GIOVANNI MOLTONI
Just Another Night: Live Trio
(C# Music Productions)

 

Speaking about his 2016 live trio album Just Another Night, guitarist Giovanni Moltoni tells mwe3.com, “My intention this time around was to release some of the compositions that we have played recently and I’m happy to be able to present them as a live CD. I was looking for an opportunity to release a new trio recording, and I’m happy it was live. This concert presents a variety of my compositions, five of which will be released for the first time, and 4 that are trio arrangements of music previously recorded with the quartet.” Born in Italyand living for years in the Boston area and long on the faculty at Berklee school of musicon Just Another Night Giovanni is in fine form, caught live in concert with his trio. It seems that what ever group of musicians Giovanni records with, he always seems to be able to bring out the best performances from his players. Jazz purists will love Just Another Night, and guitar fans will marvel at Giovanni's fretboard skills in this trio setting. As this eight song CD proves, the intimate and choice setting of the live stage makes Just Another Night the perfect way to tune into the timeless, long-standing jazz guitar sounds of Giovanni Moltoni. www.GiovanniMoltoni.com

 




mwe3.com presents an interview with
GIOVANNI MOLTONI
The Live Trio Interview



mwe3
: What can you tell us about your new CD Just Another Night and who plays with you on the album? How did you decide to record with a trio setting this time around? You must be happy with the results because it sounds great!

Giovanni Moltoni: Just Another Night is a live trio recording of one of our club dates. It was a mellow Thursday night with two of my favorite musicians, Fernando Huergo on bass and Marcello Pellitteri on drums. I’ve known them and played with them for decades, they both know my music well and I am very comfortable playing with them. I am delighted that they were with me that night! I have always believed that it is very important, especially for jazz musicians, to have live recordings of our work - so many of the things that make this music great happen live. Throughout my career, I’ve tried to periodically record some of my concerts to be able to capture some of those special moments that would otherwise be lost, either for a youtube video, or, like in this case, for a CD.

My intention this time around was to release some of the compositions that we have played recently and I’m happy to be able to present them as a live CD. To answer your question, I was hoping to be able to release the concert on CD, but as always, I didn’t really know until I got the recording and was able to listen to it many times. When considering a recording for publication, I normally listen for great playing and musical communication between the musicians, I assess the mood of the recording and dynamics, and the overall quality, to name a few things. Most importantly, I need to be able to listen to it many times without getting tired or bothered by it—that usually is the sign for me that I should release it.

Although I regularly perform with my quartet as well as with my trio, this is only my second trio release. I’m happy that it worked out that way, I was looking for an opportunity to release a new trio recording, and I’m happy it was live.

This concert presents a variety of my compositions, five of which will be released for the first time, and 4 that are trio arrangements of music previously recorded with the quartet.

mwe3: Do you consider Just Another Night to be the follow up album to Tomorrow’s Past? What made you want to follow up Tomorrow’s Past with a live album? The sound is fabulous on the new live album. Was it just a case of, this sounds great, let’s release it on CD?

Giovanni Moltoni: This live recording is the follow up of Tomorrow’s Past in the sense that it presents 5 new compositions never released before, but a live concert is different from a studio album in my opinion.
I see the live recording as a snapshot in time, more similar to a picture. When we play live we have a guideline of what we’d like to do, but many things are decided right there while we play, and in a way, the evening itself decides how the music goes. That’s why it’s so important for me to know that I’m playing with musicians that communicate well with each other musically. Fernando and Marcello are definitely this way, which is a great feeling for me because I can just relax and play. When we record a live concert, it’s not always certain that it will work out, the performance or recording equipment might have problems, or other things could go wrong that are unexpected and potentially interfere with the performance. That night we played well, and the mood of the recording is really nice. I felt that it could be a good document of what we do and how we sound live.

mwe3: How did you choose the tracks on Just Another Night and can you tell us something about the different tracks on the CD? Does the track lineup reflect your live set list or was this night specifically unique?

Giovanni Moltoni: I played the concert with a set that could have worked if we decided to release the concert. That said, I also knew that in order to fit in the CD, I would have to make a selection and that the entire concert would not fit onto one CD.

I included 5 new compositions and 4 trio arrangements of compositions that I recorded with the quartet in the past. The music is presented in the order it was played, the first song was the first played that night and the last song was the last played that night, I thought that presenting the music in the order it was played helped preserve the vibe of the evening.

Track 1, “Jump Start” is a 9/8 groove based composition, and Track 2, “Solaris” is dedicated to Miles Davis. Track 3, “Goodbye Summertime” is dedicated to Gershwin and Track 4, “Best Hope” is a medium bossa in 4/4. Track 5, “A Day In Memphis” is a blues I wrote after a quick trip to Memphis. I was invited to play with a local band performing in a club on Beale St. that night. We had fun and this blues was inspired by that night.

The other tracks are trio versions of music I previously recorded with the Quartet: Track 6, “Wolf Dance” was recorded for the first time in 1995 for my first CD Directions with Marcello on drums. This new version is a modern take on the original, this time with the guitar synth. Tracks 7, 8 and 9: “New Home, “Think Again” and “Two Blues” are from my 2008 CD titled 3 with Fernando on bass. They were originally intended to be trio compositions and I later added the line for the horn, as Greg Hopkins had joined the band. For this concert they are presented in the original trio arrangement. “New Home” is a fast composition in 4, “Think Again” is a 5/4 jazz-funk and “Two Blues” is a 24 bar jam blues in 5.

mwe3: Tell us about the guitars, amps, strings and other gear you recorded Just Another Night with and what else is new and interesting in the guitar and gear world for you in 2016? I know you recorded Tomorrow’s Past with your Gibson 339 guitar. What else can you tell us about that guitar and also how would you compare the 339 with the Gibson 135, which you recorded with earlier and are you still playing the Guild and Ovation acoustic guitars?

