Saxophone in Italy: an espresso with Peppe Santangelo

Image Credits: Peppe Santangelo © Peppe Santangelo

June 13, 2019

My Name Is…


We have interviewed Peppe Santangelo on the release of his new album, “My Name Is”.

> Iug Mirti

Who are the musicians that inspired you the most?

With no doubt those I have paid tribute in my new album: Shorter, Coltrane, Metheny, Monk, Rollins, Gordon, Potter and, of course, myself, which is the most important identity! The one you can never be freed of, you have no control on, it thinks and acts in your place when you embrace the instrument. I often ask myself how much is that Peppe Santangelo powerful, the one that, no matter what you study and analyse, comes out in a very impetuous way. I want to remember among these artists Dave Holland, composer and musician that I have been admiring since when I listen to jazz. Unfortunately, I couldn’t include a track dedicated to him due to space reasons, but I surely want to do it in one of my next works.

Jazz, in a certain way, reminds a lot to the concept of soul in the several cultures.

What’s jazz today, for you?
Jazz nowadays is more and more itself, that is a very shimmering and multifaceted entity, absorbing the characteristics of the culture surrounding it, but which is not able to shape it. Jazz, in a certain way, reminds a lot to the concept of soul in the several cultures, contemporary jazz is an aesthetic result owned by all cultures. And to be honest, the jazz of the origins was the same thing, it just had limited horizons, for obvious space-time reasons.
How do you usually work on arrangements and compositions?
I don’t have a precise scheme. I’m never able to forecast where the inspiration comes from, but when it comes I have to write immediately, otherwise the idea disappears or is replaced by another. Many compositions I’ve written, published or that I have ready, more or less one hundred tracks, have been written in a very short time. I conceive composition as a mean to fix a boundary I haven’t gone beyond yet.
How do you choose the musicians?
I choose according to very few characteristics: ability to communicate, empathy with the leader, human availability, irony, sharing. Things such as musical competences, a very important curriculum, etc., come after that.
Peppe Santangelo Jazzespresso interview
Is jazz cosmopolitan or the fact of being Italian makes you particular in playing, in some ways?
Jazz is cosmopolitan and, particularly, being Sicilian in some ways makes me special in playing. This is because Sicily has always been a very cosmopolitan land, and I feel inside me ancient Greek and Arabian traditions, as well as the legends by the Normans.
If you had a magic wand, which dream would you like to come true?
I would like to found a school uniting all ancient and modern knowledge, and giving to human beings the power of realizing themselves. This is maybe the only era, in ten thousand years, where a thing like that could be possible. In order to be reliable, that school should be free, and that’s the reason why I need a lot of money, and therefore a magic wand. Take it to me and I will change the world!

Saxophone in Italy: an espresso with Peppe Santangelo copyright Jazzespresso 2019.
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Jazzespresso è una rivista, un sito web, una rete che connette le anime del jazz di tutto il mondo. America, Europa, Asia, Australia e Africa: notizie da tutto l'orbe terracqueo in una pagina tradotta in cinque lingue. Un punto di riferimento multiculturale in inglese, cinese, spagnolo e italiano per gli amanti di questa musica in tutti i paesi del mondo. Per gli amatori o i professionisti che vogliono essere aggiornati su quello che sta succedendo in tutto il pianeta... rimani sintonizzato!

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