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Fabrizio Sotti: The Key to Music

By Published: December 25, 2012
AAJ: Jazz to R&B to hip hop: how do you pull off performing in such varied genres?

FS: Music for me has only two genres: good and bad. I prefer certain genres, but the key to music for me is soul and communication.

AAJ: What are your favorite genres? And who were your influences?

FS: Without a doubt jazz—or musical situations where improvisation is involved. The artists I've always loved and will always love are Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix. Of the living ones, I have listened a lot to [pianist] Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
and I consider Joe Diorio one of greatest guitarist/teacher ever. I still don't understand why he is so underrated. Also, I have been very influenced by Brazilian jazz.

AAJ: What's it like to be on stage with all those greats?

FS: I consider being able to play with all these great musicians and being onstage or on record with them a blessing.

AAJ: Please share your thoughts about yourself as a k=jazz performer.

FS: I will always perform with my jazz groups, it's something that, no matter what, I always need in my life. I'm planning, right now, to perform much more then I have in the recent past, with both traditional jazz combos and a more accessible band, in order to be able to play for an audience that appreciates good music without necessarily being jazz fans.

AAJ: Please talk about producing, playing and working with Cassandra Wilson?

FS: Working with Cassandra is very different then working with any other singer because she is a complete musician, not just a singer. We have a real magical musical chemistry. In her projects I have been able to mix jazz guitar playing with most of my other musical influences and my pop producing sensibility. If you listen to the albums Glamoured and Another Country, you can hear a lot of different influences.

AAJ: What's it like playing and working with singer Claudia Acuna
Claudia Acuna
Claudia Acuna


FS: I have known Claudia for a long time, I consider her a great musician and singer—In particular when she sings in Spanish, she really touches my soul. The first time we played together was during the recordings of one of her albums produced by [saxophonist] Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
. After that, I invited her sing on Inner Dance; we wrote a song called "Amanecer." She will also appear in my next album, Right Now.

AAJ: What has it been like working with/for artists like Dead Prez, Q-Tip, Tupac, J-LO and Whitney Houston?

FS: Each time it is a journey inside someone else's musical world, and each time I get richer inside. I try to give my best to anyone I work with and absorb as much as I can from each experience.

AAJ: What are your present projects?

FS: I have just finished the recording on my album Right Now, which is a totally different project from anything I have done before. For the first time, on my own album, I have mixed jazz with pop, maintaining as much integrity as possible. At the core, it's a trio recording with Tony Grey
Tony Grey
Tony Grey
bass, electric
on bass and Mino Cinelu
Mino Cinelu
Mino Cinelu
on percussions/drums ,with guest vocalists from all genres of music like Shaggy, Melanie Fiona, Zucchero
, Ice T, Dead Prez, Res, Algebra Blessett, Claudia Acuña and a new rising star, Isabella Lundgren. The material is composed of some timeless covers like "One" (U2), "The Wall" (Pink Floyd), "Waitin´ In Vain" (Bob Marley), "Fidjo Maguado" (Cesaria Evora) and some original compositions. The album will be released around May, 2013.

Other than that I'm working on a bunch of different projects: M1 of Dead Prez, Isabella Lundgren's debut album, a duo recording with accordion player Julien Labro
Julien Labro
Julien Labro

and A recording with Italian pianist Alberto Pizzo.

AAJ: You are truly a man of many hats—which do you prefer and why?

FS: The hat that I prefer is "passion" and to put your heart into anything you do. Because life without passion is lifeless...

AAJ: On your last recording, Inner Dance, you dedicated it to guitarist Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
Wes Montgomery
1925 - 1968
and organist Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith
Jimmy Smith
1925 - 2005
organ, Hammond B3
, and rightfully so. Care to share your thoughts on this?

FS: The guitar/organ sound influenced me a lot in my early years, so I dedicated Inner Dance to these great masters who have touched the lives of millions of musicians. Instead of copying what they masterfully did already, on Inner Dance I have used what I have learned from them to create my own version of the organ trio.

AAJ: It comes off as a sound reminiscent of the 1960s, but brought forward into today with warm, smooth instrumentation—was that the intention?

FS: Yes, it was. If you listen to all the tracks it moves from hard-swinging music to more relaxed and accessible stuff.

AAJ: You have just participated in the 2012 edition of the Dominican Republic Jazz festival. How do you feel about it?

FS: It felt very good and refreshing. The program had an amazing variety of great musicians. I was very surprised and proud to find out that an Italian in the Dominican Republic created the festival.

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Download jazz mp3 “Kindness In Your Eyes” by Fabrizio Sotti