Children’s Eyes: an espresso with Angelo Di Leonforte

February 16, 2021

This Too Will Pass (AlfaMusic, 2020) is the title of Sicilian pianist Angelo Di Leonforte’s first album as leader. We interviewed him.

> Iug Mirti

What is it that must “pass” in the title of your record?
The title is inspired by a Sufi tale that tells the story of a sovereign who is always dissatisfied with his life. At the suggestion of one of his collaborators he adopts the policy of thinking that “this too will pass”: everything is impermanent, everything passes, both good things and unpleasant things. You don’t have to get attached to anything because everything changes all the time.

How did you choose the musicians in your trio?
I have known both of them (Alberto Fidone on double bass and Peppe Tringali on drums) for a very long time. I went to Malta to play with Alberto for a festival and I asked him if he wanted to play my music and start a musical journey together. Having Peppe join was a given since they are a very strong rhythm section that have been working together for years.

The record features ten original songs. Curiously it begins with a ballad: why?
It is a deliberate choice: generally we expect a fast track to begin, I prefer instead to start with something soft, often thus displacing the listener, who perhaps expects an opening composition with a virtuoso approach.

The songs are inspired by different sound worlds: some ballads, a few compositions with a contemporary sound and some Mediterranean tracks. Was this a conscious choice?
They have been written over a long period of time and so there are many different personalities of mine. You change, and I believe that in the composition process you can feel the difference in my personality, tastes, experiences, and so on.

Two songs are dedicated to two musicians. Why Steve Swallow and Bill Evans?
They have always been my reference. Steve Swallow for his compositional genius, which I consider beyond human! I got to meet him a couple of times and he’s an amazing person too. I’ve studied Bill Evans for years. His voicings, the conception of the solo, the improvisation that becomes a written composition. He has been the subject of my studies, admiration and veneration.

After (hopefully) the pandemic ends, what will your next projects be?
Of course I hope to be able to present this album live. It’s taken so long to release because it’s my first! But I’m already writing some new songs and thinking about a new album, again with my with original music.

What is jazz for you today?
Self-expression in a very complex process that must be studied: extemporaneous composition is an area with its own and codified rules and language, and in order to express yourself you have to go through this highly analytical process. The interesting aspect of this music is that it is always different, each performance is always different just like people are constantly changing.

Children’s Eyes: an espresso with Angelo Di Leonforte copyright Jazzespresso 2021
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