Federica, now jazz has a new star «I come from rock»
There is a new star on the international jazz scene. And it comes from the capital. After collaborations with the French Louis Sclavis, Vincent Courtois and Dominique Pifarély and the Americans Dave Douglas, Dan Weiss and Greg Burk, all protagonists of the circuit, the Roman bassist and double bass player Federica Michisanti has just won three prizes at the highly coveted Top Jazz, the awards assigned every year by the reference magazine of the Jazz Music scene: Musician of the Year, Record of the Year for his latest work Afternoons (published by Parco della Musica Records, the record label of Fondazione Musica per Roma) and Formazione dell' year, with Louis Sclavis, Vincent Courtois and Michele Rabbia.
An unprecedented triumph for a female musician: «I won't sit on my laurels: these awards are a stimulus to continue to do better», says she, born in 1976, raised in the Trieste neighborhood and came to jazz «relatively late».
Not born a jazz musician?
«It seems absurd, but no (laughs). I come from pop and rock. I discovered the bass when I was twenty, the double bass when I was almost thirty. Before I played the guitar, beach songs."
«Those of the Beatles, of Lucio Battisti, of Vasco Rossi.
Then, at the University of Music, I met a group of guys who played progressive rock.
I borrowed a bass to try converting my guitar. I imitated John Myung of Dream Theater."
And how did you get to jazz?
«There wasn't a sudden flash: it was a gradual falling in love. It started with the discovery of Keith Jarrett's Koln Concert, which a university friend introduced me to: it was the first jazz record I bought."
«Then Wayne Shorter arrived: that free phrasing bewitched me.
The exact opposite of Charlie Parker, who I needed to study the language of jazz to understand.
I attended the Saint Louis College of Music and did seminars around Italy. Today I make my experience available to young talents, as a teacher."
Do you have a fascination for jazz anarchists?
«If we want to call them that (laughs). It depends on what you mean by jazz.
What is jazz for you?
«A huge container that gives space to many different things, inclusive. I was lucky enough to have Maestro Andrea Pighi as a teacher: he comes from classical music and played in the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia. But he is a particular musician, who loves to experiment: he gave me the right open-mindedness."
As a child, did you ever feel like a freak among your peers who perhaps had other interests?
«Freak no. Maybe a little rebellious."
What do you think of Victoria from Maneskin, who has become the most pop bassist in Italian music?
«Do you believe it if I tell you that I've never listened to Maneskin?
She must have heard something.
"I saw the photos. I think she's a beautiful girl."
That's all? It seems that thanks to his fascinating and spirited way of playing the bass there has been a boom in sales of the instrument among young people.
«I don't know how true that is. Also because she was certainly not the first woman to play the bass: there were Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, D'arcy Wretzky of Smashing Pumpkins"
Is there little space for women in music?
"Yes. But it is not with female quotas that the trend can be reversed: is it a real or forced inclusion? We should give space to women not for the need to fill quotas, but for their talent."
The dream collaboration?
«With my legend Sting. Among other things, I know that he is often in Italy so never say Never."