Tomorrow's Past
(C# Music Productions)


One of the top jazz guitarists on the world stage, Boston-based Giovanni Moltoni has a solid reputation for making great albums and his best yet is the 2013 CD release of Tomorrow’s Past. Moltoni has roots in Italy but he grew up in the US and his reputation in and around the Berklee School Of Music is legendary. Now a professor at Berklee, he recorded Tomorrow’s Past mid 2012 in studio A at Berklee. On Tomorrow’s Past, Moltoni has chosen a fine band with the rhythm section of Fernando Huergo (bass) and Bob Tamagni (drums) given a unique sound thanks to the inclusion of trumpeter Greg Hopkins, who’s tone is somewhat similar to flugelhorn master Kenny Wheeler. Moltoni’s nimble, fluid electric guitar sound accompanied by the stately horn sound of Hopkins yields some impressive sonic results. Tomorrow's Past is one of the great guitar-based instrumental jazz albums of 2013. presents an interview with

mwe3: I remember writing about your excellent 2008 solo album 3, in 20th Century Guitar magazine, so I was happy to see and hear your new 2013 solo album Tomorrow’s Past. Can you compare the two studio albums, as well as your Live album from 2010, and the lineups of musicians that appear with you on the new album. What’s the musical chemistry like between you and the other players on the new album and can you compare your approach to composing with that of the other players who contribute their own compositions on the Tomorrow’s Past CD?

GIOVANNI MOLTONI: The two studio albums were similar in the way they were recorded, but they were done in two different studios, which sometimes can effect things. The kind of equipment, microphones and preamps, of course can have an effect on the sound, but also the space and how the musicians are set up can make a big difference. My latest album included more compositions from the other band members, so it felt a bit more like a common effort, even though I produced the record.

The 2010 Live CD was not planned in advance, we happened to record one on our concerts, and after listening to it, we decided to release it. We felt that it had great energy and that it was a good example of how we sound when we play live (and when we don't know we are recording a CD). The line up of the musicians has been the same for all 3 albums, we have been playing together in this formation for many years and this last CD was a kind of celebration of that.

My approach to composing is based on the idea that music should be interesting as well as pleasant to listen to. There is a great variety of different time signatures, modulations and tonal/modal musical landscapes in this recording, and that creates interesting and inviting musical canvases. I worked very hard on achieving that balance in this album, and I hope we succeeded.

mwe3: Can you say something about the guitars you used to record the Tomorrow’s Past album and what amps strings, synths and effects you feature on the new album? How about other recent guitar acquisitions and what interests you about the guitar world of 2013?

GIOVANNI MOLTONI: For this CD, I used my Gibson ES339, the strings are D'addario's EXL115. I use this guitar most of the time, unless I need an acoustic one. I really enjoy my 339, it sounds good and it's a pleasure to play.

My set up involves a Windows 7 laptop with Sonar X2, Avid Mbox (3rd Gen), and a soundclone Jazzamp. The guitar plugs into the mbox and all the effects are processed by the computer, normally through Sonar as the DAW host, if I'm using a Mac it would be Live, or Logic, I have used several different configurations, this just happens to be my latest one. The guitar sounds normally involve an amp simulator, chorus, rev. or whatever is needed for the specific tune we are playing. This CD was mainly an acoustic CD, so the guitar sound doesn't change very much throughout the recording.

I am fascinated by the use of technology in combination with my guitar, and I consider that to be one of the most exiting developments of the past few years. Aside from more recordings with my quartet, I am playing with the idea of working on a solo guitar album, in the near future, where I can explore all of those interactions between acoustic/electric guitar sound and background synths. I already explored some of this in my 2008 CD titled 3. For the solo guitar album it would be more orchestrated and full.

mwe3: You recorded Tomorrow’s Past at the Berklee College Of Music in Boston? The CD sounds great by the way. Can you say something about the way the Tomorrow’s Past album was recorded? Was it done live, were there overdubs? What was it like working with engineer Tarik Mahrour and sound man Bob Patton? Describe the recording process of Tomorrow’s Past and somethings you like and enjoy about the sound of Studio A at Berklee.

