INTERVIEW WITH FABIO CIMINERA / www.jazzconvention.net (December 2008)

Innkvisitio.

Question: Let's start with Paa-da-pap: could you introduce to us the band and the compositions you wrote for this record?

Answer: The band is still going strong, a fact that´s making me very happy. This year we played in Denmark, Sweden and France. We have used three different tenor players, Timo Lassy, Daniel Erdmann and Fredrik Ljungkvist. The rhythm duo of Seppo Kantonen on keyboards and Joonas Riippa on drums has stayed the same throughout the existence of the band, except for two concerts in France Seppo couldn´t make when we had the pleasure of having Cedric Piromalli on keyboards.
However, the foundation of the group for me is the wonderful groove and interplay of Seppo and Joonas. As someone said: "All you need is a good rhythm section".
Composition for me is a continuous editing process until you arrive at a point where you feel there´s nothing you should add or take away. I´ve brought a large number of tunes to the band rehearsals. The ones that made it to the record and the ones we still perform in our concerts are really the most successful ones, musically speaking.
Jazz is a collective art. The composers ideas are only a starting point. A composition doesn´t really exist until you play it together with other musicians and share it with an audience.
Paa-da-pap consists of live recordings from a nine-concert Finnish tour in May 2006. It´s a glimpse of what was happening at the time. Most of the tunes from the CD we still have in our repertoire and needless to say, they never sound the same -
or that´s at least what we are striving for.

Q: Let's talk about the Innkvisitio sound: two saxes, no bass, a groovy and spicy keyboard player. What are the main sound aspects of the band?

A: We try to cover the whole spectrum of sounds "from Jazz to Blues and beyond".
We have played together quite a lot. Hence we have arrived at a point where the sounds and rhythms we use have naturally become something quite hard to explain in technical terms.

Q: In particular, the meeting of the two saxes... you and Timo Lassy play often on the same range (I think about Berber or the introduction of Anselmus and Serpentina or even Paa-da-pap): could you talk about this way to use the saxes?

A: Some melodies need to be played in unison, some work better harmonized, there´s no rule to that. You shouldn´t add anything to the music if there´s no need for it. The sound of Innkvisitio usually consists of two elements, the rhythm section and the saxophone section. Sometimes we play more collective sometimes we might have, say, the baritone sax playing the bass and the keyboards play on top of that. Many options, but most of the times the setting is more "traditional".

Q: Paa-da-pap seems to have a more melodic construction where the free inspirations are conducted into more defined shapes. Is it correct? Is it just the result of this sessions?

A: I actually don´t like the word "free". For me, it´s not very descriptive. Sometimes people refer to some particular style and sometimes it´s just used as a lack of a better word. However, the music of Innkvisitio is a mix of planned and unplanned moments. Usually we have a plan about where to go next, sometimes things just happen on the go.

Q: It's really evident that Innkvistio has a strong and deep interplay. How do this aspect influences you when you compose and when you think about the atmosphere you want to create with the group?

A: That´s correct. It´s something I need to have in my mind when I´m composing for the band.

Q: The names: Innkvistio, Paa-da-pap and also part of the titles of the track... let's talk about the choice of the titles?..

A: Check out the booklet for the titles. Anyway, here are some more comments on them: Paa-da-pap is obviously an onomatopoetic title, just listen to the melody of the song; a grey Adler is a German-made typewriter; Berber is about North Africa; I´m not a member of Attac, but the song Attac is inspired by someone who is a member.
You can find a story about the name Innkvisitio inside the booklet.
I don´t have a rule for choosing titles, sometimes they come to me naturally, sometimes I have to look for them

F60.8

Q: F60.8 is a solo record, but it's not simply a sax-solo record. Let's talk about this musical adventure.

A: I don´t want to sound too dramatic, but actually the record is a document of a mental survival process. For various reasons I was feeling quite low and dark at that time and making the music you hear on F60.8 made me feel much better.
In that sense it´s a very personal record - listening to my inner voices.
98% of the sounds you hear on the record are saxophone-based. I used the cheapest recording equipment I could find: minidisc, digital voice recorder etc. No computers what-so-ever were involved in the recording process. As a matter of fact it was not my intention to release the material in the first place. Of course I liked what I had created, but I thought nobody else would. I played some of the recordings to the producer Pekka Tuppurainen and to amazement, he liked it and wanted to make a release of it on his new label. Pekka did some editing and mixed it very nicely, I think.

Q: In particular, could you tell us something about the sound process you follow in this record?

A: Usually I first recorded a "rhythm track" with the minidisc microphone inside the bell of the saxophone, then played what I had just recorded in my home stereo, improvised on top of that whilst recording the both with a digital voice recorder. That was the main principle. I wanted the music to be very "rhythmical" despite the fact that it´s a solo recording.

Q: I guess that work at F60.8 allows you to experiment a wide range of sound solutions, both in playing music with different instruments and in over-producing the recorded tracks?

A: (see 7 and 8)

Q: On the back cover of the record, the music recorded on F60.8 is summarized as "a beauty and a beast". You agree with this definition? Could you tell us your point of view?

