July 13, 2024

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Interview with Christoph Gallio։ I like the interplay, the interaction in the band: Video, new CD cover, Photos

Jazz interview with jazz soprano saxophonist Christoph Gallio. An interview by email in writing. 

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

Christoph Gallio: – I grew up in Switzerland and Italy. A radio program “per voi giovani” with great music (Zappa, Hendrix, Prog rock etc., hosted by Lucio Dalla gave me a taste for it. And at high school, older students infected me with Miles, Greatful Dead, Soft Machine etc..

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

CHG: – First of all, I had to free my sound from the classic saxophone sound. How do you get your sound? With an idea of how you want to sound. With a lot of practice. Playing long tones. Again and again, every day. And by not changing the mouthpiece and the reed brand every 6 months…;-)…

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

CHG: – I play scales and long notes and then I improvise. Staccato exercises and circular exercises (even if you don’t use them then) are good exercises.

JBN: – How do you keep stray, or random, musical influences from diverting you from what you’re doing?

CHG: – Coincidences do not distract me, but enrich my musical activity. The unforeseen throws you off your usual track. I see that as something positive.

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

CHG: – I concentrate on the day. I try to stay with myself. The one or other yoga exercise also helps. On the other hand, they are just normal days like any other. I do not differentiate. But of course concert days are special days. Days that you share – with the audience.

JBN: – What do you love most about your new album 2022: DAY & TAXI, how it was formed and what you are working on today.

CHG: – In particular, I like the interplay, the interaction in the band. I also like the order, the choreography of the CD. I love albums that have a beginning and an end. And the in-between is the way.

DAY & TAXI has been around since 1988, with different rhythm sections. The current bass player has been with the band for over eight years now and Gerry, the drummer, has been with the band since 2018.

Today I am working with very young musicians. A quartet – vocalist, bass, drums and me on sax. We are working on a setting of a long poem (69 units) by Gertrude Stein. They are composed miniatures. In May we will go into the studio with it.

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

CHG: – Well, we are a working band. Silvan Jeger came to my attention as a young bass player in other bands. I like his sound and the way he plays. Gerry Hemingway? A world class drummer! Who lives in Switzerland.

JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

CHG: – That’s exactly 50 / 50…;-)

You can not forget the humor!

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

CHG: – Yes, that’s OK. But it’s not like I’m serving them. That I fulfill their wishes. That could quickly lead to disappointment…;-)…I also provide opportunities for the audience. The possibility to create his own images, feelings etc based on what is offered by the music. I try to leave the music open, so that it can unfold in the most different directions.

JBN: – Can you share any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions over the years?

CHG: – I only have good memories of most of them. If I were to go into detail, I would be testing the reader’s patience…;-)….

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

CHG: – Good question! Well, by reinterpreting the old tunes or by writing your own standards.

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

CHG: – That’s exactly how I see it, too. Music gives strength, can heal, is motivating and happiness-bringing…consciousness-expanding…(mostly). However, one must distinguish between producer and consumer. As a creator of music there can sometimes be frustration and cramps, but as is well known, you grow from it.

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

CHG: – Well, if organizers with prejudices that say “our audience doesn’t like that” could disappear. That would be nice. And if people didn’t think they could get rich in a monetary sense with everything (including music).

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

CHG: – McCoy Tyner (Today And Tomorrow – with the great John Gilmore), Fiona Apple, Elvis Costello (The Boy Named if),  Jeanne Lee/Ran Blake (The Newest Sound Around), George Russel Sextet (Ezz-thetics)

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

CHG: – That’s almost a too big question! What can music transport? What is the message? The same as Patti Smith, the late Coltrane, Albert Ayler have and had…that one must not lose the humor…poetry…the beauty of everything and everyone…and above all respect and tolerance.

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

CHG: – A further journey into my inner self that I still do not know enough. There is certainly still much to discover!

JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…

CHG: – How can a musician answer interview questions without feeling like the center of attention all the time? Can this become an addiction and to what extent does it prevent you from moving on to the really important things (if you can recognize the important things as important)?

JBN: – Just feel free and give freedom to the intellect and the soul, the answers will be written themselves.

JBN: – At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?

CHG: – That both of us are satisfied.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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