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A musical thrill


marino

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Hi guys and girls, I'd like to relate a really thrilling musical experience. You know, every now and then you have one of those encounters that make you think, well, maybe making music is a good thing after all. :) In this case, I had the luck to play with a musical hero of mine, and the result were beyond my rosiest expectations.

 

I first met Dario Deidda about ten years ago, when I entered a small club here in Rome, and saw an unannounced jazz duo burning on Coltrane's “Giant Steps”. It was just fretless bass and drums – but the bassist was alternating breakneck solo phrases on the bass with occasional chords on a small keyboard placed in front of him! After about 10 minutes of this without missing a beat, he played the final theme on bass block chords, bringing the (small) audience to a scream.

The next number was a bass solo rendition of “My Foolish Heart”, chockfull of chord substitutions, triple and quadruple stops (on fretless bass!), bent harmonics, and every conceivable virtuosistic gesture you can think of on a bass fingerboard – only, he played the whole mess not only with amazing precision, but also with incredible musicality and an expressive touch which, once again, mesmerized the audience. Well, *I* was mesmerized for sure.

Since I knew the drummer, after the show I asked him, “Who's this monster?” He said, “Don't know Dario? He has played with Michel Petrucciani recently”. I thought, “Wow, I'd love to do something with this guy sooner or later!”

 

In the following years, I happened to work with one of Dario's brothers (he comes from a musical family), and learned that he also plays piano and trumpet professionally! I was more and more intrigued.

Well, the occasion to collaborate came about two months ago, when the record label gave me the OK for the publication of my next jazz album – the third for my own group, Syntaxis. Some of the best Italian jazzers guest on it, so I thought, it would be nice to have Dario on bass. I called, he came to hear some tunes and said, “I like it – let's do it.” I was on cloud nine, and also I felt the responsibility to match his stellar level of musicality and instrumental performance. I also wrote a paraphrases of “Giant Steps” to include on the CD – it was to be played at very high speed in a trio format.

Well, as too usually happens, things didn't go as planned, and Dario's commitments prevented him to be at the main recording sessions for the album. I did an emergency call to Valerio Serangeli, my usual bassist, and he was so kind and understanding to learn all that intricate stuff in a few days – so the recordings went well anyway. The only tune he refused to play was, understandably, my version of “Giant Steps”. He said what probably 99% of the bassists in the world would have said: “Sorry, but at that speed, I could barely comp on “Giant Steps” – you can forget about soloing!”

 

But I wanted to include that tune on the album at all costs, so a few days ago, I caught Dario between two concert dates in Rome, brought him totally unreharsed in the studio for an hour or so, had the drums miked and my keyboard connected (using an EP sound), and I told him, quite literally: “OK, I need an unaccompanied (just drums) bass solo for the first two choruses, then you comp on the theme using these written obligatos, finish in this way, then three choruses of comping the piano solo, then you solo again, but kind of interacting with the piano, play this ending, back to the theme with the obligatos, and finish with this little coda:”

He just said “OK”, while tuning his amazing '62 Jazz Bass - He didn't even looked so interested... I was getting a bit upset with him, like, “how can he be so confident?!” So I winked at the drummer, and counted in a really fast tempo, like 350 bpm... :evil: and Dario played it all perfectly the first time, beginning to end, with incredible solos, perfect comping, amazing interplay, great balance, and perfect everything else. It could have been the published track, no editing, no problem. Unfortunately, we discovered a small bit of distortion from the preamp, so Dario asked to do it again, and played it even better the second time. We did a third take for safety's sake, and that was it. We had played for less than 15 minutes! Later, I had to replace quite a few sections in my own part, in order to eliminate clams, but Dario's tracks were perfect. My jaw was crawling on the floor somewhere, trying to find its way back home. :D

 

Since we had only used a fraction of the studio time I had booked, we spent the rest of time chatting and exchanging musical ideas. I learned that he's a great guy, humble and shy, but with a very big musical grasp; he played for me some Bach that he has transcribed for bass, again leaving me speechless at his clarity of phrasing and sheer virtuosity.

Obviously, I'm thrilled and honored to have such a great musician on my own CD (I think you'd have difficulties trying to find a comparable bassist/musician, no matter in what part of the world you look) – but more than anything else, working with him has made me more humble and willing to become a better musician. Not to speak of the humiliation of working with a bassist who has no problems to match your speed on his instrument, and plays *your* instrument very well too... :D

 

Just wanted to share. Any similar experiences?

 

Carlo

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Originally posted by marino:

I learned that he's a great guy, humble and shy, but with a very big musical grasp;

That's a great story, Marino. I will underline what you say; the truly great musicians are the least assuming, the most fun, and bragging just isn't in their vocabulary.

 

It must have been a thrill to hear your own work performed with accuracy and soul. On the first take! Congrats!!

"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
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Cool, Marino. I guess I have a somewhat similar experience ....

 

I've had the fortune of playing with some excellent musicians lately, on the CD project I am putting together with my music partner. Sounds like our music is not as technically amitious (we have no 350bpm), but the arrangements can get complex. The people we hired are also classified as "monsters," and they were so humble and helpful in the recording process. I was pretty nervous, as I'd never worked with people of this caliber before. My partner has, but he doesn't read music let alone write it, so all the charts were my responsibility.

