June 22, 2024


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Interview with Chieli Minucci: My real intention is to please me: Video

Jazz interview with guitarist Chieli Minucci․ An interview by email in writing.

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

Chieli Minucci: – I grew up in Queens, NY, mostly Forest Hills, where I still reside. Music was always part of my home – my father was a concert pianist and composer. I’d hear him playing every day as a child. I later became close with my friends through playing in bands, since I was about 13 years old.  My interest in music soared as a teenager because of the fellowship of musicians I surrounded myself with.

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

CHM: – My own sound has simply been the accumulation & influence of the many styles of music I’ve listened and played since I was young. I never actually set out to develop my own sound, just went where the music took me in a natural sort of progression. I am drawn to certain guitar tones for reasons I can’t explain.

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

CHM: – Simply playing the guitar as much as possible, combined with learning new music, has been the key to my development as a player. Rhythm is the final frontier – learning to find the right part, and then making it swing. It just takes time and patience. My sense of rhythm playing is better now than ever before.

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

CHM: – I don’t. I believe that all the music out there, all the many styles, on radio, internet, social media, movies, even commercials – influences in a positive way. The more distractions the better!

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

CHM: – That’s part of life itself. It’s a kind of spiritual physics that many professional musicians know about. The flow of energy is often unpredictable, so best to learn the music as well as possible, master the songs, melodies, and memorize.. since you never really know what’s really going to happen when you perform it. As for stamina, the more you play, the more you travel, the more energy comes. The stamina comes from the doing.

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

CHM: – I mentioned it before. It’s a mix of technical ability and passion. Learning the notes, playing the parts – something many can do. But passion is the person, so who is playing those parts will bring their unique vibe. That’s the magic!

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

CHM: – Of course. Getting the energy to happen onstage is the starting point. When it flows into the audience it gives meaning to life! That’s the reason we tour.  It’s the pursuit of that connection!

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

JBN: – Hey dude, don’t have a memories, young man?

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

CHM: – There are many ways. Live performance is always fun to experience. Live, not video. And when young people play with fire and intensity, young listeners respond and relate. It’s easy to identify when the performers are the same age as the listeners. Occasionally we see young audiences transformed by older musicians, just as long as they play with fire and conviction.

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

CHM: – Perhaps he simply meant that he loved music on a deeper level than most. I believe he did! For me the spirit refers to my thoughts, experiences,  and dreams. But it is only in the doing that one finds this. The meaning of life? Live, eat, procreate, help your fellows, live and die. I don’t know.

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

CHM: – Nothing at all. It’s all happening the way it was destined to happen. There are styles of music and art that I do not relate to, yet I am sure that they have their place in people’s lives.

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

CHM: – As always, many different kinds of music, depending on my mood. I love Tommy Emmanuel’s playing, just discovering that more and more. When I’m in the right mood, Debussy or Mahler.  String orchestra music is very beautiful to me, especially the Romantic composer period. For jazz I enjoy so many artists, there wouldn’t be room to write them all down here – Weather Report, Return to Forever, John McLaughlin to name a few.

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

CHM: – No message intended, just enjoyment and listening pleasure.  Music is too deep & personal for me to imagine that I can actually influence other listener’s moods. If that happens, excellent! But it is byproduct of my efforts, not the initial goal. I think my real intention is to please me.

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

JBN: – Unimaginative, stupid robot, recording artist.

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

CHM: – I liked your questions. It’s fun to share my thoughts, give back a little of what I’ve experienced and learned, and hopefully inspires someone today. Thank you!

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Chieli Minucci - Wikipedia

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