Smitty: Oh, that’s so cool. When you’ve got that kind of synergy together, it really makes for fantastic music when you perform. Talk about your tour in the U.S.
CM: I liked it so much. It was a great experience, a fantastic experience for us all, because for me time playing jazz festivals and concerts in the U.S. was a great, great emotion. It was a great honor and a wonderful experience. The festivals I took part in were really beautiful, really fantastic. In New York, the festival was dedicated to the Italian women in the world of jazz, it was their fourth year, and it was so exciting!! The festival in Hartford, Conn. it was a fantastic festival that—one that is a great tradition, so it had an emotional sort of experience that I never had before, and then I took part in another big event in New Haven and the name of the event is Firehouse Twelve and I played there and the place was really unique, really beautiful, really liked being there and performing there.
Smitty: What was it like talking with some of the musicians and the audiences?
CM: I didn’t expect my music would be so appreciated and I was so glad to hear that—I think the audience appreciated my music more than the Italians usually do here in Italy, so I was really happy to notice that everybody liked my music. It was a great experience.
Smitty: Yes, you have fantastic music. We love it. Were you able to meet some of the musicians here in the United States while you were on tour here? What was that like?
CM: Unfortunately, my tour in the U.S. wasn’t so long. It lasted only ten days. But I had the opportunity to listen to some jazz musicians, U.S. musicians, in Hartford and New York, Cyrus Chestnut, Eric Alexander. We listened to the concert in Hartford but I didn’t have the opportunity to talk to them. But in New York I could go to listen to Clark Terry at the Village Vanguard in New York.
Smitty: Oh, wow. You got a real treat! Clark Terry!
CM: Yes, I did. I listened to but I didn’t have the chance to talk to him, unfortunately, but I was there at one of his concert performances.
Smitty: Oh, fantastic. On the new record, I love all the songs, but my favorite is “Change of Mood.” These are all original songs, right?
CM: Yes, they are all original ones, yes.
Smitty: Talk about what this record has meant for you.
CM: First of all, this record is the first one that includes all original songs that have been written by me and it doesn’t include any other non-original pieces. While in the other records there were some of my compositions and some were original pieces, some other ones had been composed by Alessandro LaCorte, but in this record, all the music is original and has been composed by me. But I would like to underline that I usually arrange and change the different pieces, always in a team, together with the members of my band, and among them, most of all, with Alessandro LaCorte, so we work together.
Smitty: Oh, very cool. He’s an incredible musician, too.
CM: And I like to say that “Change of Mood” is also the title of one of my pieces that is on the record and it has got a very soft atmosphere and starts with a harmonic structure that is quite unusual. There is a sequence of different chords and it requires much attention when playing it, and then there is an abrupt change that leads to the final performance that is very strong and full of emotions. And “Change of Mood” means changing your attitude but not direction, musical part. Only sort of change of my personal mood, attitude. So I wanted to say that with that title, not that I wanted to change my musical direction.
Smitty: Nice! “Change Of Mood” is my favorite.
CM: This sort of atmosphere had already been included in the other pieces at the time, my previous records, like my ballads. As you can see, I love ballads and each one of my favorite pieces, so I wanted to show this sort of a duality within myself, and in the track “Change of Mood” it is not in one piece. It joins these two different sides of the coin. That’s why I thought that this title would suit the record to show everybody that inside of me there are these two different aspects. From strong, emotionally intact to a smooth, soft attitude and softer ballads.
Smitty: Yes. I love it! And that’s what sets you are apart as a great musician.
CM: Strong character but a soft one as well.
Smitty: Very cool and unique. When you are on tour in Italy and Europe, how is it different from when you were on tour in the U.S.?
CM: What really shocked me in the U.S. is that even my strongest, hardest mode of tracks were appreciated by the audience, including the middle-aged or older-aged ones, and that was really unusual because in Italy and in Europe that wouldn’t happen. Maybe because I think that in the U.S. is where jazz originated, so you feel it, so you are used to listening to it, to appreciating it, and so notwithstanding the age, people know jazz, they enjoy it, and they can even understand a particular type of jazz, like the slight difference from the one that is always on the radio and it’s more commercial.
CM: While in Italy, there are many festivals that are devoted to jazz and thank goodness jazz in Italy is appreciated as well, but unfortunately jazz is not broadcasted so much on TV or on the radio. For example, the Italian TV very seldom broadcasts shows on jazz or jazz performances, so that’s why maybe in Italy children or older-aged people don’t know much about it. In Italy, jazz is attractive to a certain range of people, people who are already fond of it, who already listen to it, and that’s why very often that range of people who go to concerts is a minimum percentage of the potential audience.