June 25, 2024


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Interview with Claudio Angeleri: I just try to be myself all the time: Video

Jazz interview with jazz pianist and composer Claudio Angeleri. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Claudio Angeleri: – In jazz the musician autographs his artistic production. He does not express the ideas of others but brings his vision of the world and life. So, it captures stimuli and influences also very different and places them in an original framework made of contrasts and soft colors, of general and infinitely particular. This is the miracle of jazz.

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

CA: – The performance is the moment in which events take place both controllable and in the making of which we do not know the contours. It depends on many factors around us: the response of the audience, the quality of the sound of that stage, the mechanics of the instrument, the reactions between the musicians that is the interplay. It’s the most fascinating moment of a musician’s life and I’m used to prepare it at his best by studying in the days and hours before, trying with others, taking care of the sounds at the sound check. But it is also intriguing to leave a margin of mystery and unknown that transforms your music when you produce it as if it had its own autonomy and independent personality, to discover. After all, the concert is a journey of which it is not important to know the goal but to live fully while you do.

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

CA: – In jazz you don’t write music in an abstract way without knowing who will play it. You write for those musicians, for their personalities and for their artistic and human characteristics. So I’ve chosen some musicians I’ve been working with for a long time that I know and that know the evolution of my music. Above all, they are willing to get themselves in the game and risk their certainties. To the core of reference, however, I added two new personalities on paper that responded to my ideas and brought new instrumental colors: the violin by Virginia Sutera and the electric guitar very rock by Michele Gentilini. Two opposite yet incredibly complementary worlds for their artistic and human qualities. In the end the result was far above expectations.

JBN: – What are your main impulses to write music?

CA: – It is a spontaneous and natural process that has always been present in me since I was a child. It is like reopening every time a spring that flows from the mind and heart even if at certain times it is left parked. But there is and is always alive. So I draw on it when I am offered a professional opportunity to realize a new production as in this case from a prestigious theater attentive to the “dangerous” attractions between different languages. In this case between literature and music.

JBN: – What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments and pieces in your work and/or career?

CA: – I am definitely a lucky person because I made my job my life. It is not a simple thing that happens accidentally because it is a conquest that must be renewed every day, every moment. I would be lying if I said that playing in an important festival in front of a beautiful audience is the same as when I sit in front of the piano every day. However it is a ritual that regenerates every day and makes me alive. Then there are many memories to which I am fond. The last time I played as a soloist with a symphony orchestra the music of Ellington, or when I opened with my music some concerts of Mingus, Gillespie and Oscar Peterson. I remember their words perfectly in the stage change.

JBN: – You’re very active politically online, but you’ve mentioned that you keep it separate from your music?

CA: – If by politics we mean a high and sincere value to improve the conditions of us musicians in a society increasingly inattentive to art and culture, I consider myself a long-standing political activist. I am engaged on various fronts especially with MIDJ, the national association of jazz musicians in Italy. Even in this case I tend not to separate this commitment from my music even if it is necessary to be lucid and objective and know how to take a step back for the common good.

JBN: – How would you describe and rate the music scene you are currently living?

CA: – It’s extraordinary. I’m completely immersed in a very lively and competitive artistic process in the best sense of the word. Every day I hear original music and many young musicians of great talent that stimulate me to improve and research.

JBN: – When you improvise, you know where you’re going. It’s a matter of taking certain paths and certain directions?

CA: – Good question. In reality we all want to be perfect and translate our ideas and emotions into music in the best way and for this reason we study a lot. Jazz then forces you to be creative and different every time. However we are imperfect human beings and these “mistakes” make our music unique. Sometimes we are sometimes less satisfied although our negative perception has sometimes turned out to be much more stimulating than other more reassuring ones.

JBN: – Do you ever get the feeling that music majors, and particularly people who are going into jazz, are being cranked out much like business majors? That they are not really able to express themselves as jazz musicians?

CA: – Definitely yes. In my opinion, the worst damage done to man in the last twenty years has been done by television, which has created a very low cultural background that is also translated into music. Above all, it has accustomed people to hear and no longer to listen, to see and not to observe. Even social media, Instagram in particular, offer us a fast and superficial world that does not give the time to go deeper.

JBN: – What about somebody who is really gifted and puts together a band and just gets upset to the point of quitting because of the business aspects-the agents and the clubs?

CA: – For me, abandonment is always a defeat. We must continue to fight to change things even when we seem to be fighting against windmills. Reality is much more ephemeral and fragile than it appears and so many situations that seemed unshakable disappeared in an instant and no one missed it. We must focus on the strength of ideas and convictions in an inexorable and serene way.

JBN: – And lastly, being a teacher, do you find it difficult to write music yourself?

CA: – In reality, a musician is never alone. Of course he sometimes needs to isolate himself to produce and concentrate but even in those moments he brings with him a life full of social relations and encounters that he has in everyday life. Especially if you’re in close contact with kids in a school. The learning process is absolutely reciprocal if one is placed in a receptive and open attitude. Young people have the ability to question us. This does not necessarily mean changing your mind, although it is contemplated, but to check if our convictions hold up against you and come out stronger and more defined than before because enriched by the equal exchange with kids.

JBN: – How important is it to you to have an original approach?

CA: – I don’t question it objectively. I just try to be myself all the time.

JBN: – Can you comment on the bridge between being a musician and being a composer?

CA: – They are two types of opposite cognitivities. Visual and audiotactile cognitivities. The jazz player is luckier because he comes from the audiotactile and therefore has a different awareness when working with the visual codes of the composition. The jazz man therefore always works in the “how” and not in the “what” to write and in this way he gets extraordinary results that are fixed on the score.

JBN: – Do you have an idea of what it is you’re trying to say or get across? Is it an idea or is it just something that we feel?

CA: – I believe I have already answered that question. In any case I would say that the complete identification between man and musician leads us to be what we play. And it is not a small thing.

JBN: – What do you see for your extended future? You know what you have going on? You have life?

CA: – It’s not just a figure of speech but I really try to live the day to the fullest by letting the sum of so many different fragments realize my future. This way I am quite at peace with myself and I will not be paralyzed if the results do not arrive immediately. They almost always come in an unexpected way but they come because they depend only on ourselves. Everyone is responsible for their own future.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Claudio Angeleri - Wikipedia

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