July 25, 2024


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Interview with Luca Crispino: The intellect gives us the practical and cognitive means: Video, New CD cover

Jazz interview with jazz electro guitarist Luca Crispino. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Luca Crispino: – I was born in Pontecorvo in southern Lazio but I grew up in a small Paduan province. Since I was a child I have been immersed in the world of music, my mother’s whole family has musical experiences and we all play an instrument, but if I approached the world of music it is also thanks to the records that my father left me as a legacy before he left. Listening to what he has heard in the past was a way to create a spiritual bond.

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

LC: – My sound has evolved over time by experimenting with various timbral and technical solutions and still today it is constantly evolving, sometimes it varies according to the type of song or concept. I always try to be original and develop my phrasing and my idea in real time without ever preparing anything before but spontaneously, listening to what happens while we play.

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

LC: – I train daily for a few hours dividing the studio into several sessions, I train with the metronome, I study jazz standards and in addition to this I take the time to play and compose freely. All my practice is contained here. Then there are the sessions with the band and the concerts, I practice a lot of things and I learn them by playing with others.

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

LC: – It is important when you play music that contains improvisations to try to have your language, your signature, to look for your sound, to have something to say. When I play, to avoid external influences that color what I am doing I immerse myself in the sound, approaching the music and detaching myself from the rest, in that dimension your voice resonates stronger. On a practical level, I believe that to develop it it is necessary from the first teaching experiences to maintain a more creative and playful approach to the guitar and not to be influenced too much by systems that become rigid, that tell us what is right or wrong, good or bad. But this is my personal opinion. When we have to play, learn and progress we have to absorb and metabolize as much information as possible. But be careful not to jam the machine.

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

LC: – Daily practice helps, a few days before a performance as well as freely improvising on the songs we will play I prepare myself mentally for the event. I enclose the energy I need in a reservoir, that energy will help me bring out the things I have to say to the audience with my instrument. Personally, I experience it as an inner outlet. And above all, always have fun.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2021: Terreni Kappa – Pequod, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

LC: – Of the new album by Terreni Kappa I love the spontaneity, the melody and the suggestion of the musical themes, some pieces are more nocturnal, other mysteries, tell stories and in its way it is an original album created without preconceptions or mental digressions, collects various genres, from jazz, to prog, to psychedelia but not to be an exercise in style but as a function of the soundscapes that are described, external or internal to ourselves. Pequod by TerreniKappa tells of a journey as the world is, varied, vast and multifaceted. But it also speaks of us, of the musicians who with their sensitivity and experience have contributed to making it special, every musician who participated in the recording comes from different musical worlds. Now I am working on other projects which I hope to finish shortly and make records of them. I’m writing new songs different from the atmospheres from the Pequod album but it’s all at an embryonic level for now.

JBN: – And how did you select the musicians who play on the album?

LC: – The Musicians who participated in the recording are musicians with whom I collaborate in other musical situations and with whom I share the passion for a certain type of music, as I said before, each one of us comes from different genres but from the same root of origin. I admit that it was not easy at the beginning to make the ideas and visions of the project coincide but I believe that this was at the end what made the record special and different. I would also like to say that the whole album was a group work and that every musician participated equally in the realization of ideas, proposals and intentions, a free and open, democratic work.

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

LC: – Personally, for my way of playing and placing myself on the whole world that encompasses music and the arts in general, I believe that the soul has a predominant force, for me art is the manifestation of our inner world, of our past experiences of love and pain, of loss and conquest, of spiritual and revolution, contaminated by the world around us. I believe that in a small part the intellect gives us the practical and cognitive means to accomplish this. But that’s my point of view.

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

LC: – I don’t like performing to please people, if I had to play what people expect I would probably do something else. There may be tastes that coincide with those of those who listen to you, other times they are not there but it is in the sensitivity of the two parties to have a certain type of openness and sacredness of the event taking place. From experience when you are playing music with your heart and passion you can reach everyone and there are no boundaries of genre or tastes. At high altitudes, aesthetics also don’t matter.

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

LC: – Each event contains something special, from funny situations with the group to misadventures to overcome before performing. Among all in particular there was an event that I remember more willingly than the others. We had taken a date for a jazz festival in Trento, it was in an ancient building in the historic center, I remember that when we entered this huge room to start assembling the equipment I was amazed, the whole structure was completely covered with ancient frescoes, beautiful, it was the first time I played in a place like this, it seemed to float, even the performance was special.

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

LC: – We should introduce young people to jazz about the creative, expressive and revolutionary aspect of the improvisation contained in those songs, I believe that if we could get them closer to this they could really get passionate, they could let off steam and have the pleasure of always creating new things. It doesn’t matter if the pieces of half a century come later, the important thing is that they understand the creative act. They would find it beneficial.

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

LC: – Music is our spirit, for every musician it is like that. It is a powerful spirit that lives within us and that we can externalize thanks to our music and we can make it live a life of its own, it is connected to us and to the world around us with sound waves, an amazing energy source. Perhaps the meaning of life is precisely this, externalizing oneself from life itself to understand how it works, observing it from another point of view, difficult to achieve. It is not an easy question to answer, points of view and feelings …

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

LC: – I wouldn’t change anything about all music, there are things I listen to and like and others that just don’t suit me and I don’t go into it. All music is an expression of something and deserves to exist like the others. I wish there were more spaces for all those slightly less mainstream realities, and for all these realities to reach people’s ears. There are some crazy things out there and a lot of people don’t know they exist, young volcanic talents who should have the space they deserve ….. but the names on the bill are always the same, I would change that.

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

LC: – These days I am listening to Ben Monder a lot, he is a fantastic guitarist, I like his ideas and his musical conception.

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

LC: – Perhaps there is an impalpable but very powerful type of energy and that we must all bring out by whatever means we have available.

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

LC: – If I had a time machine maybe I would go through those historical periods where there was a strong and real political and cultural revolution, I would have liked to be part of it or simply witness a real change. Savor another concept of freedom and protest, of experimentation and creative process.

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

LC: – The question I ask you is this. What surprises you when you listen to a song you like?

JBN: – The swing !!!

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

LC: – I will continue to do what I am doing now trying to improve myself day after day, you never stop learning, after a small goal there is immediately another. I will also go in search of the meaning of life so the next time we meet I can give you a clearer answer to your question …… will this be the meaning of life? I hope to see you soon. Thanks for everything Mr. Simon, a hug from Italy.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan