Break In Intra. An interview with Milan’s very own jazzman.
17.05.2021, di Martina Iacoangeli
Some things never change. The surprise we feel at a live performance, the sense of expectation before a trip, the satisfying flavor of good wine and the emotion of meeting and talking to a great artist. Someone who has sparked emotion in many, and who is virtually incapable of sparing himself. As Break in Jazz opens once more at Milan’s Volvo studio, we took a short break of our own with Enrico Intra.
Twenty-five years ago Intra was already a successful pianist, having long started the artistic journey between jazz and classical music that is now his trademark. Twenty-five years ago, Intra also had the idea to create Break in Jazz, a project in collaboration with the Jazz Music Courses from Milan’s famed Claudio Abbado Music School, which would give young jazz students and graduates an opportunity to be heard and known: a great booking and management get-together, focusing on the jazz musicians of the future.
For this interview we had the chance, though quite awe-struck, to sit down for a chat with Enrico himself.
Enrico, one could start writing about a Maestro such as yourself, who never took a break in his life, and never stop. So I’ll try to get straight to the point: let’s talk about “Break in jazz”. Would you say this project is an invitation to take a musical break, or does it represent a break with something?
Break in Jazz intends to break away from the carelessness we often display towards music, playing it in the background without truly enjoying it in depth. This aperitivo, anticipating a more solid meal such as a lunch or dinner, will whet our appetite for listening more deeply to the mysteries of sound. The depth of a form of art capable of instantly conveying emotions.
You know, I’ve always regarded jazz as a good story: you start with a premise but then anything can happen, and at the end you find yourself back “home” to understand the meaning of the tale. I see Break in jazz, which gives many young musicians a chance to perform and get known, as a “homecoming” to something that is important for our future. Don’t you think?
Break in Jazz is a significant landmark in the development of young music students who will go on to play on a real stage. It represents the first step towards experiences that will make their dream come true.
From a talented musician you became an event organizer, from a creator of stimulating synergies you became a teacher of jazz in one of the most prestigious music schools in Italy, and now you’re a talent scout as well. Do you find it stimulating to be always surrounded by young musicians?
Being listened to is already a privilege. When your listeners are young, it becomes a mutually enriching experience. For the teacher who has to answer their questions, as well as for the young listener, who perhaps will use those answers on his journey towards maturity. Towards life.
If Italian Jazz has found its own identity, and if the city of Milan has played a leading role in that process, it is in great part thanks to you. We know you are nothing if not stubborn, but do you think you would have been able to build all of this in a different city?
You’re trying to make me say that Milan makes everything easier. In any case, anything becomes possible if people’s meetings spark action. Action for others, I mean, in any community. Moreover, we all know how important small towns have been and still are for their cultural contributions. Thought knows no limitations.
You once spoke to me about the importance of creating ties, of sharing a common vision. When does unity truly mean strength, when it comes to jazz?
I’m going to switch your question around. The Strength found in thinking and progressing together towards a common goal is what unites us. That is the meaning of strength.
Perhaps it’s the same thing. It is important to make Music together.
BREAK IN JAZZ at Volvo Studio Milano
Every Wednesday until June 16th
More info on Break in Jazz