When its done right, the sound of trumpet in a group fronted by electric jazz guitar is a winning combination and it works wonders on 3 by Giovanni Moltoni. Italian born and currently teaching up at Berklee College of Music, Moltoni is one of today’s leading jazz guitar innovators. The 2008 CD release of 3 pairs Moltoni with a quartet including Greg Hopkins trumpet. On his most appealing album yet, Giovanni’s guitar and synth puts on a stunning display of sonic guitar atmospherics on a CD of Moltoni originals.

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Musical Background

I was born Turin Italy and I started playing the guitar when I was about 14 years old. While playing with local bands, I started taking lessons in improvisation and jazz, and studying to take some conservatory exams in theory and solfege. In 1989, I moved to Boston, where I graduated with a degree in composition at Berklee College of Music and then a masters in jazz performance at the New England Conservatory. I still live in Boston where I am now an associate professor at Berklee, and I perform with my quartet and in various other settings. I have been playing the guitar for almost 30 years. Professionally for about 25.

New CD

This CD is the result of many live concerts where the music was tested and perfected by this quartet. The title, 3 comes from the CD being my third release as a band leader. In Jan. 2008, we played the last concert before the recording. The music was ready, the new guitar setup I had been working on for the past few month was fully established, and I felt confident that it was time to record. The CD was completed in two recording dates: one day in Feb. and one day in March. I believe this CD reflects many different aspects of my personality, instrumentally of course, by how the guitar is used in the development of solos, selections of voicings, use of counterpoint and texture throughout the album. But also compositionally with tonal, modal and polymodal compositions, and technologically with the use of the computer to bring in the synth to expand the sonic experience of the quartet.

Favorite Guitars

The guitar I have used the most in recent years is a Gibson ES135 with a Roland MIDI pickup. This is also the guitar I use for this album. I also have a Fender Telecaster and a Ibanez Artstar AS200AV that I have enjoyed playing. On the acoustic side I have a Guild JF30, an Ovation Collectors series 1992. For my live setup, I switched to a computer based setup about a year ago. I use a mac laptop, the sound interface is a TC Electronics Konnekt 8, and the MIDI is translated by a Roland GI-20. The guitar and the synth sounds are output in parallel to 2 guitar amps and they can be controlled by two separate volume pedals. For the guitar sound I use amplitube 2 and for the synth I use Mainstage (part of Logic). Together with the sounds that came with Logic I also use a variety of virtual instruments like Reason, Dimention pro and others.

Musical Influences

I have been greatly influenced by a number of musicians, guitar players as well as other instrumentalists. Some of my favorite guitar players are: Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Mick Goodrick, Mike Stern. There are many others but those are the ones that come to mind right now. As you can see they are very different guitarists from different generations. My musical upbringing has been influenced by very different styles and the guitar as an instrument has been evolving very quickly and in many different directions in the past 30 to 50 years. At different times in my life I have been into listening to guitar players, piano players, sax and trumpet players among others for different aspects of their playing. In some occasions I would listen for their comping, other times a solo. Together with the quality of the instrumentalists, I was always very interested in how the music would hold together, which aspects of the composition I really seem to enjoy. I have always had interest for both technical skills and compositional mastery. I have hundreds of CDs, many of which has made an impact on me for one reason or another - mostly jazz, but also classical and contemporary music have been what affected me the most.

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