Q&A with NYC-based jazz pianist, composer, arranger John Di Martino, his music is an honest outpouring of light

"Today there is far too much imitation and archival creation of the music of the past. All the great jazz artists in the history books had their own unique individual style. It’s important for every musician to manifest their unique musical voice in the same way that every face and every fingerprint are unique!"

John Di Martino: The Poetic Element

John di Martino is a composer, arranger, jazz pianist, producer and educator, based in New York City. He is described as a "shape-shifter", for his creativity across musical genres. John composed the music for the documentary series: “A Glimpse Of Paradise" (Prospera Medienproduktion) aired on Europe’s Arte Channel, and music for the video games: "Batman: The Telltale Series" Mr. Di Martino latest CD’s are: “Passion Flower” (the music of Billy Strayhorn), Featuring Raul Midon, Eric Alexander, Boris Kozlov, and Lewis Nash, and: “Mazel” (Yiddish Songs, re-imagined), with Janis Siegel and Cantor Daniel Krammer. John has recorded numerous CDs on the High Note and Venus Records (Japan) labels as a leader, and with Freddy Cole, Gloria Lynn, Houston Person, and Nicki Parrott. NEA Jazz master says: "John's soul and being come straight through to his music, the jazz world needs him!"              

(John Di Martino, an acclaimed New York City-based jazz musician / Photo by Janis Wilkins)

John’s discography includes Grammy-nominated CD’S: ”Love" (Issac Delgado), "Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B" and "Live And In Clave" (Bobby Sanabria). John di Martino was a long-time member of Ray Barretto's. John di Martino born in Philadelphia, Pa in 1959, John studied with Jimmy Amadie, Lennie Tristano, and Don Sebesky.  The late great Latin Jazz legend Ray Barretto said: "John di Martino's middle name should be 'taste', for he conveys that quality in both solo and supportive roles, in jazz as well as Latin music."

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Jazz influenced your views of the world? What is the role of Jazz music in today’s society?

Jazz is about listening with an open heart and being in the present moment.  Not judging anyone and being open to any musical concept. Life could be approached in the same way!

How do you describe your sound and music philosophy? What's the balance in music between technique (skills) and soul/emotions?

I am always seeking what I call “the poetic element”. I try to tune into myself and whatever the universe wants me to play. One should never play to “impress”. Technique is only a means to an end. Music is a language of motifs that speaks directly to the heart! The jazz fans of a bygone era, when they liked a player, they would say: “he is saying something”. Hence the poetic element.

What moment changed your life the most? What´s been the highlights in your life and career so far?

One highlight was my first night with Ray Barretto’s New World Spirit at the New Morning Club in Paris. No rehearsal, I was just thrown unto the gig. At the end of the night Ray said to me: “you have brought something new to my band, and I thank you for that! “A year later, I became a regular member of the band.

"It’s all music. The basic principles are the same. Only the style is different. Music is always about being in context. One must understand what the musical context is. I like to quote the great Arthur Rubinstein: “there is no bad music, only bad specimens”." (John Di Martino / Photo by Janis Wilkins)

Why do you think that New York Jazz scene continues to generate such a devoted following?

New York has always been a center for Jazz. It has the largest concentration of Jazz musicians, and there is an energy there that must be experienced for a certain period of time in the development of any jazz musician.

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Today there is far too much imitation and archival creation of the music of the past. All the great jazz artists in the history books had their own unique individual style.

It’s important for every musician to manifest their unique musical voice in the same way that every face and every fingerprint are unique!

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

I am learning new concepts about music and about life every day and often I am revisiting a concept that was presented to me earlier to gain a deeper understanding.

What are the lines that connect the legacy of Jazz from Latin music to Blues and from Soul to Classical?

It’s all music. The basic principles are the same. Only the style is different. Music is always about being in context. One must understand what the musical context is. I like to quote the great Arthur Rubinstein: “there is no bad music, only bad specimens”.

Do you think there is an audience for jazz music in its current state? or at least a potential for young people to become future audiences and fans?

Yes, there will always be an audience. I do think we have to make an effort to bring a new audience into the music and that requires being flexible with our musical concept.

John di Martino - Home

(John Di Martino / Photo by Simon Thomas)

Views: 107

Comments are closed for this blog post

social media

Members

© 2024   Created by Michael Limnios Blues Network.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service