An interview with Paolo Parisi
1. When did and how did you first get interested in jazz? Would you call yourself a jazz enthusiast?
My background is mainly in punk and black music. I was always attracted to jazz as a cultural being and its history, entertainment, and the social struggle associated with it too. So, I started listening to Coltrane first. Then it became an interest that expanded into an increasingly outlined project.
Coltrane is my first graphic novel—the biography of the jazz master. The idea behind it was to tell that part of US society and cultural history—the daily life of people and the private life and market of jazz musicians.
Frank Kofsky (a great music journalist) said: "Black music, white business."
There's a thin link between Lady Day, Coltrane, and my last novel, Basquiat.
2. What are some of your other favorite jazz artists and how do they influence your work?
My favorite jazz musicians are the ones that broke borders of music and society rules--going forward, never being kind, never being satisfied. These are the three attitudes of a small group of musicians that I like: Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, and Charles Mingus. For a more contemporary musician, I like Skalpel. And I like a lot of punk bands too, of course.
3. Are you a musician yourself as well?
For a while I tried to find a link and/or a crossroad between visual arts/storytelling and music/sounds.
It was a short project with some free jazz-musician friends of mine.
We did live stage performances for a while, then the project stopped because of different reasons.
Nothing serious of course, anyway, it was a fun for the moment—
4. Other than jazz artists, are there any other particular biographies you are interested in working on?
Well, I think I will do music biographies for a while. Maybe in the long-term, work on a sci-fi graphic novel too, maybe with a short dive in some exhibition projects. Maybe.
Too much to do, not enough time—