Giovanni Moltoni: For this concert I used my regular live setup: a BOSS GP-10 for effects and synths, that when in use, are almost always mixed with the guitar sound, a Gibson CS339 with 0.10 D’addario strings and “The Bud” Henriksen amplifier. This is a light set up that I can carry in one trip and is loud enough for a club or my trio/quartet. I find the eq on the amp useful to adjust to the room I’m playing in, as different halls can sound considerably different from each other. My 339 is the guitar I use the most, it sounds good and I have grown very much accustom to it. In relationship with the 135, the 339 is lighter and smaller which helps me, plus I like the sound better, not to take anything away from the 135…

The 339 high register is more singing and the sustain is longer, and I love that. I also like how cutting the guitar can be in the mix, and the sound of the instrument seems to have a very nice presence and resonance even though the body is small. Shortly after recording “Tomorrow’s Past,” I changed my strings from D’addario’s 0.11 to 0.10 on all my electric guitars (I always used 0.10 on the acoustics). I decided to go back to my early preference for lighter strings, I used 0.10 early on in my musical life, then I switched to 0.11 for many years, and now I am back and happier. I like how playable the 0.10s are. The 339 is the guitar I use in most videos on my youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/giomoltoni I still play my acoustic guitars when I have some time.

mwe3: What was involved in recording your band live that night and who worked with you on the recording, mixing and mastering of Just Another Night?

Giovanni Moltoni: This concert was recorded on 2 tracks by James Kamal Jones. I can’t thank him enough for doing it, he did a great job in capturing the concert that night. Thanks again James!

The Club sound board added a bit of noise floor to the recording, I used iZotope RX5 to remove some of it, it helped a lot, especially during the quietest musical moments of the evening.

I finished the mixing and mastering in my studio. In the process, my main interest was to reproduce the sound and the energy of that night, and I hope I achieved that.

As I heard many it times, only a good quality recording can be mixed and mastered to become a great recording. I can take some credit for the mixing and mastering, but James should get most of the credit for doing a really nice job with the recording that night.

mwe3: A few years back you said you were interested in exploring the growing guitar technology on a future solo album that you also said would combine multiple acoustic / electric guitars and synths and that would expand on your orchestrations. Is that project still on the table and how would that projected album combine your jazz and orchestral inclinations? Also have you added any new computer programs to your recording gear? Are computers becoming more and more of a requirement to recording and composing?

Giovanni Moltoni: I am still interested in creating a solo guitar CD, and I started some parts of it but it will take a long time I think… I’m hoping in the next year or so to be able to finish. The idea was to create an album that would be a combination of solo guitar pieces as well as pieces that would combine acoustic, electric and guitar synths sounds, exploring the combinations of traditional guitar sounds with untraditional guitar sounds or guitar synths that would be normally played by a keyboard for example. Thank you for remembering all of that! The original idea was to orchestrate with the guitar, layering synths and sounds to accompany the guitar arrangements. I wanted to orchestrate with the guitar synth, the solo guitar recording in a similar way as what Bill Evans did in his Conversations With Myself recording. I wanted to record the guitar piece and then layer the arrangement with different synth/guitar sounds to create a fuller orchestration. Bill only used the acoustic piano, and my intention would be to use the synth as well as guitars.

To mix, I use Sonar on a Windows 10 PC. I have used Sonar for a long time and I know how to work with it, which helps me focus on the music when I’m mixing. I find Sonar to be a practical solution for musicians like me and I would recommend it. I used Waves plugins L3 MultiMaximizer, IR1 reverb to name a couple and iZotope Ozone 7 for mastering. When I was done, I used LANDR online mastering for the very final step.

mwe3: Any recent news from the Berklee School in Boston regarding their guitar department? I guess it’s summer school time there! I’m surprised with all the alumni from Berklee that the school isn’t releasing more CDs of music. Are students still going for jazz guitar studies or have they added so many new departments to the guitar school programs, like computer technology in guitar recording? How is the school adapting to the huge growth in computers and recording technology over the past 10 years?

Giovanni Moltoni: Berklee has always had fine guitar players among his students and some of them are really great players! Jazz might not be as popular as it used to be, but we still have very passionate students that love this music. Berklee still has the advantage of having a remarkable performing faculty with truly high level musicians. I hear this a lot from my students, and they regularly mention how impressed they are with our faculty and how inspiring that is.

Computer tech is of course more and more a part of our everyday musical life, and Berklee was always interested in keeping up with the times. I myself am using technology all the time and I recommend all my students to be proficient with current programs and tech, because it is the only way to remain marketable these days.

mwe3: So with the live CD Just Another Night coming out very soon, have you thought about your earlier mentioned, orchestral solo album or is it too much fun recording live jazz with all your gifted musicians? What are you looking forward to this coming year? Looks like another transition year!

Giovanni Moltoni: It is great fun to play with these musicians, and I hope to continue recording with them. As I mentioned before I still want to release a solo guitar album, but I need to dedicate pockets of time to the solo guitar recordings, and take brakes to do other projects as well. At the moment I have a few solo guitar takes that are ready, and I’m working on some more, but in the next year or two I’d love to release a quartet studio recording as well. And, I look forward to composing some new music for 2017!



 

 
   
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