June 22, 2024

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Interview with Paolo Zou: Add a thirteenth note: Video

Interview with jazz guitarist Paolo Zou. 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.  How exactly did your adventure take off? 

Paolo Zou։ – Hi Simon! I born and grew up in Italy, Rome. The very first approach with music was at the age of 9, when my parents gave to my brother a littlle guitar and a bongo to me; we immediately exchanged the instruments with my brother, so i start to play completely self-taught. I understood that this thing was a real passion around 15 years old, so i lleft highschool after only 2 years (here in italy we have 5 years of high school).

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

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

PZ: – I think my sound evolved and muted in this 20 years thanks to the big amount of genres i played in the years. I did not do anything to find my sound, at least not consciously!

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

PZ: – During the years i developed a musicasl routine that i try to practice everyday (if i’m home, not in tour, or in studio) something like 1h and half of exercises, subdivided in: 30 minutes of pure tecniche, like very slow scale execution, to stretch and maintain my type of playing, that use very little strength to play.

60 minutes of improvisation on loops of 2, 3 or 4 chords that i like in that period of time (the chords i like vary i like time to time)

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

PZ: – Yes absolutely! During the years i changed a lot of musical face. Then i start to study and play rock and heavy metal like Iron Maiden, to arrive at the “guitar heroes” (Steve vai, etc).

Then i start to play reggae for about 10 years, and start to produce electronic music. After this, i started to study Jazz in a conservatory and i discovered immediately the modern part of this world, like Snarky Puppy, Glasper, Gilad Hekselman.

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

PZ: – This is a good question. i think that the balance change depending on every single person. So i think there is no perfect balance in general, but you have to find the balance that you need.

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

PZ: – Yeah, i’m okay with that. I think that an artist must be able to express  himself, BUT not forgetting theat an artist (expecially in a live concert) are making a type of art that born and exist for an audience! if you play without worrying about the audience’s response, you can do (for me) it directly yourself at home.

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

PZ: – Maybe, start to teach to them something more modern and contaminated! start to teach them also the producing part of an album or simply a beat, for example.

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

PZ: – I’m not a spiritual guy! Unfortunately i never stopped to think about this fact. I really like (really) the astronomy, Nasa, focus etc documentary, so somethimes i like to stop and think that we are made by some supernova explosion, who knows where in the universe. So i consider myself a guy that think and meditate, but more on the scientific side.

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

PZ: – Add a thirteenth note.

OUR US/EU Jazz and Blues Festivals 2023

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

PZ: – In these days i have one of my musical trip where i listen the same album for something like 1 or 2 months. The album is “Never Enough” from Disclosure.

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

PZ: – To te Roman empire era, but only because i’m from Rome, and literally everyday what i see is half from now, half from 2k yeas ago!

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

PZ: – Yeah! You always liked the Jazz world, or (like me) did you get there after a while?

JBN: – Jazz is my life! If you’ve always disliked jazz, I sympathize with you.

Interview by Simon Sarg

Note: https://jazzbluesnews.com/2023/03/19/useu-jazz-blues-association-festivals/ You can express your consent and join our association, which will give you the opportunity to perform at our Jazz and Blues festivals, naturally receiving an appropriate royalty. We cover all expenses. The objectives of the interview are: How to introduce yourself, your activities, thoughts and intellect, and make new discoveries for our US/EU Jazz & Blues Association, which organizes festivals, concerts and meetings in Boston and various European countries, why not for you too!! You can read more about the association here. https://jazzbluesnews.com/2022/11/19/useujba/

Paolo Zou - Accademia Romana di Musica

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