Susie Arioli: Brushing with Strings
AAJ: Tell me more about your experience with I Musici?
SA: At the first rehearsal there was a nice chemistry right away. We really felt that there was a mutual respect, and they had a relaxed attitude towards the rehearsal that made it very friendly but, at the same time, were very professional and efficient. It was a way of working that made us feel very secure, and right away we knew the show would be good.
Also, we had the idea of rehearsing with a smaller version of the orchestra so that we could have a little extra time getting to know the charts and all that, and it ended up being at our place the day after the move. It was a perfect way to fill the new place with good vibes and beautiful music. When we started playing "Phoenix, which was the first one we did that day, it was very moving. Also, we realized that we could do these charts with a string quintet too, because it works great that way. It was also a chance to get to know some of the players better in a more intimate rehearsal setting.
Susie Arioli Band featuring Jordan Officer at the 2007 Montreal Jazz Festival
By the time we did the show, it didn't feel like us and them. The thing was a whole. We were connected. We knew the charts and were able to play with them as we play any other time: free. Once again the first song was "Phoenix. It's a beautiful way for them to come in, subtle but powerful. It hits you in a very soft way. It was a fun show. Might have been with a classical orchestra at the most important concert hall in Montreal, but we had fun, took risks...
At the end we all agreed. Many of the musicians of I Musici came up to us to say it as well, that there's no way this can be the only time we do this. We have to do it again. Also, it was a great way to end off the year (if you think of the year beginning in September, which in performing arts it kind of does except for festivals) and charge our creative juices by reminding us how magical music is. The experience of that show will surely have an impact on our next record in one way or another.
AAJ: Do you write your own songs or lyrics?
SA: No, but when I improvise I sing my own melodies. When I choose songs it's because the lyrics are incredibly gorgeous already and they need no improvement.
AAJ: What is your next project?
SA: I'm recording an album this autumn. I'm really ready to tackle the jazz standards. We'll be touring in September.
Susie Arioli Band, Susie Arioli Band featuring Jordan Officer Live at the Montreal International Jazz Festival (Justin Time, 2007)
Susie Arioli Band, Learn to Smile Again (Justin Time, 2005)
Susie Arioli Band, That's for Me (Justin Time, 2004)
Susie Arioli Swing Band, Pennies from Heaven (Justin Time, 2002)
Susie Arioli Swing Band, It's Wonderful (Sodec, 2000)
Courtesy of Montreal International Jazz Festival