A: I think the both elements, good and bad or good and evil, should always be present in music.
For me that´s really the beauty of jazz, the combination of body and soul or sense and sensibility or God and the devil.

 

 

Other experiences.

Q: Triot gives you the chance to meet a great saxophone player as John Tchicai. Let's talk about this group and the meeting with this prominent figure of the historical jazz avantgarde... by the way you look very young in the booklet picture...

A: We started playing with Stefan Pasborg and Nicolai Munch-Hansen 10 years ago, worked as a trio for a few years and eventually got a chance to play together with the legendary John Tchicai. (I was 24 at the time, that´s why I look young in the picture, I guess.) It was a great experience to work with John, a fact that occurred to me even more a few years later. I´m still drawing from what I learned from him. The same goes for playing with Han Bennink. I feel very privileged to know these two beautiful giants.

Q: In Delirium you play with a similar team, but (at least on Eclexistence) there is less space for free music than in Sudden Happiness. What is the Delirium Quartet music philosophy? And what are the differences between the two groups?

A: Like I said before, I don´t really know what the term "free" means. Of course you try to be as free as possible in the particular context you´re operating in, but that goes for all music, I believe. I try not to think too much in terms of style. The debut-CD of Delirium, recorded in 2000 sounds different from Eclexistence, that´s for sure, and the next one will hopefully sound a bit different again. Delirium is a working band in a constant process. It´s a group effort. I love being part of that group.

Q: Another important project in your musical life was Gourmet. How do this group was founded and which are the directions of the band.

A: Gourmet was founded by myself and Esa Onttonen in 1996. We wanted to form a band that could live up to our particular musical ideas at the time. It really started as an experiment, I would say, and still after 12 years and two CDs it´s still an experiment.

Q: There will be new records from Gourmet?

A: We are planning to make a new record with Gourmet as soon as we have figured out what it should be like.

Q: At the beginning of your career, you have had a great success and resonance in finnish jazz scene: you won international prizes, you have immediately had the chance to play with finnish and foreign biggest names. How do this breakthrough debut has influenced your musical growth?

A: Well, success is a relative thing. I guess I´m pretty lucky, though, because I can mostly play what I want how I want to.
I started early. That´s why I don´t feel things having had happened that fast for me.

Q: Influences. Could you tell us which are the musicians and the records fundamental in your musical education?

A: I started playing the saxophone at the age of 10. Quite soon I got introduced to jazz through my father´s record collection and that was it for me. I became a teenage bebop worshipper. Coltrane was my first big idol, then Charlie Parker. Other early influences were Monk, Ellington, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Billie Holiday, Charles Mingus, Joe Lovano and Ben Webster, to name a few. I was fortunate to have an early teacher, Bengt Ingelin, in Loviisa where we lived at the time, who liked jazz. At 14 I took lessons from Jukka Perko, who is a very inspiring teacher and a great saxophonist. In Sibelius Academy I studied under the tutelage of Sonny Heinilä, Raoul Björkenheim, Anders Jormin and many visiting teachers.
The most important teacher, however, is yourself. Nobody else can really know what it is you´re looking for or what kind of sounds you hear inside your head.
So far I´ve been influenced by so many things, musical and extramusical, that making a list wouldn´t be appropriate. I´ve been influenced by the musicians I´ve played with, the records I´ve listened to, the concerts I´ve heard, by the people I´ve met and by the places I´ve visited - and by the unknown factor. I want to keep on learning and not let my curiosity fall asleep.
This August I studied a bit with Yusef Lateef. That was one mind-blowing experience.

Q: I saw you play live twice as guest of Ibrahim Electric and Pierre Dorge New Jungle Orchestra. In my opinion, versatility and acknowledgment of different languages are important qualities for a modern jazz player: what's your point of view about it?

A: It´s very important for me to try to have as big a musical tool box as possible - and to be able to find the needed tool when needed.

Q: You have lived and studied in Copenhagen and you have a strong relationship with danish musicians. I guess that your danish residence has a great importance in the development of your language.

A: I only lived in Copenhagen for a year, 1998-99, but it was indeed a very important year for me. During that year I spent a lot of quality time together with my instrument and even more importantly, I played a lot together with other musicians from the school and from the Danish scene. And I got to widen my understanding simply from being in a new environment. I highly recommend studying abroad, even briefly, for any young musician. I made many important connections during my stay.
In my opinion Copenhagen continues to be one of the most vibrant and creative European cities for jazz and improvised music.

Q: Could you tell us your point of view on Finnish Jazz Scene

A: There´s a lot of great potential among the musicians and bands involved in the Finnish jazz and improvised music scene. Unfortunately it´s not very often one can live up to one´s potential because of the lack of interest for creative music.
You learn by doing and especially by doing it in front of a live audience.
In my opinion there should be even more cooperation between musicians from different generations and backgrounds.
And there should be more general understanding about jazz and improvised music. We have a great public support system for music in Finland. The lack of media tuned to jazz and creative music seems to be a problem.
Globalization might not be a great thing for the environment, but at least for music and musicians it brings a lot of new great opportunities.

 

 

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