 

So I wrote charts for the drummer, bassist, percussionist, strings player, and I know there were errors because I'm not a strong reader. Some elements were recorded at different times, but the bassist and drummer recorded together. They got stuff in the first or second take, were very gracious. Total pros.

 

I know they were mainly doing the gig because of my partner, but it was a thrill to have them playing on songs I helped write, nonetheless. And yes, I was one of the ones writing their checks, but that doesn't guarantee a good attitude or respect; but they treated me that way anyway.

 

We felt blessed and fortunate to have them. People who helped us have worked with serious cats (band website, link below, has their bios).

 

Does it make me want to play better? You bet. There are much better players out there who for whatever reason don't get to play with such caliber musicians. Not sure what fluke of fate let me have the chance, but I'm thankful for it!

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Thanks everybody for your responses!

 

Jeebus, you picked up the weirdest-looking photo from Dario's site... plus, he's changed quite a lot from the time of that picture.

 

Sue, while I'm not sure that all great musicians are humble and unassuming, this one certainly is. And it wasn't just the first take - we had 'never' reharsed the tune before!

 

Floyd, the CD should be out in February or March. Hopefully, if things go well, it should have decent European distribution, but sadly, no American distribution. :( I'll post mp3s on my site ASAP... better than nothing.

 

Geekgurl, I'm feeling the same kind of excitation - this project of mine includes a few top-notch Italian jazzers . I fighted for this, because (if I can toot my own horn for a minute) I feel this is some of the best jazz music I've written. Also, a great American musician was supposed to guest on it as the main soloist, but he suddendly died, and that stopped the project for more than an year. So the fact that now it's being finally realized, gives me double the motivation - and hearing it played from great musicians, gives me double the satisfaction. :)

 

Also, this is maybe the right moment to share something else: My life has had a couple of sudden turns lately - a couple of unexpected events brought me in the position of being broke, but at the same time having to help my parents economically. This being a particularly slow moment for my musical work, the only immediate choice I could pursue in order to earn more, was to teach more. So I'm teaching six days a week (it used to be two), for a music teacher's pay, and this is frustrating me like hell. I'm trying to keep my playing alive by doing both studio and live gigs, but it's not easy sometimes. Plus, my back is hurting as hell once again, and I'm going to have a second operation in three weeks. *And* I'm supposed to spend as much time as possible with my parents, who are both severely ill....

 

OK this is the short version really... just to make you understand that after the long stop due to the death of the original soloist, how enthusiastic I can be about finally doing this album. It's a logistic nightmare sometimes, but I really, really care for it. :)

 

Sorry for the personal vent, folks - I guess I needed it. ;)

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I feel for you Marino. I hope your personal life gets better soon!

 

I want to hear your CD when it gets released. I know, we too, have had some delays with our project ... also related to deaths, but of relatives; it shoulda been out 6 months ago, and we're still not out of the woods. I think it's been a hard year for a lot of people.

 

Just remember the mantra I keep telling myself: "It's coming out when the time is right. Everything happens for a reason." Even though there's no real way to prove that ... just try to believe the delays are serving the intent of your project better somehow, and who knows? Maybe the timing will really be better when it does come out, in some way.

 

Take care, and God bless.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Well, let me apologize for the vent on the above post - I didn't mean to put anybody in a bad mood. I'm just living in a sort of precarious balance lately, and sometimes I just need to let it out. (My very patient friends know that :) )

 

That said, thanks a lot Geekgurl for your sympathy - it's much appreciated. Given the situation you've described, I think you can understand. You're right that delays can be used to our advantage, by refining details and having more time to think about different solutions.

Your recording project sounds intriguing - I'd like to listen to it when it's out too!

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Originally posted by marino:

Well, let me apologize for the vent on the above post - I didn't mean to put anybody in a bad mood. I'm just living in a sort of precarious balance lately, and sometimes I just need to let it out. (My very patient friends know that :) )

I'm not noticing anything at all negative- waves of warmth and enthusiasm are what I'm getting here! Good stuff to get!

 

Your man looks like an unholy cross between Django and Salvador Dali in that picture!

 

Good luck with all that...! :wave:

A WOP BOP A LU BOP, A LOP BAM BOOM!

 

"There is nothing I regret so much as my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?" -Henry David Thoreau

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Marino, thanks for sharing your experiences. Like many professional musicians there are peaks and valleys in our creative and personal lives.

 

I listened to audio clips from Dario's "3 From The Ghetto" and his session work recordings. He reminds me of other great virtuoso players like Brian Bromberg and John Pattituci. Great chops and "feel". However, he is not only a great bassist, but is a very good pianist as well.

Looking forward to your CD. :thu:

 

http://shopping.yahoo.com/p:Dario%20Deidda:1927410465:page=discography

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Thanks for the bump Vlad, I didn't really forget this thread, I'm just so busy that I don't have a lot of time to spend on the net...

 

About your question, forgive me if I don't feel all that comfortable about going public on it - it still makes me sad and angry just thinking about it. Plus, I don't want to give the impression that I'm trying to look good by associating my name with some big, late musician.

I'll write you a PM with the story.

 

Carlo

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