An interview with Enrico Rava: Actually it changed completely my life, not only my views: Video


Jazz interview with jazz trumpeter Enrico Rava.  interview by email in writing.

JazzBLuesNews.Space: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music? How did you start playing?

Enrico Rava: – I grew up in Torino (Italy). My mother played classical piano ( very well) so there was a lot of music around me. My older brother had a small but good collection of jazz records and I started listening to them when I was 7 or 8 years old and fell in love for Bix and Armstrong ( but also Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller etc.) I was fooling around  my mother’s piano.

JBN.S: – What interested you in picking up the jazz Trumpet?

ER: – When I was 17 I was a very heavy jazz fan. I had lot of records from New Orleans to modern Jazz. Dizzy, Bird, Rollins, Lester Young, Chet Baker and all of them but my favorite one was Miles.Then Miles came to Torino with Lester Young in 1956.  It was an incredible concert. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. A few days later I bought a trumpet and try to learn it by myself, copying some easy phrases from Miles records (Blue Haze, Walkin, Bagroove etc).

JBN.S: – What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the Trumpet you are today? 

ER: – Had no theachers. Only in the 70’s (I was living in NYC) I went to see Carmine Caruso (trumpet therapist – that’s how he defined himself) ‘cause I had some chops problems  and he helped me to solve them.

JBN.S: – How has the Blues and Jazz culture influenced your views of the world?

ER: – Actually it changed completely  my life, not only my views.

JBN.S: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability?

ER: – I have some routine that include long tones, some Caruso exercises, some lips flexibility and lot of scales. It takes from one to two hours a day.

JBN.S: – Many aspiring musicians are always looking for advice when navigating thru the music business. Is there any piece of advice you can offer to aspiring students or even your peers that you believe will help them succeed and stay positive in this business?

ER: – You have to play music because  you love it so much that you HAVE to do it. The idea is : if you make it and make a good living out of  it, that’s great. If you don’t  succeed, be glad anyway because you are so lucky to be in touch with the music you love. I never considered it “ a job”.

JBN.S: – Аnd finally jazz can be a business today and someday?

ER: – It can be but there is no guarantee.  And anyway it is an ART, like poetry or visual art or literature.  Business is something different.

JBN.S: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are from half-a-century ago?

ER: – In fact there is not to many young people interested. Maybe it would be nice to play something more original and new instead of keep  playing the same tunes after 50 years. Or, even worst, to play original tunes that are more or less a copy of music of the 50 and 60.

JBN.S: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?

ER: – This is a question a little bit too deep. I’m not a philosopher. But If I was a philosopher it would  take me hundreds of pages to answer to that.
JBN.S: – What do you miss most nowadays from the music of past?  What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

ER: – I miss the great Masters who invented this music. Armstrong, Bix, Lester, Bird, Monk, Billy Holiday, Dizzy, Miles, Ornette, Don Cherry….I think that nobody today can take their place also because there not too much  left too invent or explore.

JBN.S: – What’s the next musical frontier for you?

ER: – I’m 78. My fear is the death. My hope is to have some more time to live  and play.

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between the blues/jazz and the genres of local folk music and traditional forms?

ER: – I’m working with a great electronic musician : Matthew Herbert. I think  electronic music could be one of next borders.

JBN.S: – Are there any similarities between the blues/jazz and the genres of local folk music and traditional forms?

ER: – I think blues is a universal language. You can find it in Indian music, in Japanese music, in some folk Irish music or in neapolitan music. And off course in african music. In the 70’s there was a very interesting article ( on Down Beat)   by the great Roswell Rudd whose title was: The Universality of the Blues. I agree 100% with it.

JBN.S: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?

ER: – Ravel, Bartok, Bach, Miles, Bird, Blossom Deary, Bessie Smith …

Conversation led: Simon Sargsyan

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