An espresso with…
Alfonso Santimone

Image Credits: Alfonso Santimone © Leonardo Schiavone.

June 26, 2018

Study is love and love takes time

The pianist, composer and arranger Alfonso Santimone has a great experience with electronics, experimentation and improvisation in music. We interviewed him in Turin before the Perfect Trio live.
 
> Ivano Rossato
 

 
In dealing with written scores where does the improviser start and end?
I think the improviser never ends. The improviser has an armoury, a sort of antenna for the perception of the music around him that allows him to enter into communication with any style or language. The jazz player is basically a musician who improvises continuously and improvisation is the idea of composing instantly. When we enter into a relationship with music that is very structured, it has always been important for me to understand what was in it, and to have the harmonic, rhythmic and melodic preparation to understand how a particular musical event is structured. This comes from the practice of improvisers and helps me deal with situations where in reality improvisation is not there. It is like entering a building and filling it with your own voice, with your own gestures and relating to the other improvisers who are with you at that moment.
 
How do you change your approach to the various contexts in which you are playing?
In all the music I play, I take the improviser's point of view. This then also applies to the composition, where the opposite can also happen. For example, when you structure your composition and try to make improvisation progress through the discoveries you have made by writing and vice versa. It's all fluid and in communication.
 
What do you think of technology for playing and writing?
Even technology used as a musical instrument takes a long time to be well exploited. My use of technology is basically similar to the work of the lutist. I do nothing but build networks of tools that allow me to bring out a certain idea of sound that I have in mind, depending on the various contexts. What especially annoys me about the great accessibility to information given by the web is that you do not have time to make it sediment. In some ways there is no time to grow the tree of your language and you are always in pursuit of the latest fashion. Even the music that is written is affected. So it is more difficult to do a research on your personal identity as an improviser and a musician.
 
Alfonso Santimone Jazzespresso magazine Rossato interview
 
What is your opinion on video and audio streaming platforms?
I think it's fantastic as they give you the possibility of having access to otherwise difficult to find contents, because maybe belonging to groups that have not yet published a record. This is a great wealth that however also entails the risk of great poverty. That is, not having the time to fall in love with something authentically. There are some records that I know by heart, in every groove, in every drum hit or bass note, in all musical fields, not just in jazz. Those records are my DNA, they represent the elements that make up what I am. From there I tried, and I still do it, to develop my language, to go deeper and look for the truth of what I have to say. It is not so much a question of doing something surprising or strange, but of trying to understand the sound you have inside and take it out with all possible sincerity. This is a process that requires time and effort but that lives with a strong passion. Sometimes I do the listening strike. I do not listen to anything for two or three months. Then I return to listen to the records dear to me, those of my childhood, and from there then I resume. In this way I almost feel the need to "detoxify" myself from all the information I have assimilated. Every time I feel the need to detach myself, because the saturation of information removes the space from love. Study is love and love takes time.
 
 
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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.
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JazzEspresso 不只是一个爵士乐杂誌,也是一个能将拥有各种不同精髓的世界爵士乐,包括美洲、欧洲、亚洲、澳洲及非洲各地,互相连结起来的网站及交流站。以中文及英文写成的内容将是一个新的多元文化交流的参考点,为各地的爵士音乐爱好者提供来自全世界最新的消息。请持续关注! 
 
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