Interview with Riccardo Chiarion
When did you start playing the guitar and why? What did you study and what is your musical background? With that guitar do you play and have you played?
R.C .: I started playing the guitar for a simple reason: also my father plays it! And, therefore, at home we always listened to music (mostly jazz, 60s and 70s blues and rock), and the guitars were often resting on the couch, how can you resist! About fourteen I tried to pick it up and I immediately liked the feeling and the sound, it was a Fender Stratocaster.
Later I played mostly electric guitars, I also bought a Strato and then the Gibson ES335 and ES175. For a period of about two years, I have also played a Takamine with nylon strings but played with a pick.
I obviously started learning from my father and going to his concerts and rehearsals. I am fond of blues and Jimi Hendrix and then I played in several groups trying to imitate my musical heroes.
Then I began to open myself to jazz and studied for about 13 years with my teacher Glauco Venier, first privately and then when Glauco became a teacher at the Conservatory of Trieste where I graduated in jazz music studying jazz with a lot of good musicians who have taught me so much.
Also your project sees you playing with great names: how long you play together? Your last record shows a great team spirit ...
R.C. : Thank you very much, I must admit that it is was a great experience playing with this group, I had already played with John Taylor and Diana Torto in Bertinoro, along with another great musician, Kenny Wheeler; since then I have often thought about the possibility to record something with them, and at last it was possible to do so.
Julian Siegel, however, I had the pleasure of knowing him on the occasion of the cd’s recording thanks to Andrea Marini, John and Diana manager, who asked me to include him in the project. After listening to his music I immediately accepted the proposal, understanding the absolute level of this musician.
Alessandro Turchet and Luca Colussi play together with me in trio from several years and I have with them a special team spirit, we know each other very well, and not just musically.
Unfortunately then something terrible happened: John left us prematurely and this thing has saddened us deeply, for the greatness of the person from the human point of view and for the huge loss that the music world had.
The reason why the music “runs” well is undoubtedly the kind of sound that, as I hoped, involved John, Diana and Julian. Despite not having done many tests with us they have understood easily the intention of music. I, Alessandro and Luca played some more time this music and we then conducted the recording in studio.
How did the idea for your latest CD “Waves”? Why the choice of a sextet chamber solution?
R.C. : Before Waves I recorded two more cd with my name (Sirene and Mosaico), and both was played with a quartet (sax, guitar, bass and drums). On this occasion I wanted to enrich the color palette, and I immediately thought about using a voice to give more softness to the melodies on the piano and to emphasize the harmonic aspects of my compositions. I am satisfied with this choice, even for the fact that with musicians of this level everything is perfect.
Generally I’m not a big fan of voice, but I was hit by Diana Torto’s voice, beyond her talent has impressed me the way that it’s used in the record, it seems almost another instrument to accompany the saxophonist Julian Siegel …
R.C. : I love Diana as a musician, not only as a singer, she always knows what’s going on in music, she grasps things before you have to explain them. The choice was then to give space to her, writing themes to play in cross-section with the other instruments and leaving improvised space in which to create extemporaneously.
What were and are your main musical influences? How do you express your “musical form” both under execution that improvisation, whether you’re playing “solo” both with other musicians? Do you draw up a “form” by default making adjustments when necessary, or you let the “form” itself to emerge in different situations, or exploit both creative approaches?
R.C. : Usually I compose my music, singing and playing the melodies on the guitar then going to seek to harmonize that enhances the melodic choice. Only later I devote myself to the arrangement for the group deciding moments in which to improvise various instruments. In this second phase also the second I write melodies and counterpoints and possible bridges between one section and another. Usually I prefer the choice to improvising musicians on the same lap as the theme harmonic therefore not going to look more “comfortable grids agreements” for improvisation; this obviously creates difficulties sometimes, but I feel that it gives greater fidelity to the composition.
What does mean improvisation in your music research? Can we go back to talking about improvisation in a repertoire so encoded as the classic or you’re forced to leave and turn to other repertoires, jazz, contemporary, etc.?
C. R.: Improvisation undoubtedly plays a fundamental role in my daily practice, I try to practice it on different harmonic structures using different parameters and focusing particularly on rhythmic and melodic solutions that can give variety to my musical language. As for the field believe that improvisation can adapt to any repertoire, it’s only musician’s open-mindedness that make it consistent with the act of composing.
How does your music methodology is influenced by the community of people (musicians or not) you work with? Do you change your approach in relation to what you directly or indirectly receive from them? If you listen to a different interpretation of a song you already played and you want to perform do you take care of this listening or do you prefer to proceed in complete independence?
R. C: No doubt my musical growth and evolution as a musician depends a lot from the musicians I have the opportunity to play and talk. But I must admit that usually when I write music I try to keep an open mind and not focus on the types of instruments or musicians who then perform it. I try to maintain a level of freedom in my musical choices trying to not being conditioned by instrumental and performance techniques. I listen to a lot of music but not in reference to what I’m about to perform or compose; In fact, I try myself to be influenced by the music of others or my past recordings only at the level of ideas and not concretely influencing the choices I’m going to take musically.
I sometimes feel that in our time the history of the music flow with no particular interest in its chronological course, in our disco-music library before and after, the past and the future become interchangeable elements, this may not Could this be a risk for an interpreter and a composer of a uniform vision?
RC: No doubt this risk may exist but as I see it, I think he can be an asset to try to not be swayed by the musical heroes of the history of music but try to draw from them a teaching that can guide us in finding our identity ; I believe it is right to be swayed but you have to be careful not to be scared and inhibited by the examples of the past, and perhaps at some point try to forget everything at least for a moment.
What are your essential five discs, always have with you .. the classic five discs for the desert island ..?
RC: There are many of but having to make a selection I say the top five that I feel spontaneously quote: Ravel’s String Quartet,
In A Silent Way by Miles Davis,
John Coltrane First Meditation,
Axis: Bold as Love by Jimi Hendrix,
Elegiac Cycle by Brad Mehldau.
Who would you like to play and who would you like to play? What music do you usually listen to?
R. C.: Usually I’m interested in playing with musicians who have their own well-developed language, this choice stems from the fact that I really like to see how a different personality will enrich the music that I write; Therefore, I focus mostly on the thinking of musicians who are able to play my music making absolutely their color within the band.
I prefer listening to records containing original compositions that can range from classical to jazz to pop and ethnic music, I try to gather different ideas that can enrich my compositions.
What are your next projects? What are you working on?
R. C.: For several years I have been working on the possibility to record one solo CD for guitar: it is a very complex thing and it takes a long time … I hope soon to be able to realize it. I also want to record a CD in trio, I started writing the songs ….