Giovanni Mirabassi is a jazz pianist, composer and arranger born in Perugia in 1970. This renowned pianist now has a career spanning more than 20 years, 17 gold discs to his name, a Djando d’or and a prize from the French Académie du Jazz. He made a name for himself in 2001 with the release of Aventi- a seminal album and a tribute to the melancholy of some fifteen hymns to freedom and partisan songs from every country. Constantly in search of new sounds and new collaborations, he is an outstanding composer, staying faithful in form to the inventive tradition of jazz and, in substance, to its spirit of protest.
He has around thirty albums to his name as well as hundreds of collaborations, from Chet Baker to Eliot Zigmund, Stefon Harris, Henri Texier, Natalie Dessay, or Charles Aznavour just to name a few. He is also the founder of the Jazz Eleven label and has composed numerous themes for the cinema (Caprice in 2015, Mademoiselle de Joncquières in 2018, Les choses qu’on dit les choses qu’on fait, 2020 by Emmanuel Mouret, Swing Rendez-Vous in 2022, by Gérôme Barry…).
What first got you into music? Who inspired you to make music?
I had the chance to have a piano in the living room, and I started to play with it as a toy, when I was barely standing on my legs. When I was 10 yo I listened to an LP of John Coltrane playing “my favorite thing”. I didn’t understand what’s going on in this incredible music, but I had immediately the intimate conviction that I had to become a musician, and try to do what this guys were doing.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Good question: I play acoustic jazz, mostly my own compositions, I love melody, I love the voice, and I try to write and improvise “cantabile” lines.
What is your creative process like?
Well. Since I can remember I have a melody going on in my head. Sometimes it sounds nice, so I try to keep it by playing it on the piano. I am a self-thought guy, so I am not writing music a lot for myself, I only write things down when I want somebody else to perform it. If I remember a melody I composed after a couple of days, it means that it’s good enough to give it a try.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I would love to compose something for Natalia Lafourcade, or Adele. In the jazz side I would like to play with the saxophonist Seamus Blake.
If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Thanks so much, I am very grateful to my audience, you guys are the reason why I am playing music, you are my everything.
What is the most useless talent you have?
I am very good at crossword puzzles.
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
I don’t sing in the shower at all. I guess the shower is the problem.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
Diplomat or cook. Probably cook after a difficult career in diplomacy.
Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
I performed in many places around the world. My favorite venue is the Tokyo Blue Note. For diplomatic reasons I will pass on the least favorite. I just finished a tour around Europe in September, will play in Ploiesti (Romania) October 26, I should tour around China in November but I don’t have any detail yet. I am playing solo in Aix en Provence (France) on November 27.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Well. Internet allows you to access a lot of ressources very easily, to discover thousands of super talented musicians around the world in a couple of clics, this is really exciting. In the other hand it is very difficult for “non commercial” music to exist in the middle of such a mess. Pets, naked girls and violence make the trick way more than a good solo.
What is your favourite song to perform?
The jazz standard “If I should lose you”.
Which famous musicians do you admire?
There are a lot of musicians I admire. My favorite of all times is Bill Evans, my generations favourite is Gonzalo Rubalcaba, but there are so many.
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
I moved to Paris age 21, with nothing but a cat and 50.000 lire (let’s say 20 euros today). Well, I also stole a bike when 13, and have been caught of course.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
instead of playing to be loved by the bigger number of people, play for the person you love the most on earth.
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be ?
It would definitely be THE ALGORITHM.
What’s next for you?
Many things to come. As a performer, but also as a producer (I founded a record label and I work with a bunch of very exciting artists) and as a composer (I am working on an opera).
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