FIRE: an expresso with Gianni Denitto


June 6, 2023

On the occasion of the release of the album “Fire feat. Adrian Sherwood” we interviewed Gianni Denitto, saxophonist and author who, throughout his eclectic career, has been combining cultures and colorful artistic references, naturally mixing acoustic and electronic timbres.

> Ivano Rossato

Can you tell us about the Fire project, your band mates and how you came to the release of “Fire feat. Adrian Sherwood”?
FIRE feat. Adrian Sherwood is the soundtrack to an audio-video work that answers crucial questions, in 7 acts, about how fire “got out of hand” and transformed us from hunter-gatherers into “Unleashed Titans”.
FIRE was recorded live and mixed/dubbed in analogue directly on stage by the great master of English sound Adrian Sherwood, who accepted the “challenge” of putting his hand to a live record while it was being performed for the first time in front of an audience.
I thank the directors of the Torino Jazz Festival, Giorgio Li Calzi and Diego Borotti, for welcoming the project in the 2020 pandemic edition.
This was a wonderful experience that was shared with the trumpeter who created the project, Ivan Bert (Dark Magus Orchestra, Emma for Peace, Jazz TO Nepal); the multi-instrumentalist and producer Marco “Benz” Gentile (Africa Unite, Meg, Architorti); the producer FiloQ (Italian Institute of Cumbia, Uhuru Republic, Vinicio Capossela); and one of the most international names of current Italian jazz, the vibraphonist and percussionist Pasquale Mirra at MIDI Marimba.
How were the compositions presented live for the first time?
The music was born thanks to the “ping pong method” of the time of Covid: everyone worked on their parts from home, comparing themselves from a distance. We rehearsed directly the day before the concert: the result amazed us for its naturalness and attitude to the topics covered.
All the compositions draw from the enormous iconography dedicated to fire in all eras and civilizations, up to the current situation dominated by the uncontrollable effects of technological development on a planetary scale.
Along the tracks of the album you travel through different cultures and colors in a tradition that recalls the experiences of the Orb, Transglobal Underground, Ozric Tentacles, Nitin Sawhney… what are the main artistic references that inspired you and the band?
Surely every musician involved in Fire has his influences and brought them into the project: even more so when it comes to a shared and remote composition. The mix is a synthesis between Miles Davis, Philip Glass, Massive Attack, Mulatu Astatke and Public Enemy.
Then there is the common love for dub music, for deep bass. On a visual level, among the artists who have influenced us, I can mention Godfrey Reggio, Yann Arthus Bertrand and Chris Cunningham.
In this album, as well as in the production of TUN and your solo, you move by mixing electronics and jazz… what do you see in the relationship between an apparently “square” synthetic environment and an art form that has made free improvisation perhaps its greater peculiarity?
With both TUN and FIRE, improvisation is the fundamental part: 75% of our concerts are free improvisation, but we often use the canons of electronic music: rhythmic changes every 16 measures, elaboration and development of powerful melodic and bass lines rather than classic solos.
On the other hand, many types of jazz also have stakes and color palettes. Creating a personal one is the big challenge.
The next step?
I’m working intensely on my fourth solo album: this time not in just sax + electronics but in quintet: three woodwinds, bass and drums. Another chapter. Four songs are already ready, I can’t wait to let you listen to it!
FIRE: un espresso con Gianni Denitto copyright Jazzespresso 2023.
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