Interview with Marcelo Gagliotti: There is a math side and intuitive side: Video

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Jazz Interview with jazz guitarist, arranger, producer Marcelo Gagliotti. An interview by email in writing.

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

Marcelo Gagliotti: – Hi Simon! First of all I would like to thank all of your readers and you Simon for talking with me. I grew up in Sao Paulo. I am a musicians family member .My father was a bass player and my uncle was a guitar player.

JBN.S: – What got you interested in picking up the guitar? What teacher or teachers helped you progress to the level of playing you have today? What made you choose the guitar?

MG: – I learned my first chords with my father. I used to listen to Beatles songs. So I was fascinated for guitar. When I was studying at elementary school I had a great opportunity for participating at L.A.A. (laboratory of artistic activities). There I have learned how to play piano, organ, trumpet, flute, percussion always honing my skills with guitar.

JBN.S: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?

MG: – When I was 14 I started to play with wedding bands, corporate events and graduations. I had to learn all of music styles. In these events, people like to dance. It is like a ball room.  At the same time I was playing in gigs for rock and roll, jazz, funk. It was a great apprenticeship time. It was a research time. Rhythm, harmony and effects. So when I was 20 I started working in some sessions in studio recording any music style. Playing acoustic and electric guitars.

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

MG: – It is an interesting question Simon. I have a big challenge in my crazy schedule for practicing. I try to practice at least an hour a day. Warm up is essential for me. It is so important during cold days. When you are musician student usually you have more time for practicing. However, when you become a professional musician your daily routine is totally different.  During sessions, travels, gigs, delay time in airports, you have to figure out a time for practicing. Whether I have just one hour for practicing, I like to divide my time this way:  15 minutes for warm up, 15 minutes for studies of harmony, 15 minutes for studies of scales and 15 minutes for creating something new. Even though only new phrase or new riff. I like so much listen to drummers and pianists. To me it is interesting to come up with new concepts this way.

JBN.S: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now? You’re playing is very sensitive, deft, it’s smooth, and I’d say you drift more toward harmony than dissonance. There is some dissonance there, but you use it judiciously. Is that a conscious decision or again, is it just an output of what goes in?

MG: – Simon when I am trying to do something new to me, I pay attention on melody. And then I start to choose chords can sound great with that. In my opinion the most difficult part is to choose the first note, which tonality. Sometimes I have in my mind a nice melody and sometimes I try to begin for just one chord.

I usually like to do some experiences like for example changing the progression using a chord of another tonality. This bar is Cmaj7 let me try Abmaj7. If it sounds good ok otherwise I keep the original idea.

JBN.S: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?

MG: – Good question Simon, I think that the great tip is working with different rhythms and tonalities. During a create process for a new album you can feel influences by yourself. It is normal because you are hearing over and over again your songs. But you can explore varieties once that you try new rhythms. It helps you to come up with something new.

JBN.S: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

MG: – I think in music there are many ways to be applied. There is a math side and intuitive side.

There are awesome musicians that they do not have a clue about harmony rules and scales playing very well. In the other hand there are awesome musicians that really able to use the math side of music for beautiful songs.

Movies scene for example all the time are using the intellectual side of music but the audience can feel in their soul.

I think when you are enjoying your favorite song you are feeding your soul.

JBN.S: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?

MG: – Yes I like to talk with audience always I can.

I think my audience likes about my style because I like to change every album. I try to be not repetitive. Do you know what I mean?

JBN.S: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

MG: – One of great experiences in my life was sharing the stage with Herbie Hancock and having Simon Phillips as a co producer and drummer on my album “Change Your Life”. They are one of the best musicians ever and they are so humble with a wide knowledge and wisdom. They had with me an unforgettable treatment with a big respect as a musician and human being.

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

MG: – I grew up without internet. I had not lots of information about world music. I used to listen to music that my parents used to listen.

Perhaps it still is a good way nowadays. Parents, family, friends have a role to share culture, to share good music.

Would be wonderful if TV´s and Radios around the world could  broadcast the jazz.  Like you do Simon.

We can discover talents in a whole planet this way.

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

MG: – I my opinion each person has a wonderful role.  You Simon, you are one of the best jazz journalist in the world. Your role is giving information for the audience giving opportunity for musicians sharing their work .I think musicians have a role for entertainment and giving great moment throughout their songs  to the audience. Playing songs is to serve. Playing songs is sharing happiness. Make people happy.

JBN.S: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

MG: – Every city has talent people. Even for playing or singing. But some of them have not resources for recording and show up. It would be great if the government or the companies gave support for these new artists. It could be a great opportunity for promoting theses cities through their artists.

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

MG: – Usually I have been so eclectic. I have been listening Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Simon Phillips, Eric Johnson, Tom Jobim, Paul McCartney, Chicago, Dire Straits, Larry Carlton, lots of stuff.

JBN.S: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

MG: – I think this album tells us about gratitude. Because I think just few people have their first instrument, so, this guitar, it is my first instrument. I’ve learned my first chords from my father playing this guitar. When I was 9, 10, my uncle brought this guitar by second hand Do you know? And I started to practice some chords with my father. My first presentation was playing this guitar. Nowadays, I am still using this guitar. For example, Sometimes, I can’t plug in my electric guitar, bass, anyway, It is easier for playing something, to come up with melodies for jingles, future new songs .Do you know? So, I decided to do a new album with this guitar. I had many achievements in my life playing this guitar.

JBN.S: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?

MG: – It is a very good question. Sometimes I have old fashioned thoughts and I would like to visit a time when my heroes used to recording with just simple machines and just few tracks. Just one take. I have deepest respect to them. Charlie Parker, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane are some of examples. Thanks to them we have an advanced technology nowadays.

JBN.S: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…

MG: – I have been working in studio over than 20 years. I have learned many things. I realized that. If you really want a great album you must invite musicians much better than you.

JBN.S: – Thanks for answers. 🙂

JBN.S: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?

MG: – In the music world and in the life is the same apprenticeship. We can learn from each other all the time. I try to be a better human being respecting other points of view.  I can make my contribution to my society as a musician for the better world taking peace and happiness to the people through my music.

To conclude, my especial thanks to Simon Sargsyan and all of readers of Jazz Blues News. Thank you so much! Peace.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

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