May 27, 2024

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Interview with Stefania Tallini: Today Jazz is also many other things and jazz is full of beauty!

Interview with an ungrateful, impolite, dull, unhuman, drawn creature, as if pianist Stefania Tallini. An interview by email in writing. – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

Stefania Tallini: – I think I knew this from the first moment I played a piano… I started at 4 and a half, playing by ear until I was 8, when I then started studying classical piano. It was an absolutely spontaneous decision, born when I found myself for the first time, a very small one, in front of a piano and I instinctively and immediately tried to reproduce melodies that I had heard, which I succeeded very easily.

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Then my family was full of music: my father played the violin, my mother sang Opera music, my brother played the guitar and the other brothers also played by ear … in short, music was the daily bread in my house, so mine encounter with the piano was the most natural thing that could happen to me. I chose it because I was immediately attracted to it, I felt its call, the scent of wood, its appearance, the enveloping sound, the warmth, the magnificence.

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

ST: – Before starting to study jazz, at 17 years old, I studied classical piano at 8 years old. The classical music was fundamental for me, because it gave me the opportunity to explore a world of wonderful music that formed me a lot. But at the same time I found my sound through the love for improvisation, which I always practiced after the hours of classical study and which I have always practiced since I was a child, even if at that time I did not yet improvise jazz. I discovered jazz when I was 17, listening to a Chet Baker album: a shock that over the years contributed to my research on my sound.

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

ST: – I always practice classical technique, together with various types of jazz exercises, both harmonic and melodic and also exercises of rhythmic and independence of the hands. But after that, of course, I play jazz, classical or Brazilian music, as well as my own compositions. All this also depends on the type of concert I have to prepare.

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

ST: – Absolutely yes! I believe that the transformation, the changes, the evolutions in music are very important. In my life I have traveled through three types of music that I love and that have helped to make me evolve, both as a pianist and as a composer: Classical music, Jazz and Brazilian author music. Let’s say that today I find, merged into a single musical flow, the various souls that have accompanied my artistic life and that still nourish my music.

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

ST: – I think that the intellect without the soul is nothing, absolutely nothing. I believe that in music the intellect is only a means to be able to technically render what you play … But then this must be put aside to be able to give space only to the soul, which in art is certainly the most important thing.

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

ST: – Of course, that’s the best thing for me. I don’t write thinking that I want to excite, in the sense that when I compose I absolutely don’t think about the audience that will listen. The composition is for me a moment of total intimacy and solitude, in which I express the deepest part of me and that in that precise moment of my life, feels emotions that are only mine. Then sometimes this resonates in people’s hearts, and they get excited too. I find this exchange really beautiful!

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

ST: – I believe that today Jazz is also many other things. It is the richest music we have in the world and it is a music that is constantly evolving. Standards are only part of everything that has been done to date. Think of how Miles himself re-proposed them with his quintet and how much even today there are artists who know how to elaborate that world of half a century ago, in a totally ingenious way. For example: Tigran Hamasyan, Fred Hersch, Brad Mehldau … They also play standard, but how much originality, freshness, expressiveness we feel in those interpretations! I think that the standards will never get old, if the musicians are able to propose them in an ever new way. As for young people, not that they have to get close to “jazz”, but rather that they have to get close to beauty in general. And jazz is full of beauty!

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

ST: – I’m perfectly agree. Music is the deepest part of me: it is my spirit, my soul, my unconscious, my living the deepest emotions. You know, for me music is not “a job”, for me it is life! I perceive life a lot also through music, as well as through affections. I believe that music gives you a precise way of living and being that would certainly be different without it. And maybe even much sadder as far as I’m concerned.

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

ST: – I would like a world totally submerged in beautiful music. There is too much diffusion of commercial and ugly music that kills all the beauty, the depth of the art and that somehow offends the humanity and the intelligence of the people.

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

ST: – Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Fred Hersch, Oscar Peterson, Jobim.

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

ST: – I would like to go back to 25 June 1961, to be able to go to the Village Vanguard to listen to Bill Evans’ trio in concert: I love him madly! But also in 1959, to be able to attend the recording of Kind of Blue by Miles! That would be a wonderful thing!

JBN: – Do You like our questions? 

ST: – Yes, I liked them very much, I found them full of sensitivity and depth and I would really like to thank you for that. Among other things, I saw from your site that you really do a great job of spreading jazz and this is very beautiful and important.

Interview by Simon Sarg

Note: 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.

Stefania Tallini - Pianista, Compositrice, Arrangiatrice

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