Keyboard Player Federico Solazzo talks to My Keyboard Lessons
Sunday, March 24th, 2013
Federico Solazzo is a sophisticated and eclectic pianist of funk-soul origins. His tones are warm and captivating. At the moment, he’s playing along (as keyboardist, musical director and programmer) with Italian pop-star Alexia, whom he supported during her Italian tour and in various gigs in China, Estonia, Switzerland, Albania, Poland and Slovenia and with the band of the amazing Jamal Thomas (Maceo Parker’s drummer). He’s been endorsed by Nord Keyboards manufactured by Clavia since 2008.
On stage, he has played with many artists including Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats), Stuart Hamm (Frank Gambale, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani), Daniele Gottardo, Mattias IA Eklundh (Freak Kitchen), Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie, Jordan Rudess, Virgil Donati), Atma Anur (Jason Becker, Richie Kotzen), Leonardo Di Angilla (Mike Patton, Jovanotti), Flavio Scopaz (Eros Ramazzotti), Paolo Valli (Vasco Rossi, Laura Pausini, Claudio Baglioni) and many others. Other studio collaborations saw Federico playing and working on songs feat. Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) , Kevin Moore (Dream Theater), Göran Edman (Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum) and many others. He can also count numerous television appearances on either Italian and international major networks such as RAI, Mediaset, RTL, MTV, Video Italia, RSI LA1. In the most important national festivals and events he shared the same stage with Laura Pausini, Claudio Baglioni, Giorgia, Elisa, Gianna Nannini, Lucio Dalla, Spagna, Albano, Francesco Renga, Gigi D’Alessio, Anna Tatangelo, Mario Biondi, Irene Grandi, Fiorella Mannoia and many others (Amiche per l’abruzzo, Festivalshow, Battiti live, O’Scia’, Radio Company, Venice Music Awards, Sanremo and more).
My Keyboard Lessons caught up with Federico recently:
“What first interested you in music?”
Music gives me a chance to express myself better then words. So, it’s pretty natural to me!
“What attracted you to the keyboard as an instrument?”
My father (even if amateur) is a really good classical organ player and conductor of a choir in the town I was born. He tried to teach me how to play the piano when I was 4 year old, but in the “classical way” with no results at all! I was crying all the time, but then somebody else introduced me to the piano with another approach, the right one for a little child. And she gave me the right tools to see the music in a different way, wider! So I quickly started transposing on the fly different melodies and basic comping stuff, and it was so helpful then! I received my first keyboard when I was 8 years old: a really basic 61 note keyboard without velocity but with MIDI! And I really squeezed it along with a sequencer, and I started understanding all the possibilities you have!
“How have you developed your skills?”
Playing on top of the records, and trying to get the notes that could fit at first, then chords, then voicing: it was just having fun with the keys!
“Any influences on your music?”
Bobby Sparks for sure! It’s the funkiest cat around in my opinion, and you can really feel how much energy and intensity he’s sharing while he’s on stage! Same for Dr Lonnie Smith, an incredible man! So humble and genuine, and he’s really speaking trough the hammond!! Another one? Herbie Hancock! What I really love about him, it’s that he’s always taking risks, and he’s always pushing his playing to new directions: sometimes could be outstanding, sometimes not, but it’s part of the risk itself 🙂 Another Master I love is Bill Evans: his voicing, his touch, an artist from another planet!
“Do you have any upcoming performances?”
From April 10th to 13th I will be at the Nord Booth in Frankfurt at the MusikMesse to show their outstanding new synth 🙂 Hope to see you there, otherwise take a look here for gigs/tours/TV shows and stuff 😉 http://www.federicosolazzo.com/agenda/
“What are your preferred instruments and why?”
I think it’s the clavinet with a wah pedal! 🙂 It’s a rhythmic instrument, and it describes well me and my playing: it can be smooth but also very aggressive! In the same first position I would like to put also the Moog: my ’75 Model D (and on the road my ’81 Source, full list here http://www.federicosolazzo.com/instruments-equipment/
)! They are real instruments, like any other “acoustic” instrument! You need to practice a lot on them and to know exactly how to play, it’s not only hitting a key. It’s the way you are doing it, and the way you are ready to “listen” how the instrument is reacting!! I really think this is something that is missing in the new instruments nowadays: the feedback. But I trust the future 🙂
On the live side, Nord Keyboards are my choice! They sound amazing, they are light, reliable and the fastest thing ever to program! You can get the sound you want in seconds! And that’s really handy when you want to change something in the middle of a performance!
“What are your future goals?”
Since 2011 I’m working with a small team on some prototypes of new hardware and software solutions for keyboard players and I will be very excited to show you something very soon 🙂 Also, I’m working in studio on a lot of pop productions right now, but I would really love to focus more on music for video (see here http://www.federicosolazzo.com/services/
Posted under Keyboard News