GIOVANNI MOLTONI: Thank you very much. We had 2 days available in Studio A at Berklee for the recording, and we decided to use the time to complete the tracking, and mix the record at a later time. All the music was played live, as we normally do, and then we did some edits, depending how happy we were with the track. Our experience at Berklee was good, Studio A is spacious and comfortable, Tarik did a good job with the sound and we managed to finish the tracking for all the music by the end. Once the recording was finished, I brought back home all the takes and started working on the guitar sounds. In a multitrack studio situation, I normally record one “clean or direct” guitar sound, as well as the sound from my amp, which has all the effects on it. To prepare the music for the final mix, I sometimes re-amp, or apply effects to the guitar, once everything was ready I got together with Bob to finish the final mix. Everything worked out well and I am thankful to all the people involved for they contribution to this recording.

mwe3: Are you still teaching music and what are your roles at Berklee School Of Music? You’ve been there for some years now. What’s the guitar curriculum at Berklee like these days and how is the school doing these days? Has it changed much over the past 40 years?

GIOVANNI MOLTONI: I have been a faculty member at Berklee for 15 years. I am a professor in the Ear Training Department. Berklee is an exiting and vibrant place and I have being very happy there. I've met many great musicians that over the years have become some of my dearest friends, and we've made a lot of music together.

The guitar curriculum at Berklee has changed to adjust with the times over the last 40 years and it covers most of the needs that our students might have, from simple song writing oriented labs to advanced improvisation and harmonic concepts.

mwe3: It feels like Tomorrow’s Past has a timeless kind of jazzy sound. How would you describe your sound to that of other guitarists playing today and how influenced were you by those players who were also making musical breakthroughs back in the 1970s, the decade which might have been the greatest era for instrumental jazz guitar fusion music?

GIOVANNI MOLTONI: To describe my sound is a very difficult question for me, I normally look for specific things and try to adjust the equipment to create that vibe or tone. I love the medium/high register of the guitar but only when the sound is warm and round, if it gets too trebly or squeaky it becomes completely uninspiring for me. I also look for a sound that is balanced across the strings, so that the sound is warm but there is not too much middle/low sticking out in the mix, the balance between those two aspects of the guitar sound is very important to me. In regard of saturation, (tube sound) or distortion, I like a longer singing voice for some of my solos, and I try to achieve that by adjusting the saturation of the signal in a way that allows for that without creating problems when I play chords, I like just a little saturation, so that the guitar acquires that singing sound, but I don't like it when that effects how successfully I can play the chords, harmonies are very important to me and my music. Again, it's all in the balance.

One way or another I have being inspired by very many guitar players, not only famous ones but also the many that I worked with through the years, and I thank all of them for it.

mwe3: Where do see the instrumental guitar fusion sound going these days? Do you think there’s more of a desire to return to the roots and which guitarists today most impress you, both from a technical standpoint and a compositional perspective and how about other musicians who aren’t guitarists but who impress you with their own music?

GIOVANNI MOLTONI: I always find that there are different trends going at the same time, but I wouldn't be able to tell you if I see one direction going stronger than any others. I really like the idea of Metheny's Orchestration CD, and I really admire many other guitar players for their technique or compositional skills. The ones that I prefer are the ones that combine technical skills with compositional skills to present new and refreshing music.

mwe3: What are your plans for Tomorrow’s Past and how about other plans for writing, recording and performing your music? Also what are you hoping listeners and other musicians will come away with after hearing the Tomorrow’s Past album?

GIOVANNI MOLTONI: I hope that Tomorrow's Past will reach many people, and that folks will enjoy listening to it. My intention was to create something pleasant and meaningful, where my technique and musicianship would be in service of beautiful music. I try to perform as much as possible, and, once I recover from the release of this CD, I'm hoping that I can find the inspiration necessary to start writing down some new music again. It can be difficult to plan when exactly a new CD will happen, although I already shared with you some of my future plans. I could compare my musical journey and the CDs that have been created so far to a garden. Each album represents a plant or a bunch of flowers in a certain section of the garden plot – each is unique, each contributing to the overall landscape of who I am musically. As most gardeners know, keeping a garden can be difficult – the upkeep can be tiring and messy, but at the same time, it's wonderful to be nurturing something, and to see results of your hard work. Making music is an organic process, and it's something that needs to be nurtured and allowed to grow when it's ready. In this moment, I am happy to say that I'm very excited about Tomorrow's Past – it's milestone for me and is a great illustration of where I am musically, and it's also a real culmination of the years that my band and I have performed together.

Thanks to Giovanni Moltoni @


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