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1 Settembre 2007

As guitarist Riccardo Misto has explored several genres and styles, mastering both acoustic instrument (classical, 6 & 12 strings) and electric, from country to rock and fingerpicking, blues and jazz. His training is basically self-taught, with some brief studies with American legendary guitarist Larry Coryell, who had words of high appreciation and encouragement to him.

Riccardo Misto plays guitar along with great drummers
Video Studio Performances

After the "Sarod series", dedicated to indian Sarod and seven John McLaughlin's compositions, a new chapter of so called "Video Studio Performances", where protagonist is the electric guitar, played over different tracks, in which the rhythmic section is leaded by great drums masters. Even if the project is based on drummers, it's not a case that in all the titles there is again the genius of John McLaughlin, as composer or player.
The guitar played by Italian multi-instrumentalist Riccardo Misto is the electroacustic Epiphone Sheraton by Gibson, modified with a Bigsby vibrato, and with scalopped fretboard. It's been recorded directly, processed by a Roland GP 100.

N.1. Dark Prince (Tony Williams, Trio of Doom, 1979)
The first drummer of the collection is Tony Williams, one of the most prestigious masters of contemporary drumming. The track has been realized extracting the intro of Dark Prince, the piece recorded live by supergroup "Trio of Doom" (with John McLaughlin and Jaco Pastorius).
On May 3, 1979 the U.S. State Department sponsored a visit to Cuba for a three-night festival in Havana, known as the Havana Jam.
The different sections of the drum intro have been assembled together in a loop. No other instrument has been added but the guitar, interplaying freely with the drums without any reference to the original composition.

Read article on Allaboutjazz

n.2 - Hunting/The witch (Trilok Gurtu) John McLaughlin -- Molom, 1995.[3:03]
Various clips of the original track (from "Molom" film soundtrack) were extracted and reassembled, trying to avoid the original guitar. On the new base so structured, improvisation unfolds with clusters of nerve and fluent phrasing.

Molom - J.McLaughlin (see details)

n.3 -Tones for Elvin Jones (Dennis Chambers e Zakir Hussain, Live at Crossroads Guitar Festival, 2004)
The backing track has been realized taking the duet section between drummer Dennis Chambers and tablist Zakir Hussain, from live performance with John McLaughlin at Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2004, an homage to the great drummer's death. The original studio version was in 1995 CD "After the Rain", where we find just Elvin Jones on drums, together with McLaughlin and Joey DiFrancesco on Hammond organ.
A further track with synth and tanpura has here been overdubbed, conferring a Indian mood, considering the modal aspect of this jazz-raga rendering. Guitar impro is based on Vachaspati scale, n. 64 from South Indian Melakarta, corresponding to the C lydian b7 mode of jazz minor.

Original video here


- With the new video series "Jamming with" and "Jazz guitar standards”, it seems you have abandoned the thread with the Indian sarod, to return back to your first love, the guitar.
- Not really: surely this time I took up the guitar, especially the electric one, with these two new projects of videos on You Tube. But this is not a choice that goes to exclude the "Indian" side, which remains as my prime and parallel way of expression and research. In July, I will play the sarod with the great tabla player from Calcutta Angshubha Banerjee, two Italian concerts (Padua and Vicenza), also attending the event to raise funds for Tibet to be held at the Hotel La Perla in Corvara, promoted by Costa Family Foundation: in this performance there will be at my side percussionist and multi instrumentalist Max Castlunger, for many years collaborating together in testing etnojazz. In autumn, then I’ll return to play sarod, afghani rebab and chinese yangqin with Nihar Mehta, Indian tabla player based in Nice, in Musique sans Frontières, a concert promoted by cultural center La providence . In all these occasions there will always be my wife Silvia Refatto on tanpura.

- Tell us then the idea behind "Jammin" and "Jazz guitar standards”. So far you have released three videos.
- The performance of virtual project with great drummers (which requires at least 5 versions) was born quite by chance, listening to extracts from a concert by Trio of Doom, the supergroup of John McLaughlin with the two superstars Jaco Pastorius and Tony Williams: it was just the intro of "Dark Prince" to give me the idea to develop a drum loop to play the electric guitar. I then digitally stitched together the piece, fragmenting to make it more varied and on this groove I improvised freely with my Epiphone, inspired only by the basic rhythm of drums. The result is very dry, essential, but just for this very interesting and stimulating. Sometimes the simplest solutions are those that offer more creative space, allowing more easily to escape from usual and already exploited schemes.
The second video is based on one of the most interesting pieces of soundtrack that McLaughlin had written as commentary for the film "Molom" (set in Tibet), involving the Indian tabla player and drummer Trilok Gurtu. In this case the base uses, as well as drums, the original synth carpet, cut and reassembled here, however, to remove the original guitar. My improvisation, formally, is not too much different from the line made by McLaughlin.

