Sebastian interviewed saxophonist / bandleader Renato D’Aiello about his weekly series at Ronnie Scott’s, his two new projects:
LondonJazz: When did you move from Italy
Renato D’Aiello: I moved to London on Feb 1999.
LJ: It was the weather wasn’t it?
RD’A: I came here for the weather, haha. Actually, I came here for a woman who I liked very much and met in Italy. To be really honest I do not like so much hot weather. I like playing a lot in nice clubs and I noticed that in countries where it is too hot the clubs tends to shut for holiday already in May, and perhaps reopen in September or even in October . That is not great for me as I like to play possibly each month. So the weather here is actually OK for me.
LJ: You have a regular gig at Ronnie Scott’s what are the highlights?
RD’A: I started the Monday night upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s on the 9th of July 2010, ( in July it will be 4 years ) . At the beginning it was just me and the trio playing once a month and it was called Italian jazz night , then we changed for “Acoustic jazz lounge” . Then after few months it became a twice a month thing and finally after a year and half from the start it became an every Monday event. At this point me and the general manager discussed about the idea to invite a singer for the central set every Monday. Actually it has been working very well since then with this format.
There are a lot of people who love the “Acoustic Jazz Lounge”. They keep coming back with new and old friends. The atmosphere is very intimate and relaxed but not too snobbish. Unfortunately, I do not like so much having customers standing and chatting too much, so I make sure that there are enough tables with candles and low light to create a congenial environment where they can he happy, and we can play at our best.
LJ: You play quite a lot elsewhere in Europe
RD’A: I do play quite a lot in Europe at the moment. I go to Paris every few months. I started to go there 10 years ago invited by a French guitarist/producer called Patrick Saussois and on my first night in Paris Felix Sportis from Jazz Hot magazine interviewed me.
I also play in Berlin sometimes, In Stockholm , Oslo and Italy. In June I will be going for the first time to Finland for a week of concerts with Finnish pianist Karri Luhtala. In July I have been invited at the Malta Jazz Festival to play , and teach on a master class.
LJ: Tell us about your new projects
RD’A: I have 2 new projects in the pot now. The first one is called EVOLUTION featuring the phenomenal singer/performer from London Randolph Matthews, Japanese pianist resident in Paris Hiroshi Murayama, Italian bassist in London Dario DI Lecce and new comer in London, Italian drummer Emiliano Caroselli.
We will start playing on the 21st of April Upstairs at Ronnie Scott’s, then again on the same venue on the 30th of June, and on the 24th of July we will be at Pizza Express Dean st.
This project includes original compositions by myself, Hiroshi, Randolph, plus our original arrangements of Shorter and Davis compositions.
LJ: And the other project?
RD’A: The other project which is very dear to me is called CONFLUENCES. This is a world music project with some jazz influence. We will start playing in October . The music is all mine. Each song has been written and dedicated to a particular country of the Earth. On one number called “The Adventurer” a poem of mine is recited on top of music. I have been writing poems, aphorisms, anecdotes since I was 6 years old.
The project CONFLUENCES will be featuring the amazing talent of Amit Chatterjee on guitar/singing ( 11 years guitarist/singer with Joe Zawinul’s syndicate ).
LJ: What are the big dates?
RD’A: Our first gig will be in London at Lauderdale House on the 16th of October. I am working now on booking some other gigs in UK near the London date.
LJ: And you are interested in Indian music?
RD’A: I love Indian music a lot and I have been studying Indian singing for a while, before starting taking lesson with Ranjana Ghatak. When I heard Amit singing/playing in Paris with Zawinul I was amazingly impressed and touched. On that day i promised to myself that one day i will have a band with him. That day has come.
LJ: Tell us about the musicians in Confluences and Amit Chatterjee in particular
RD’A: Amit is firstly a wonderful classical Indian sitarist, but he does not play the sitar outside the context of classical Indian music. He plays guitar with a very original style and his singing is just celestial. The other musicians will be Hiroshi Murayama on piano/keyboards, Ivano Fortuna on drums/percussion/vocal.
Ivano Fortuna is a multi talented ( percussion/drums, singer/producer ) artist from Italy and an old friend. I have not decided yet who is going to be on bass but soon will have clear idea about it. Hiroshi as, also Zawinul has a background in classical music and classic jazz but he can play anything from classic jazz to contemporary jazz. He is incredibly interactive on the stage, therefore an ideal partner for me. I am used to listen a lot to the other musicians when we play and I always look for people with the same attitude.
LondonJazz: And there’s a Jazz album? and what else?
Renato D’Aiello: I am also finishing a ballad album (jazz standards ) in April for 33JAZZ.
In May I will also tackle my previous unfinished project SATORI with the string quartet added to the band, and hopefully we will be recording next year with Confluences featuring Amit and the new band.