How would you describe your musical style?
Music that evokes the listener’s ears in a journey. A mix of Jazz, World & Classical influences, all weaved together to create my unique style. I was born in Naples, under the slopes of Vesuvius. A city that synthesizes a millennia of cultures, exchanges & various ethnicities. My Music is born from this background, I feel like an explorer of sounds who starts from the Mediterranean to make his journey in the infinite dimensions that surround us. It could be called the quantum music of a modern nomad. Before the pandemic, in the last 7 years, I played in 27 countries around the world, collaborating with musicians of the most diverse background and often miles apart in musical genres. Someone called my music Holistic Jazz. I like this idea of Holism because I am concerned with life & music in a holistic way.
Is there a particular person who influenced your music career?
I was lucky enough to meet many people and many musicians. I started very young conducting an orchestra and composing, I was 16 years old. I have met extraordinary instrumentalists, sublime artists. Surely a person who has particularly inspired me and to whom I owe all my gratitude if I play the piano today is the great concert artist Elizabeth Sombart, a true living legend of Classical Music. From her I learned the love and total devotion to the truth that is contained in every sound. Elizabeth and Christopher, her husband, are a point of reference for me in my life. For the compositional and all the musical performance aspects, I was very inspired by my meeting with Wayne Shorter. I feel very lucky and I thank life for finding Wayne and his wife Carolina on my path whom I consider part of my spiritual family.
What can spectators take away from your LIVE performance concerts?
They can travel while sitting in a chair. Now I’ll tell you a story: Once I did a concert alone in a big sports hall, and the great composer Aldo Brizzi, a very important arranger of Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and many other artists of Brazilian music, together with his wife the singer Graça Reis came to listen to me. At the end, Aldo came to greet me in the backstage and said: “I saw a concert of 20 artists from all over the world. You are a shaman, you are inhabited by sound”. These words really pleased me and since then, I have reinforced the idea that we musicians are therapists. We bring energy and create wellbeing for people. Here, those who come to my concerts are recharged. At least I hope so.
Is there a particular piece of music you absolutely love to perform?
Yes sure! What is born in this instant from my breath. Every time I make my music it’s the best thing I can do. An irrepressible joy. For me, making music with my MUMEx approach, a metalanguage that I have codified for the past 25 years, is an exciting journey into the unknowable. And being able to share this journey with Roberto Bellatalla on double bass and Mauro Salvatore on drums is truly a beautiful gift of life. Extraordinary and unique artists, to say the least.
What is the best concert you have ever attended?
I’ve seen so many: Wayne Shorter and his fantastic quartet, Elvin Jones and his latest band, Herbie Hancock (the first time I heard him live I was 19), Michel Petrucciani (I cried while he played), Joe Zawinul and the Syndicate (Joe is a giant). Lots of musicians, of various genres. The great Ustad Bismillah Khan may his great soul always be blessed. I am grateful to everyone. Music on an album is like a photograph. See a photograph of your loved ones who are no longer there, okay but the reality is another story. The real music is the live one. The only art that makes you enjoy the present is Music and it is no coincidence that it is the basis of all forms of spirituality and religion. I thank Mother Musica for making many moments of my life magical and I thank all the musicians who keep the immortal torch of live music burning every day. Whatever genre it is.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years with regards to your music career?
I want to fill every moment, my every breath, my every smile with and in Music. The future does not exist for me. All my concentration is in the present and my whole life is devoted to the Music. Music Here and now!
Is there a song on your latest CD release that stands out as your personal favorite, and why?
In Naples, Italy, there is a popular saying: “Every cockroach is beautiful to its mother”. It’s a very funny saying because the city where I was born has an irony that pervades it. Every song that I compose and that I play is part of me and also part of you, because without the relationship with the world, music cannot be born. This album for me represents the beginning of a new life. For years I have not felt up to the great masters Bird, Dizzy, Trane, Monk, Miles, Bill, Wayne but also Scelsi, Bratok, Stravinsky, Shostakovic, Ligeti, Messiaen and many composers of contemporary classical music. I have been merciless to myself. I’ve been waiting for 47 years, working so hard on my music. With “FOLDS OF TIME” and thanks to my wonderful musicians : Roberto Bellatalla on double bass and Mauro Salvatore on drums, I decided it was time to really start making music. All I have done before has been a long prologue and I am really happy to start this first stage of my exploration in the Multiverse of Music (MUMEx = MUSIC MULTIVERSE EXPLORATION https://www.amazon.com/MUSIC-MULTIVERSE-EXPLORATION-COSMOLOGY-SOUND/dp/0578828693 ).
How have you evolved as an artist over the last 2 years during our pandemic?
I realized even more that real contact between people is a precious asset that we must protect. Socials are fine, the various Spotify or Instagram are fine but they are only photographs, virtual spaces. In these two years I have understood even more that making live music with people and for people is a magical act, something truly sacred and from now on, I want to invest all my energy to play with other live musicians and share with people this wonderful ritual that makes us reborn each time in ever new stages of consciousness and awareness that we call MUSIC.
If you could meet, play a gig, co-write a song, have dinner, with any composer (dead or alive) who would that be?
When I was a teenager I went to live with my paternal grandmother. Every evening I heard her from my bed saying the rosary and talking about her with all her dear departed ones. Well I got this from her and when I am in meditation, I hear and see Bird, Trane, Monk, Bud Powell, Miles, Bill, Zawinul, Chick, Joe Henderson, Woody Shaw, Ustad Bismillah Khan, the magnificent Sarangi player Dhruba Gosh, Nanà Vasconcelos, Antonio De Santis my mentor (founder of IRCAM in Paris with Pierre Boulez), Joe Amoruso a fantastic piano player and a special friend of mine, Pino Daniele a beloved songwriter from Naples, Gino Evangelista a great multi-instrumentalist who was part of my band a few years ago. These masters inhabit my subtle worlds and it would be great to be in a party with all of them. Maybe when my journey on this earth is over, I will find them all. In the meantime, I thank them for inspiring me every day.
What’s next for your career, are you planning anything?
I have lived for years as a nomad between London, Los Angeles and Rome. I have always traveled, even during the pandemic. I have never stopped. I hope to return to making my music with the MUMEx Trio as soon as possible and to be able to play in Jazz, Global Music and Experimental Music festivals around the world. I am grateful for your time. Thank you for the interview.
End of Interview