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Take Five With Francesco Lo Castro

Francesco Lo Castro By

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Meet Francesco Lo Castro:
Italian born Francesco Lo Castro is a UK-based jazz guitarist and composer known for his personal and melodic approach to improvisation. Style well showcased in his latest album, Songs for Duke.

Instrument(s):
Guitar.

Teachers and/or influences?
Gianni Cataleta. He has been my teacher not only with regards to theory and technical things but, more important, he prepared me for the road life, shaping my personality and pushing me in the direction of always trying to be personal rather than someone else's clone

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
When I was 12-13 and realized that I was going to sleep every night with headphones on, listening to music and projecting myself on a stage performing that music.

Your sound and approach to music:
Southern Italian, very melodic and sometimes minimalistic. I believe in space, both in terms of silence and in leaving blanks for others to fill. I love improvising and I love being personal. I can only be me, but I try to be as good as I can at it.

Your teaching approach:
Road experience can teach way more than books. It's important to practice but it is even more important to apply that practice to the real worlds and with a real audience to find out what works and what does not work.

Your dream band:
Improvisation is about listening so I love working with the people I work with at the moment like Bruno D'Ambra (Songs for Duke) or Eric De Face and Tony De Paolis (on the future release While We Hope and Dream), because they really listen and value each note. I like musicians who don't feel the need to showcase their technical ability but are confident about their musical statements and are willing to make ensemble music first.

Favorite venue:
Oliver's Jazz Club in London. Wonderful and attentive audience all the time.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
The next one....music is a growing up experience and I grow with it.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
Joe Pass and Ella Fitzgerald (Speak Love) on vinyl. Just incredibly beautiful music and Joe Pass is such a master of feel when he plays guitar. So human and yet so beautiful.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
Personality. I don't mind taking risks and keep searching for something to say musically, showing my influences but still do my thing and force myself to stay as personal as I can possibly be.

Did you know...
I studied economy before embarking on a music career and took my first guitar lesson aged 25.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Never forget the audience and put them in the conditions to feel the music rather than trying to be too intellectual about it.

What is in the near future?
Two new albums to be released in 2013. One in trio with Pittsburgh-based Eric De Fade and Tony De Paolis, which we are also touring from may 2013. The second, a solo album of compositions I wrote and arranged for a larger ensemble featuring all my favorite musicians I enjoyed working with in the last few years.

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