Interview with Emanuele Filippi: one of the finalist band in 2019

Emanuele Filippi, pianist and composer from Friuli, forms his trio in New York together with the Sicilian double bass player Giuseppe Cucchiara and the Neapolitan drummer Marcello Cardillo. Born in 1992, Emanuele began playing the piano at the age of 8 and obtained diplomas in classical and jazz piano at the Udine Conservatory.

He later moved to New York where he became a student of Fred Hersch, Kevin Hays and David Virelles. Over the years he has performed on prestigious stages including Blue Note in Milan, Umbria Jazz, Rai 1, Mittlefest, Rockwood Music Hall in New York, Kansas Smitthy's in London. He currently lives in Paris.

Cucchiara after graduating from Berklee in Boston moved to New York where he studied with Ron Carter and played in the main clubs. At 19 he released his first album as a trio. Cardillo, on the other hand, studied at the Amsterdam Conservatory where he was selected as the only winner for a six-month scholarship to the New School of NY. He won first prize at the Bucharest Jazz Competition in 2017, and had the opportunity to perform with John Clayton and Wycliffe Gordon.

The leader of the band, Emanuele Filippi, was defined by Enrico Rava as “one of the best pianists of his generation”. We interviewed him.

Can you tell us your story? When did you start playing together?

“The collaboration between Marcello, Giuseppe and me began in 2018 in New York, the city where all three of us lived. We share the fact that we are three Italian musicians who, after studying and playing for years in Italy, we have sought new experiences abroad, both in Europe and in America. At the moment we live in different parts of the world and haven't seen each other for a long time, but I hope to be able to play with them again soon”.

What is the recognition that has so far gratified you as a musician?

“Every time someone appreciates my music for me it is a great recognition, especially when it comes to the great professionals of our scene”.

How was your passion for jazz music born? Is jazz your only genre or do you listen to something else too?

"In my case, my passion for jazz was born from listening to John Coltrane's music, in particular from the record 'My favorite things'. I certainly listen to a lot of jazz, but also a lot of other music including classical, punk and techno”.

Who do you feel most inspired by and which album did you like the most in 2021?

“My stylistic references in the jazz field are certainly Kenny Wheeler, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Enrico Rava. As an album, however, I liked Pat Metheny's new trio album”.

How does an independent musician or band survive today?

“In general I don't know, I think there are many ways. As far as I'm concerned, I try to be as versatile as possible".

Is there space and interest in Italy for your musical genre? And how is the situation abroad instead?

"I do not know. As far as I am concerned, making music makes me feel good regardless, then if it reaches an audience it is appreciated it makes me happy”.

What led you to sign up for the Conad Jazz Contest and what was it like competing with other guys who share your same passion? "We were looking for an opportunity to play our music on stage. I think it is important. And also the opportunity to meet many other musicians. It was very nice to participate in the final, as the other bands are made up of musicians we know well and with whom we often collaborate”.

How do you rate your experience at Umbria Jazz and what happened next?

"The experience at Umbria Jazz was beautiful and fun, especially as an opportunity to meet other young musicians. In the years following the Conad Jazz Contest, I continued my creative path and recorded two albums, 'Musica Fragile', released in 2020 and 'Heart Chant', released in June 2022. In addition, I collaborated with great musicians including Seamus Blake, Fabrizio Bosso, Enrico Rava, Chris Morrissey, Glauco Venier and many others”.

Would you recommend other bands to participate?

"Absolutely yes, because it is a fun experience that gives you the opportunity to play on an important stage".

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