1.Where are you from, and how did you first get into music?
I was born in Basilicata, in the south of Italy, but I have been living in Rome for more than 10 years. I was very young when I started playing. At home we listened a lot of music, there was always some music playing around. I think it was our escape from the reality.
2. Why the piano? Who are some of the pianists who influenced you?
During my childhood, the piano was the most interesting object around me and I was intrigued by it. My father wanted me to grow in the wake of the classical tradition, but I preferred to improvise.
Herbie Hancock, Martial Solal, James Poyser, to name a few, but I’m not that kind of pianist who finds inspiration only from other pianists. I’ve always been attracted to those musicians who were able to generate a soundscape, a very specific texture, a sound. I like to picture the piano in my mind as a kind of film projector, and the music as a kind of cinema without images. In this sense, the music of Puccini, Piero Piccioni, J Dilla, Miles, Flying Lotus and many others influenced me.
3. Is this your first time in Japan? What do you know about the scene here?
It is thanks to a partnership between the Italian association ‘Musicisti Italiani di Jazz’ and the Italian Institute of Culture that I had this great opportunity to come to Tokyo for the first time. But I guess it will not be the last one. After only a few weeks I am already, madly, in love with Tokyo. The cubic meters which develop themselves towards the sky are the same that extend underground, a labyrinthine city that is also so extraordinarily visceral.
Thanks to my friend Grant Richards I discovered an incredible place, which has actually become my homeplace here in Tokyo: the Electrik Jinja. Here I got to jam and meet musicians like Toku, Kenji Hino ‘Jino’, Dj Tatsuo Sunaga, Hikari Ichihara, David Negrete, Katsuomi Goto and many others.
4. What current projects are you working on?
I will try to play as much as possible with these cool musicians for the rest of my time left in Tokyo. Last week I played with my ‘Japanese’ trio, with Ryo Shibata on Drums and Yoshihito P Koizumi on bass, at the Electrik Jinja. I’m also working on a collaboration with a Japanese artist that I admire very much, but I am still not willing to disclose the name for superstition! On my return to Europe this winter I will focus on the release of my first Ep as a leader .
5. 3 favorite albums?
Three is not enough to exhaust my preferences. I will say the first three that come out of my mind.
Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
Fantastic vol 1 – Slum Village
Hamlet Suite – Carmelo Bene
Nicola Guida is currently the artist in residence at the Italian Cultural Institute in Tokyo, and will be performing around the city with various lineups until September 20th.