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Giannouli/Chagas: The Way Back Home

Earlier this year Elsewhere -- and many other reviewers locally and internationally -- was impressed by the album Forest Stories by Greek pianist/composer Tania Giannouli and woodwind player Paulo Chagas.

These improvised pieces had an evocatively cinematic quality or, as Nuno Lourenco observed in a liner note, "the haunting piano sets the canvas on which the wind instruments add colour, sometimes bright and vivid, other times saturnine and morose".

Lourenco went on to say the music was very visual, like a series of paintings.

Giannouli studied piano and composition at Athenaeum Conservatory but has worked eclectically with text, film, theatre and video artists. Improvisation is at the core of her work (her discography and profile is here) and so it was time for her to answer a few questions . . .

The first piece of music, jazz or otherwise, which really affected you was . . ?

Nocturnes (Chopin)

When did you first realise this jazz thing was for you?

I used to sit on my piano and improvise (sometimes even try to write down the results of my improvisation on a paper, and then of course ask my piano teacher how I could write this or that) at a very small age. Around 6-7.

What one piece of music would you play to a 15-year old into rock music to show them, 'This is jazz, and this is how it works'?

Cantaloupe Island

Time travel allows you go back to experience great jazz. You would go to . . ?

To meet Chet Baker

Which period of Miles Davis' career do you most relate to, and why: the acoustic Fifties; his orchestrated albums with Gil Evans; the fusion of the late Sixties; street funk of the Seventies or the Tutu album and beyond in the Eighties . . .

Difficult to say since all Davis’ music is so special. But I would say more the acoustic Fifties’ compositions that I find more intimate.

Any interesting, valuable or just plain strange musical memorabilia at home?

I remember some old LP’s at home..from Chopin to Beatles.

The best book on the jazz life you have read is . . .

Beneath the Underdog” by Charles Mingus

The_Intouchables_2011_movie_posterIf you could get on stage with anyone it would be . . . (And you would play?)

Enrico Rava

The three films you'd insist anybody watch because they might understand you better are . . .

Intouchables” (Eric Toledano et Olivier Nakache), “Cinema Paradiso” (Giuseppe Tornatore), “Fantasia” by Walt Disney.

The last CD or vinyl album you bought was . . . (And your most recent downloads include . . .)

Inland –Michael Houston (on Rattle records). A masterpiece

One jazz standard you wished you had written . . .

There are so many actually…choosing one is difficult. One I think about right now is “I loves you Porgy”

The poster, album cover or piece of art could you live with on your bedroom forever would be . . .

Cross - Les Iles d'Or

Three non-jazz albums for a desert island would be . . ?

Frederic Mompou- Piano Music, Giya Kanceli- Caris Mere, Mozart- Piano Concerti

forest_stories.soundcloudYour dream band of musicians (living or dead) would be . . ?

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Roland Dyens, Charles Mingus, Paul Motian.

And finally, is there a track on your most recent album you would love people to hear. And, if so, why that one?

I love all the tracks in my “Forest Stories” CD in Rattle. Yet, recently I think my favorite is “The way back home”. It is the last one and comes after the rest which are definitely darker…

This gives a feeling like the title says. Returning to a safe and loving place. It is optimistic. And I need this.

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