Jan Sturiale releases new record, In The Life

    The Italian guitarist talks about his new album, a set combining covers, ingenious original composition, atmosphere and virtuosity

    Jan Sturiale and band

    Guitarist Jan Sturiale was attracted to the instrument at any early age and his exposure to a variety of styles has led him to produce an eclectic range of music. He graduated at the Conservatory of Udine and later the Conservatory of Trieste and received the Gary Burton Scholarship from Berklee College of Music. He has worked with such leading players as Hiram Bullock, Jure Pukl, Dean Brown and Colin Stranahan. His discography includes Electric Water (2014), Two Roads (2016) and Roadmaps (2017) and, just released, In The Life.

    Can you briefly describe the CD?

    The music was written during the period of the pandemic and also in a difficult period for me, my father left in December 2019 and left an unbridgeable void, for me he has always been the person who stimulated me in my work as a musician and a person with whom I can always talk and discuss, a hero to me. So not having his reference anymore was difficult, now that some time has passed I was able to get back under and write especially during 2021. This project in particular is dedicated to him a wonderful person with a special character.

    How does it fit into your musical journey?

    I think this work is an evolution and a continuation of the work I did on composition in a setting like a quartet. I don’t see it as a different work but as a whole with the other works clearly in a sort of photograph of what I am now both musically and from a compositional point of view.

    The album was recorded in Ljubljana but mixed in New York. What did this combination bring to the work?

    We recorded the project in Ljubljana at the Cosmosonic Studio and I chose the capital of Slovenia because I am particularly attached to it. My collaborations with Slovenian musicians in the last 10 years have been very intense. Among them have been Jure Pukl, Marko Churnchetz, Miha Koren and Robert Jukic. We shared many experiences in the recording studio during the Roadmaps tour in 2018 and we performed in festivals and at the legendary Porgy and Bess club in Vienna, among others. So, yes, for me Slovenia is a second home and playing often also in Ljubljana I decided to record there under the advice of Miha [Koren], the bassist. Also in the past, I have often played in Maribor, Velenje.

    What did you do during the lockdown? Did you take the opportunity to write or something?

    For me, the lockdown was very stimulating and creative and despite the bad period for my father’s death, I concentrated a lot on studying, teaching and I rebuilt an “instructional” educational site, a sort of virtual studio where students can study with me on videoguitareducation.tv remotely or by subscription.

    Also, I started a podcast where I discuss my approaches to studying and talk about what I like musically. Among other things, I finished my latest eBook, Build Your Chops, which includes 271 pages of educational material. I worked on this with my students during the pandemic and managed to organise and publish it on videoguitareducation.tv.

    Was it easy to work with other musicians during this period? How did you do it?

    Yes, with the necessary precautions we managed to plan the work well. Certainly, it was a very difficult period especially for musicians and professionals in the sector but I am positive and I hope that we will return to normal as soon as possible.

    Had you already collaborated with Bearzatti and De Luisa? What did they bring to In The Life?

    I had never collaborated with Francesco Bearzatti (called “Bear”) and it was a surprise. He’s a wonderful person and a fantastic musician I think the band in this setting has great potential, especially live. I can’t wait to put it around. We have been friends with De Luisa since the conservatory where we studied jazz together and also taught together. Among other things, De Luisa was on tour with me for Roadmaps. He’s a fantastic pianist, sensitive and in my opinion with a fantastic and fresh taste.

    Will you be promoting it live?

    Of course, the PR campaign for the promotion of In The Life has begun. It will be available first on Bandcamp and then everywhere (with this project, I also tried the Tidal platform which provides streaming in superior quality). We will be engaged in festivals nationally and internationally this spring, summer and autumn in 2022.

    Any other things planned in the near future?

    For the future, many things and certainly the first record in trio with a band that I do not want to reveal yet. But certainly for this I will return to New York which I miss a lot. From 2014 to 2019 I played concerts at the famous Bar Next Door in the Village, among others, often collaborating with Marco Panascia, Sam Minaie, Colin Stranahan and others.

    In The Life was released globally January 2022, featuring

    Jan Sturiale – guitar
    Francesco Bearzatti – saxophone
    Francesco De Luisa – piano
    Alessandro Turchet – bass
    Luca Colussi – drums

    All the music was composed and arranged by Jan Sturiale, except for Black Hole Sun, A Day In The Life, Live To Tell, Fee Fi Fo Fum and Goodbye Pork Pie Hat, which were composed in order by C. Cornell, Lennon/McCartney, Madonna/P. Leonard, W. Shorter, C. Mingus.