Jazz interview with jazz guitarist Francesco Zampini. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.com: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music?
Francesco Zampini: – I started to play guitar when I was ten, because I heard Eddie Van Halen. At that ;me I was really into heavy metal and hard rock. I come from a musical family so, music has always been there.
JBN: – How did your sound evolve over =me? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
FZ: – I naturally stepped into blues a@er a few years and I discovered improvisa;on. That’s were my real evolu;on started.
JBN: – What prac=ce rou=ne or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
FZ: – I would say five hours a day are more than enough for me. I usually prac;ce sight reading, transcrip;ons, polyrhythms, composi;on and some;mes I just explore on the guitar. I always discover new things.
JBN: – How do you prepare before your performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?
FZ: – It’s always diﬀerent, but in general I like to stay with the rest of the I like the vibes before a performance.
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 =me? And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?
FZ: – Studio or live gigs are sort of the same thing for me. I only have one rule: play with musicians who are bePer than you. That’s the most eﬀec;ve way to prac;ce and learn about music.
JBN: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
FZ: – Well, like Herbie Hancock said: “some/mes I let my ears running, some/me my hands and some/mes my mind”. I think there is no bePer way to describe this balance.
JBN: – There’s a two-way rela=onship between audience and ar=st; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?
FZ: – It is always challenging, because you never know what kind of audience you are going to play in front of. A musician should be able to adapt the music to the audience, according to his playing.
JBN: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
FZ: – There are two key experiences: the recording session for this album of mine was just magical. We had never really play together before that, at least not with Alex Sipiagin, but the result is absolutely nothing like I would have ever imagined. Beyond the music, the human connec;on we shared in those days was the most important factor. The second experience is about my performance at the Interna/onal Guitar Compe//on 2019, promoted by the Herbie Hancock Ins/tute of Jazz. There I had the chance to play in front of a legendary jury: Pat Metheny, Stanley Jordan, Russell Malone, Lee Ritenour and Chico Pinheiro. It was a special, intense and exci;ng moment.
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
FZ: – There are many ways to play a standard. I always show to my students both classic and modern ways to play over standards.
JBN: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
FZ: – First of all we are human beings. Music speaks directly to our souls and has the power to elevate our spirit with no discrimina;on. Trane also said: “I know there are bad forces, forces that bring pain and suﬀering to others and misery to the world, but I want to be the opposite force. I want to be a force which is truly for good”. To me, this is the meaning of life.
JBN: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
FZ: – Follow the music, not the market. People should have equal access to any kind of music in order to develop their own tastes. As Frank Zappa said: “The person who is in the execu/ve chair may not be the final arbiter of taste of the en/re popula/on”
JBN: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
FZ: – Lage Lund, Gerald Clayton, John Coltrane and classical music as well: Ravel, Debussy and Mahler.
JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
FZ: – As I said: hope and courage.
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a =me machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
FZ: – Honestly, I wouldn’t really know. I think I am very lucky to be in the present so, let’s deal with it.
JBN: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a ques=on from yourself…
FZ: – I want to ask you the same ques;on you asked me before: How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
JBN: – We incarnate on the Earth to develop ourselves, because our soul wants to develop certain traits further, like e.g. unconditional love, joy, honesty, modesty and humbleness. Thus life can be regarded like a school to train certain aspects of our personality. What we don’t learn in the current incarnation remains to be trained in one of the next incarnations. Often, this process of developing the above mentioned traits is also called «getting a higher consciousness or awareness» or self-realization.
JBN: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?
FZ: – During these months I started to write music for a third album as a leader. I think this will be my main goal for 2021, maybe 2022.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan