Meet Marzio Scholten: Marzio Scholten (1982, Granollers, Spain) is regarded as one of the most talented and promising modern jazz guitarists and composers in The Netherlands. In 2006, he graduated from the renowned Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he studied with Jesse van Ruller, Yuri Honing and many others. Motherland, his critically acclaimed debut as a leader, was released in 2008. With this album he has proven to be one of Holland's leading jazz guitarists.
In 2009, Marzio was nominated for the prestigious Deloitte Jazz Award, and selected as Artist Deserving Wider Recognition, by . In 2010 his new album, World Of Thought, will be released. This new album contains appearances by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, bassist Stefan Lievestro, pianist Randal Corsen, saxophonist Yaniv Nachum and drummer Bob Roos.
Marzio has played his music on many stages and festivals in The Netherlands and abroad. Some examples: North Sea Jazz Festival, Bimhuis, Vredenburg, Royal Theatre Carré en The Hague Jazz. His international tours have led him to Berlin, Hamburg, Leipzig, Athens, Nicosia, Kosovo, Miami (USA) and Mexico City.
Teachers and/or influences? I studied and graduated at the Conservatory of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), where I was fortunate enough to study with a few a the greatest guitarists in Europe; Jesse van Ruller, Martijn van Iterso and Maarten van der Grinten. Besides these guys I am heavily influenced by all sorts of music and art, not only jazz. I love indie rock music, for instance, especially the Brooklyn scene nowadays.
As far as modern jazz goes, I really enjoy listening to David Binney, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel and their contemporaries. Somehow, I tend to listen more to saxophone players than guitarists, for whatever reason that may be. Besides music, I am also influenced by great writers like Haruki Murakami and Jonathan S. Foer, and love movies as well. Art and life in general are the main influences, I guess.
Your sound and approach to music: When I write music, first and foremost I try to write music that I would like to listen to myself. I also like having a deeper layer within my compositions, without forcing it; something the audience might or might not get, depending on how well they listensome sort of food for thought. It's not something I think of while writing, it comes naturally.
Something that is important to me as well is the sound of the composition, the color of the music; I want to be surrounded by the music, like a bath of sound.
My guitar sound became what it is now in a very natural way, through trial and error. Since I was a little kid I have used delay on my guitar, so effects have gradually become a natural part of the sound. Of course, I have given some thought to the way I use it live and on recordings. It is an ongoing process of trying to reach for that sound you hear in your head. I believe I am getting closer to that sound. Most importantly, I think the sound comes from within myself, my hands, fingers. It is a cliché, but it is true.
Your dream band:
I always try to surround myself with musicians that inspire me and can force me to greater heights musically. Playing with the same group for a really long time makes me feel like I'm restricting myself, so I keep changing things around to keep it fresh and exciting, although a steady base is really important to let the music grow. So, I try to have a steady band for a couple of years and then see where it goes naturally.
What is important to me is to play with musicians that have the same musical mindset, and have an immediate connection with the music we're playing. The music just asks for certain musicians, and when the time is right, I ask them to join the band. I'm fortunate enough to have a great band right now, and am looking forward to playing with these guys and being inspired by them for the next couple of years. So in that way, the band I have right now is my dream band.
Your favorite recording in your discography and why? My discography is not really extensive yet. My debut album, Motherland, was released in 2008, and my new album, World Of Thought, is coming out this year, on October 2nd, 2010. This album features Ambrose Akinmusire on trumpet, Yaniv Nachum on tenor saxophone, Randal Corsen on piano, Stefan Lievestro on bass and Bob Roos on drums. World Of Thought is definitely my favorite recording, because of the way that it has come really close to the musical vision I had at the time of recording it. I'm really proud of this record.
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? While studying jazz, or just listening to jazz, we are constantly confronted with the huge musical history and the legacy that a lot of great musicians have left us.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.