Jazz Guitar Today would like to make you aware of what many Italians already know…Eleonora Strino is a tremendous talent!
JGT: Can you tell us a little about the jazz scene in Italy?
Italy has a beautiful jazz scene… There are a lot of great musicians here and I have the pleasure to play with some big names. I have some concerts coming up next month with some of these ‘big names’– so looking forward to that! There are months where I keep very busy playing concerts, festivals, and clubs. I love Italy – I am really lucky.
JGT: You had mentioned that early in your career that some men had agendas other than music. It might be very helpful for you to talk about how you handled that and advice you have for young women who would like a career in jazz.
Yes, I think for a woman to be “accepted” in this world is obviously more difficult. Especially in the early stages and not yet a ‘professional’ musician, the male musicians will at times approach you just like a nice girl – and they don’t take you seriously.
You have to demonstrate each day, each moment that you can really play. You have to be strong and focus on the music. You have to work hard every day to be a good musician. At that point, your male colleagues will see you as a musician, not just a nice girl to conquer.
When I started to play and I went to the conservatory. I was not the only girl in my department but also the youngest! There were times when I felt out of place. I started to think that maybe there were not so many female musicians because women were not ‘intended’ to become jazz musicians. For two years, I had a long depression and I also stopped playing.
But what I had inside and what I had to offer was much bigger than these stupid things – the ‘music’ itself gave me the solution.
For me, the Music and the Art, in general, are the expressions of God, and of universal energy. You are just a “thought”, you should do your best to be a good “thought”, to be humble and a servant, nothing more.
As soon as you understand this, no any man, no any fear, no stumbling block, could intimidate you. So my advice for young women that would like a career in jazz is just to try to be conscious of this.
JGT: For men, what is acceptable and what is crossing the line?
My advice for men is to try not to consider women like sexual objects. And with the women musicians just starting out, treat them with respect so they do not have to be “warriors” to become a good musician.
JGT: You are performing/playing many times each month. Do you book yourself or do you have an agent?
Yes, I keep very busy. Performing is my number one priority. Of course, there are months where I don’t play as much but there are months where I can play 12 concerts! I don’t have a fixed agent for now, but I would like to have one. Most of my playing opportunities come from other musicians or the artistic director of the jazz festival. Clubs ask me to play too. I also teach guitar to some students in my hometown.
JGT: Do you have plans to come to the USA to perform?
To come to the USA is my dream since I started to play. For now, I don’t have a tour scheduled, but I really hope that a day it’ll happen.
JGT: Please remind us of your current recording projects
JGT: OK, we are an online ‘guitar magazine’, about the guitar stuff… guitars, amps, strings, gauges? What kind of picks/plectrum do you use?
I play a Gibson 335, Fender Telecaster but lately, I have been playing my 1930’s Gibson L7.
JGT: Wow, sounds great!
Currently, I have been using a Mark Bass amp – very light – great for traveling around. I use flat wound strings .012 or .013 sometimes, Thomastik or Daddario. And I use a Dunlop Jazz I pick.
JGT: Are there some musicians you would love to share the stage with or venues you have dreamed of playing?
There are a lot of great American musicians I dreamed to play with: Peter Bernstein for sure, Christian McBride, Billy Stewart, Joe Baron, Joshua Redman, Brad Meldhau and many many others – as you can see, my dreams are very good!
JGT: We wish Eleonora the best and hope she visits the US soon. For more on Eleonora Strino