent years in Europe and the Americas, I believe in the need for new identity processes, more humanist, pacifist and cosmopolitan, which in music can meet one of the most beautiful and effective forms of concretization.

JBN: – As a nod to Pannonica, if you had three wishes, what would they be? Lets take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

AC: – I’d like to get to know Africa, from North to South from East to West. It’s where we all come from. I’d like to see people more at peace with themselves and with others. Less imprisoned in their world, more conscious and involved in public life. My biggest wish is in a world where a hot plate, a roof, a school and a job are guaranteed to everyone.

If I could travel through time I would certainly choose to travel into the future. I am a very curious person and I would like to see from here in 200 years how we will be reduced.

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

AC: – What was the spark that made you love jazz? Mine has a name … Django Reinhardt!

JBN: – Mine has a names: John Coltrane, Charlie parker, Charles Mingus, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, John Scofield … and yes, of course, Django Reinhardt …

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

AC: – My posture in relation to music has not changed. It is the same as when I was 7 years old and I went to piano lessons with my neighbor. I give myself to music. The relationship between me and music is essentially a love relationship. Everything I have given to music in recent years has been paid to me in duplicate. I think that’s the secret. Continue with the modesty of a young student, the enthusiasm of a teenager and the experience of an adult. If you want to do this job it is important to define goals and objectives, but without ever losing touch with that primordial pleasure that music gives us. We must never forget that it is for that primordial pleasure that we have chosen to be musicians.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan


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