Jazz is freedom: an espresso with Emanuele Sartoris

Image Credits: Emanuele Sartoris © Emanuele Sartoris

May 14, 2019



I Nuovi Studi, recently released by Dodicilune label, is the new work by the Italian pianist and composer Emanuele Sartoris.

> Iug Mirti

Where does this work arise from?

When I look at the great composers’ works, I always see in them the wish not to stop but, instead, to look forward by being pioneers in the history of their own instrument. As I have always been extremely interested in research and innovation on my instrument, and I feel like they are uncompleted and that anybody could contribute to them, I started to create special daily exercises on technique, which I finally collected in my 5 studies.
Each study concerns a different technical field, the real novelty is in the improvisation act, which was never dealt with before in a technical study. As I am a jazz pianist, and as improvisation is one of the most peculiar features, I decided to build my studies mainly on this aspect, by compelling myself to improvise during the whole track with a pre-determined technique.

I have always thought that if you are able to manage such a track you can be able to master a large part of the jazz repertoire.

How did you work on compositions and arrangements?
I approached composition according to the ways that I most love, in particularly extemporaneous improvisation. The three preludes preceding the interpretation of the original classical études (Chopin Étude Op.25 Nr.2; Liszt I prelude from the Transcendental Études; Scriabin Étude Op. 8 Nr.2) are completely improvised and are performed and recorded in studio in one take, so that they can maintain their freshness. There’s a big contrast with the composing work of the 5 Études that are, instead, the result of a long period of practice and search for the right techniques to propose and maintain in the tracks. The actual writing work was quite rapid, but the idea was developed during a certain period of time. The album ends with a track by Bill Evans, “Comrade Conrad”. I have always idolized Bill Evans’ work, and that’s the reason why I wanted to include it in my collection just like Liszt, Chopin and Scriabin, because I deem this track is an actual study, which faces improvisation in all twelve keys by also alternating the 3/4 and 4/4 rhythmical component. I have always thought that if you are able to manage such a track you can be able to master a large part of the jazz repertoire.
Can you tell us something about The Night Dreamers? What are your programmes for 2019?
The Night Dreamers are the natural habitat where I have been playing for some years, together with saxophonist Simone Garino, double bassist Dario Scopesi and drummer Antonio Stizzoli. Our line-up comes from our collaboration in RAI 5 TV channel prime time show “Nessun Dorma”, presented by Massimo Bernardini. It’s an extraordinary experience, which allows us to constantly refine, improve and play with many different arrangements which we are given according to the guests we are collaborating with or giving tributes to in each show.
In next summer we will release our first album, a tribute to the romantic myth of auto racing, called Tèchne. It will once again portrait the concept of “technique”, but as an actual form of art. I’m in turn a very huge fan of Alfa Romeo cars and, as an Alfa Romeo lover I will tell, through my tunes, of the great pilots such as Nuvolari and Campari, of the myths like the famous Quadrifoglio Verde (green four-leaf clover) race cars, or of the unexpected love Chet Baker felt for a red Alfa Romeo he used to drive when he was in Italy. But not only. We all four contributed to writing this album, therefore we will tell about the invention of tubeless tires – through the Michelin brothers’ accomplishments – as well as about one of the first women to win a 10 km race by driving her own car, about one of the great designer Vittorio Jano, or about the working class and its ties to the city of Turin, our city.
The album will be released in next summer by Alfa Music. Our friend Giampaolo Casati will feature as special guest on trumpet in a couple of tunes with his wonderful sound. Our group will be moreover resident band, for the third consecutive year, in the show “Nessun Dorma”, of which we are recording now the next episodes. Many wonderful things are coming!
What’s jazz today, in your opinion?
I live jazz as a synonym of freedom. I think that, nowadays, jazz is the genre offering the best possibilities of experimenting, searching and having ideas. To me, jazz still represents the opportunity of making true music, and the vehicle represented by its main element, improvisation, is the thing which makes it always lively and up-to-date. Sometimes I see some colleagues who seem not to be able to catch the possibilities offered by this genre and are too connected to the past, spending time to reproduce as accurately as possible what was made by the great musicians of the past, as the classical musicians do.
If jazz is limited to that, it risks to become very cold and to stay, as unfortunately classical music, just a work of reproduction and interpretation. I deem jazz today is the possibility of having good ideas and of expressing oneself in complete freedom, and the artists who don’t exploit this are unfortunately missing one of the most enviable and advantageous aspects offered by this music.
Emanuele Sartoris Jazzespresso Eugenio Mirti interview
What is your secret dream?
I dream of being able to witness the moment someone will be aware of the fact that the value of music is bigger than the value it is given now. I have always thought that the music is able to communicate to people in a deeper way than words.
In my thoughts, there’s the idea that vibration and sonic wave properties have not yet been explored and researched completely, and for this reason I imagine that music and its communicating factor still hide some surprises: I would like to witness that moment when music becomes something crucial for humanity. Some cultures give to the sound and to the primordial vibration of the drum beat the creation of the entire universe. This is a very fascinating theory, which cannot but attract the dreamer category of which I certainly am a part.

Jazz is freedom: an espresso with Emanuele Sartoris copyright Jazzespresso 2019.
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