April 25, 2019
We have interviewed Alfonso Adan, guitarist and composer, for the release of his last work, New Morning
> Luigi Motta
How do you work on compositions and arrangements?
As time goes by, obviously one improves and learns to better catch the essence of ideas. Knowledge makes you free when you’re writing a score and you interpret it. Definitely, it’s true that you never finish learning, or being surprised by the possibilities yet to be explored in music.
I think it is good to take some risks, in both harmony or melody as well as in the composition structure. I also think that if you want to create something new, it is necessary to break established rules and formats as well as reinterpret them. Dynamics can even determine which is the form of a composition, why not?
I like to meticulously work on tracks, with critical sense and method. I always try to do something interesting and new. Said that, my references cannot be other than classical composers as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, or modern as Rachmaninoff or even contemporary as Arvo Pärt.
How do you choose the musicians for your work?
I love to be surrounded by musicians who inspire me for who they are, how they play and how they mean music. In this album I cooperated with Drew Gress on double bass: he is not only one of the best bass players, but he’s also an extraordinary composer, with a very beautiful mind, making him a very special musician. Paul Shaw is an astonishing drummer, composer and arranger, with a clear vision, and as such he plays drums and this makes him very special and different. Sam Revaz is the pianist. He has a modern capability and vision inside a traditional line-up. He was the pianist I absolutely wanted to record with.
Then I would like to add that, to me, it is important to have stimulating musicians, as well as to count on the best professionals as far as the technical part is concerned.
In this album, I was lucky I was able to record with engineers such as Ikonomidis and Christal Jerez who are among the best in the world. For the mix I worked with Jason Rostkowski and with Li Hai for mastering. They’re not only extraordinary: they also have a very specific sound vision and a way of working which makes them very special.
You have recorded an album in the streaming model era. What is the meaning of your choice?
Well, the positive side of streaming is that, now, music is available to everybody and I think we will have to adapt to new technologies, especially my generation of musicians, who started playing in the 80s’ when there wasn’t the internet. We learnt to appreciate music on vinyl records that, indeed, have a better quality than 16-bit music offered nowadays by streaming or than CD.
On the contrary, the less enjoyable part concerns monetizing streaming. The personal and economic effort of recording a jazz album, in a good studio, is enormous. A good production with good engineers and studios is very expensive. Unfortunately, monetizing such expenses through streaming is simply impossible nowadays. You should get millions of listenings and for a long time, to be able to pay back a part of the costs for producing a work like this.
I like to think that something is changing in money quantification, because you cannot deal with commercial music and jazz or classical music in the same way. This is not fair and sustainable for artists, editors and record companies.
Define New Morning by three adjectives…
I would describe it as introspective, daring and different.
What are your future projects?
Presently I am working of a new album in quartet, that I want to record by the end of this year. For 2020 I want to record a solo guitar album and another in trio in 2021. The three albums will be recorded here in New York and will all feature original tracks and arrangements.
An espresso with... Alfonso Adan copyright Jazzespresso 2019.
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Jazzespresso is a magazine, a website, a network, a hub, connecting all the souls of jazz all over the world. Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa: news from all over the world on a page in four languages. A multicultural reference point in English, Chinese and Spanish language for the lovers of this music in every country. For the amateur or the pro who wants to be updated about what is happening all around the world... Stay tuned.