Image Credits: Milena Paradisi & Kirk Lightsey © Paolo Soriani
How did you meet? Why did you decide to record together?
More than meeting, we had a real date! I’m joking, but it’s really like that! I had the chance to listen to many live concerts by Mr. Lightsey, especially here in Italy at the end of the 1990s, and I sent him my debut record I’ll Never Be The Same (Philology, 2002). He appreciated that a lot. I’ve always wanted to record with him someday. At the beginning of 2017, after a lot of adventures and when I was back from several trips, I had the chance to listen to Lightsley playing live in some recent videos. I thought of a repertoire that I wanted to record as a duet with him. Without hesitating, I wrote to him about my idea and the music. He appreciated it a lot and, luckily, we were able to find two free days in order to record!
How did you choose the tracks?
I chose the repertoire (a dozen tracks), among those which I liked singing the most in that moment. Then we chose the ones which worked better for the piano-voice line up. Lightsey proposed just one track, Fresh Air (the track which closes the record), a composition of his in 6/8 written in the early 70s and imagined for the flute and piano. Then he asked me to write the lyrics. And so here’s the new version, with my original lyrics, where Lightsey makes us a gift with a flute overdubbing.
How did you arrange the songs?
Arrangements, mood and colors came from what we did before recording. We exchanged our ideas and we tested our artistic and musical instincts by concentrating on how to communicate the energy on the tracks. Lightsey is a great supporting musician, he has a great instincts. He immediately understands where you want to go and what you want to say. He’s really able to put into effect ideas that could still be the subconscious.
A duo is the most intimate line up for music: do you agree? What do you feel when you play in duo?
To record this project as a duo was an idea of mine, a choice of mine, that was greatly appreciated by Mr. Lightsey. He was really interested in obtaining an “orchestra” sound (as he defined it), from the piano. For this kind of repertoire, I was imagining a pure, absolute sound, with no frills, no fillers and no fear for the empty spaces by leaving a “human” rhythm. A rhythm and a quantity of sound which could completely set my voice free. A sound, a touch, an unusual melodic choice that could take me to unexplored places and draw out my renewed expressiveness. With a partner having such a big stature, it was a great challenge: a challenge I think that worked out and I’m very happy.
What I felt with this great musician was the internal research for higher things but also the astonishment for the new things coming out, surely from the interplay, but also from a natural understanding on a common idea of music, of art.
Will you perform the record live?
Yes, “Some Place Called Where” will be officially presented on January 20, 2018, at Rome’s Auditorium Parco Della Musica. We are still deciding many other things but it will all start from there.
Music and the web: a gift or a curse?
This is a good question and it would need a separate chapter in order to be answered! We must reflect on the fact that, at this point, the world is spinning in the directionof the web, internet, etc. I think that it is definitely a good thing to exploit this medium for spreading one’s own musical ideas and communicating them to a wider audience. Without the web, it certainly would have taken my audience longer to discover my new CD or listen to my music than it would have in the past. After all, I listen too to music from the web, even if I’m annoyed by the fact that, after two days, a record can be downloaded for free. It is also true that we feed on other musicians’ music and we find inspiration in it. For that reason, maybe yes, maybe it’s a gift to be handled with care and balance. To be careful not to be completely absorbed by it.
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