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Take Five With Tony DiGregoria

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Meet Tony DiGregorio: Born Brooklyn, New York, 1958. Original member of The Swing Now Trio, 1985 - 1994. Composed and performed music for experimental theater projects in New York and San Francisco. Scored the film The Caprice (2000). CD Was ist los Liebe?, with bassist Mary Ann McSweeny and drummer John Thomas.

Instrument(s):

Guitar, composer.

Teachers and/or influences?

Teachers: Paul Caputo: composition;
Marty Ehrlich: improv, composition;

Guitar: Informal lessons with uncle, Oscar DiGregorio;

Briefly with Gene Bertoncini and Mark Diorio;

Classical guitar with Dennis Cinelli.

Influences: Oscar DiGregorio, Django Reinhardt, Eddie Lang, Charlie Christian and Segovia. Also, Eric Dolphy, Bill Evans, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Teddy Charles and Gil Evans.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

I was about 10 years old.

Your sound and approach to music: I basically come from a Swing era approach, but am slowly trying to moving toward a freer style.

Your teaching approach: Have patience, give a solid foundation, then encourage experimentation.

Your dream band:

I would like to work with Teddy Charles again and record with him.

Favorite venue:

Delta Grill. They really treat us well over there and the food is great!

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? "I'm Old Fashioned," from a demo made in a friend's basement. Why? Because I finally played a half decent solo.

CDs you are listening to now:

Lenny Breau, Swinging on a 7 String;

Ned Rothenberg, Powerlines (New World Records);

Marty Ehrlich, Darkwoods Ensemble (New World Records);

Anton Webern, Complete Works, Boulez Conducting.

Desert Island picks:

Djangology, Minor Swing (RCA, 1949);

Out There, Feathers;

Teddy Charles Tentette, Lydian M1;

Fats Waller, Ain't Misbehavin (RCA);

Anything by Dinah Washington.

How would you describe the state of jazz today? Bleak.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Educating the public. Creating a general high level of quality in everything, not just music.

What is in the near future? I am currently preparing a recording for my quartet.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: A painter.


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