A world’s son: an espresso with Johnny Lapio

Image Credits: Johnny Lapio © Stefano Barni

May 21, 2019

Jazz is the Indefinable

Johnny Lapio is an Italian trumpeter, band leader and composer who has always been engaged in several projects all around the world. We have interviewed the artist shortly after he came back from Taiwan.

> Ivano Rossato

Can you tell us something about this Taiwanese adventure?

I was there mostly for composing and artistic reasons rather than for performing and having concerts. From a stylistic point of view, I feel I am different because to compose I use the traditional musical writing method, as well as paintings and body language. That’s why sometimes I am invited to perform exhibitions, performances or to hold masterclasses regarding the mix of these languages, so that in the last years I was able to find a market for my works, as more and more often I sell scores or I am invited for exhibitions.
For many years I have been part of a group and of a duet together with the pianist Lino Mei and I have cooperated with his wife Wen Thing, who is a soprano. During my staying in Taipei I carried out performances, talked about my scores in cultural places such as Taipei’s Contemporary Art Park, Aki Gallery, the Normale University. I was also given the possibility of a tribute to the world famous composer Sylvano Bussotti, who really trusts in me as, since 2013, the three last works are co-signed with me.

I feel like I’m a world’s son and to me music is global. Sometimes I feel closer to musicians and artists coming from the other side of the world than to those coming from my hometown.

From an artistic and human point of view, what was the thing that made the greatest impression on you?
From a human point of view, I was really surprised by the fantastic welcome. I was never welcome like that before! From an artistic point of view, I think that they are eventually undertaking a path aimed at artistic research, by disconnecting from the tradition, a real opening to new and experimentation. I also noticed that there’s a great interest in classical music, opera and jazz, especially bebop, as well as in their traditions.
Your travel into music stopped in UK, USA, Japan… What common characteristics and what great differences do you have found in each musical community and in the audience?
In Eastern countries the audience seems to me more interested in an introspective trip, while listening or watching. I was able to find out that by observing the audience’s positions while they were enjoying the work of art, both musical or visual. Western audience seems to me more projected outwards, and sometimes more oriented towards an analytical enjoyment, less physical. There are of course exceptions due to the contexts where the work is made.
Is the concept of “local musical community” still an added value in the global Internet era?
I feel like I’m a world’s son and to me music is global. Sometimes I feel closer to musicians and artists coming from the other side of the world than to those coming from my hometown. Internet can surely be a medium, if well used, capable of strengthening this feature that then shall be really lived through the body, the travels, through the senses. If it is reduced to pixels, virtual communication and music, we then talk about “non-life” or fictitious life.
Johnny Lapio Jazzespresso interview Ivano Rossato
What is the next artistic project you’re presently working on?
I have many. I would like to end Continents, a project started five years ago and that I have been carrying around the world. I also would like to perform integrally Dejavu in Italy as well, a work with Sylvano Bussotti’s supervision. I am working to a catalogue of pictorial scores and I’m preparing an album with my group Arcote Project which is about to celebrate its tenth anniversary. I’m also releasing a DVD collecting the concerts with important guests such as Moye, Rob Mazurek, Akira Sakata, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Sarah Bowyer, and Paolo Damiani.

A world’s son: an espresso with Johnny Lapio copyright Jazzespresso 2019.
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