One of the rising stars of the bass world was kind enough to sit down and share some thoughts on his debut release and his perspective on artistic creativity.
In a recent conversation you picked up on a comment I made that you did not seem to subscribe to the speed is king mentality nor did you camp out of odd meter in an attempt to become the flavor of the month. What was the creative process about for Oltreoceano?
A.V. -"Well my intention when I went to the studio was to record some music. It may sound obvious and simple but sometimes because of the greed to achieve something else other than that, musicians are the first to "poison" the artistic integrity in order to please a certain audience, and ultimately not achieving any of those goals. So I really appreciated that you perceived the honest purpose I had to try to make my music in the way I hear and feel it, rather than an immature tentative to attract the listeners attention through artificial use of more impressive solutions, nowadays it seems usually odd meters or faster tempos. Which it's funny becuse they are not anywhere present in my album. That said, there is no place I really wanted to go from a creative standpoint. If I went somewhere it wasn't predetermined decision. That's not for a lack of purpose or creativity, but for the desire to leave the music free to manifest itself, given certain restrictions, like the choice of the tunes and the musicians. It just happened that I've been listening to a lot of music for small groups ( solos, duos, and trios) and also piano music lately, so it came along with the spontaneous necessity to record a trio album with a pianist and explore myself in this kind of musical environment, simply playing in it and composing for it. Definitely I am really interested in improvisation, from that the desire to keep a open mind attitude, with as less instructions as possible. I guess the more you want to improvise the lighter you have to travel."
"Normally" the standard piano, bass and drums can at time sound somewhat fragmented. With Oltreoceano we have a harmonious union of texture. Open ended and expansive yet an intimate approach to execution. A more live studio set up as opposed to a great deal of pre-rehearsed improvisation seems to enhance the interplay between participants. Am I close?
A.V. "For this of course I have to thank Kenny and Ross who are true listeners and know how to react to what they hear. That's not always easy, especially in the studio, where you mostly hear each other through earphones and it's also a "sterilized" environment where it's very challenging to be spontaneous and improvise in. The music was done completely live in the studio, we didn't have any rehearse time and actually I had never met Ross before those sessions, so the first time we actually met and played was right in the studio. I think this is a luxury and a privilege that belongs to jazz musicians only and sometimes can bring better musical results than having a lot of playing and rehearsals together. I don't know if we as a trio created a unique sound or not, but there is a good balance. I guess on the music we recorded. Even when there are some discrepancies, which always occur during improvised music, they translate into some tension that seems to find a release somehow in a later episode, so that hopefully they don't sound like mistakes!"