Japan Tour: an espresso with Cettina Donato

Image Credits: Cettina Donato © Cettina Donato .

March 14, 2019


We have interviewed the Italian musician Cettina Donato, while she is on tour in Japan.

Is it the first time that you play in Asia? If so, what do you expect?
es, it’s the first time I play in Asia, but I have already played with Asian musicians: some of the musicians in the jazz orchestra I founded in the USA in 2012 are Asian, as well as many friends I studied with at Boston Berklee College of Music. I carry with me very beautiful memories, both professional and human.

What’s jazz today? Is it a cosmopolitan music or do you feel Italian?
I’d say both: I think that in my music you can feel my Italian origins as well as a certain American “influence”, due to the very long period I spent overseas.
What are the main themes in your last albums Persistency and Piano 4Hands?

Persistency – The New York Project (Alfa Music) was recorded in Brooklyn at System Two Studios (by Carlo Marciano, a winner of several Grammies as sound engineer in jazz music category), and features as special guest Eliot Zigmund, a very famous drummer I am particularly attached to and with whom I cooperated for my concerts in the United States.

Moreover, the other two musicians completing the quartet are Matt Garrison and Curtis Ostle, both from Eliot quartet (even if now Curtis moved to Chicago and is no more part of the quartet as far as the New York scene is concerned).

I am very attached to all the tunes I have composed for the album, because each composition is dedicated to some persons who had a huge impact on my personal and professional life.

“Take It Easy” was composed by thinking of Monk, while “Sing a Song” of Herbie Hancock, who is my mentor and an incomparable inspirational artist for my professional life. His advices were fundamental, and thanks to him I go on in my profession with inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm.

“Lawns” is the only tune I didn’t compose, but it was written by the very great composer and pianist Carla Bley, to whom I am attached by a very sweet memory, as I was awarded, when I was at Berklee College, as the best composition student by the Department of Jazz Composition.

“Gershwin Dixit” is of course dedicated to Gershwin, composer and pianist I’m literally in love with.

In the end, the tune opening the album, “The Sweetest Love” is dedicated to my mother, who accompanied me in my musical studies and for whom I have a deep feeling of devotion and eternal gratitude.

The album was published by AlfaMusic Label of Fabrizio Salvatore and Alessandrio Guardia, who are very important entrepreneurs and patrons in the world of music, and who were very involved in my project.

Marketing and promotion are entrusted to Fiorenza Gherardi De Candei, one of the most interesting and competent professional in the branch.

It’s an interesting work, which had a huge resonance in Italy because of the project connected to it, the establishment and construction of a house for autistic children: all incomes will be donated and will be used for the implementation of this social project I’m very proud of.

As far as the Piano 4Hands project is concerned, together with the pianist Stefania Tallini, the repertoire is somehow heterogeneous. We spread from tango to Cuban music, from blues to ballad, from gospel to contemporary jazz, from musical scores to totally improvised music. Moreover, this duo is absolutely unique in his genre: until now, in jazz there were projects with two pianos, while Stefania and I we share the same piano as in classical music, but we play jazz instead. This involves a series of complexities and instrumental difficulties and of musical spaces, so at the same time we are very curious to explore new musical solutions as well as to share our own aesthetical conceptions.

What are your next projects?
When I’m back from Japan I’ll be working in a theatrical production, “Il mio nome è Caino”, with the actor Ninni Bruschetta, directed by Laura Giacobbe and produced by Nutrimenti Terrestri. We will be on tour, from March and for next season, all around Italy.
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