Trumpeter Paolo Fresu Gives A Peek Into His Upcoming Concert With Rita Musician Marcotulli And Trilok Gurtu

Trumpeter Paolo Fresu Gives A Peek Into His Upcoming Concert With Rita Musician Marcotulli And Trilok Gurtu

Held at NCPA, the concert by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Mumbai will be blending jazz with Mediterranean and Indian traditions

Kasmin FernandesUpdated: Saturday, February 24, 2024, 07:51 PM IST
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Paolo Fresu | Pic: Fabiana Laurenzi

There is a hum of anticipation about the coming together of Italian trumpet and flügelhorn player Paolo Fresu, Italian pianist and composer Rita Marcotulli, and our very own percussion maestro Trilok Gurtu. Their upcoming concert, slated for the Tata Theatre in NCPA, Mumbai, on March 2, promises an exploration of sounds and silences that stretch across the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent.

Fresu, Gurtu, and Marcotulli, each bringing their own original music to the ensemble. Marcotulli has received critical acclaim for her work as a composer and pianist, including the Ciak d’Oro and the David di Donatello Award for Best Score for her work in films. Meanwhile, Fresu has received numerous awards for his contributions to jazz music, including the the Django d’Or (known as the European music Oscar) and the Bobby Jaspar awarded by the Académie du jazz.

This concert by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Mumbai unfolds as a narrative of musical migration and dialogue. Rooted in deep knowledge and mutual respect, this endeavour seeks to create a space where the audience can partake in this intimate conversation. “I’ve been playing with Trilok Gurtu for several years in a trio with Cuban pianist Omar Sosa and also participated in one of his past records. I have also been playing for some time in a duo with Rita Marcotulli. Two years ago, we also did a trio tour with Brazilian cellist Jaques Morelenbaum. So, with each of them, there is a deep knowledge and respect that leads us to think we can play well together. I have invited each one to bring original music that, together with mine, will become the material that we will build on,” he said.

Working with Gurtu, Fresu recounts, is an immersive experience. “Trilok is a fantastic musician who brings to the music a very developed and complex rhythmic idea but always with a great groove, a great ability to listen and a research of sounds and situations. I love Indian culture and its music very much and Trilok represents it well, through an openness that every musician and improviser should have,” he adds.

His approach to developing a unique tone with his instruments was a process of listening and learning. He explained his process, “The sound of an instrument is a personal thing that (a musician) learns through listening to one’s teachers and through listening to oneself. It is a long process that changes over time since we change imperceptibly over the years. I listened a lot to both Miles Davis and Chet Baker, fascinated by their idea of sound which I then tried to make personal and recognisable.”

Reflecting on the evolution of jazz and world music over the past three decades, Fresu notes the significant impact of increased accessibility and education on musical expression.

“Music has undoubtedly changed in the last 30 years, and if this has happened, it is also due to education. Back then, there was really little to learn from other than books and listening to records. The lucky ones who lived in big cities had the opportunity to hear musicians live,” he shared.

The seasoned performer and music teacher believes that democratisation of learning, facilitated by digital platforms, has led to a mestizo of sounds and genres, enriching the jazz tradition with new textures and colours. This blend of influences, much like the experiences of those who live between cultures, creates a rich fabric of musical expression that is constantly evolving, mirroring the complexity of identity in a globalised world. “I think this is a positive thing that enriches jazz and anticipates the metaphor of music as a tool for growth and discovery,” he signed off.

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