- It seems that in this project you are strongly influenced by the great Scottish guitarist.
- It's true, though initially it was not planned, because the foundation on which I wanted to work was related to the drummers. But then the choice is gone -- I do not know how unconsciously -- to those compositions in which McLaughlin was involved in some way. On the other hand, there is to say that all the greatest drummers have worked with him, and it was so easy to find him, or as author or as performer. I must also acknowledge that my youth idol was John, a musician who influenced me a lot and that is still valuable source of inspiration. I still believe that its value is now universally accepted.

- In the third video we see a very strong connection to Indian music ...
- It 's true, my solo is entirely based on a scale that can be considered Indian, because it corresponds to so-called Vachaspati, n.64 of South India Melakharta , but from another perspective it is instead one of the most used jazz scales, the Lydian b7 (a mode of so-called jazz minor, or melodic minor). This also means that there is a deep similarity between jazz and Indian raga, both based on improvisation. In this track the Indian mood is deeply given by the tabla (played by Zakir Hussain), and the tanpura, which I have added just regarding the modal-indian aspect I wanted to sharpen. The song is both a tribute to Elvin Jones (as in the author's intentions) and to the drummer who is playing there, Dennis Chambers. The section that I extrapolated from the live concert at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, refers to the duet between drums and tabla, where McLaughlin's guitar is present only in the short ostinato counterpoint phrase, that I could not delete.

- Was the choice of a scalopped guitar borrowed from McLaughlin?
- No, this is not to emulate extreme bendings (like on Shakti guitar): in this case it’s been a necessity due to the fact that, to play the Indian sarod, I have two left hand fingernails long, which gives me clear great problems in playing a guitar with a normal fretted neck: so I had to ask my friend luthier to modified my fretboard so to reduce the fingering difficulty, though not entirely.
By McLaughlin, instead, for sure I took the use of vibrato lever, which I mounted on my Epiphone (a Bigsby model). The use of vibrato allows remarkable expression subtleties, allowing those leveling microtones that only a wind instrument can produce, and that approaches the guitar with the potential of the human voice. I would say that, nowadays, I could not forego the benefits that vibrato bar and scalopped fretboard offer.

-The sound of your guitar is very interesting. Can You tell us how did you get it?
- I used an Epiphone Sheraton by Gibson, ES 335 type guitar, but with a shorter scale lenght. It’s an instrument I’m very affectionate to, and I prefer to a more prestigious that I have, a Gibson ES 347. The sound was produced by a processor, a Roland GP 100, an older model that I have for years. This is not a preset patch, but I've worked a lot to modify various parameters for that particular tone that interested me. It 's a sound with not too much distortion (which I use with three different levels) but sufficiently dense and warm, with a slight stereo chorus. In the mixing it has been further equalized. For the solo parts I find it very "fair." For the rhythm and pure sound, instead, I’ve developed a different setup, cleaner and less aggressive: it is used mainly in the series devoted to the Jazz standards.

- Tell us about Guitar Jazz Standards project.
- It’s parallel to the first born, which was more directed to exploring the solo improvisation possibilities. I felt somehow legitimize the need for freedom of expression that solos allow me the, sometimes with great freedom and spirit of adventure, first showing myself to have the right and necessary bases that standards can give. The study and practice of the great themes of the past jazz repertoire, offer a great opportunity to mature and provide an important stimulus for growth of inspiration, opening the doors to personal stylistic and compositional evolution. So I fished out some of my favorite songs from the classics, adapted and structured for solo guitar. I find it extremely interesting and rewarding this technique, which simultaneously performs the solo part of the theme and its harmonization.
Personally I think that standards should be a process of continuous study and analysis, but should not be part of the main repertoire of a jazz musician, who instead must explore and find new ways, unknown and sometimes dangerous, taking the risk that genuine improvisation necessarily involves, but in my view this is the true nature and beauty of jazz. Unfortunately, however, many jazz purists, bound to tradition, merely repeat mechanically fixed and discount schemes, locked in a repetitive self-referential nonsense, in open contrast with the freedom and adventure that jazz can and should give.

- Can you anticipate future publications on You Tube?
- For "Jammin" is certainly in program "Encuentros," McLaughlin’s composition with Elvin Jones on drums and Joey Di Francesco on Hammond organ, and "Freedom Jazz Dance", in the Miles Davis’ quartet version with Tony Williams on drums yet. Then maybe there will be two other versions, but I have not yet clearly identified.
The series "Jazz Guitar Standards', however, includes surely these songs: Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (Charles Mingus), Blue in Green (Miles Davis / Bill Evans), Django (John Lewis) Naima (John Coltrane) and The shadow of your smile (Johnny Mandel).

"Arena Romana Estate 2007" by Promovies,
in collaborazione con l'Assessorato alle Politiche Culturali e Spettacolo del Comune di Padova,


“GUITAR MOVIE“ Original soundtrack for an imaginary movie
Guitars Live concert with Riccardo Misto
Regia di Silvia Refatto

friday 24 augost 2007 h. 21.15

Palazzo Zuckermann, Corso Garibaldi 33 a Padova

Vaseline machine gun (Leo Kottke)-Palazzo Zuckermann, 24/08/07

Cripple Creek (Trad.)

Hoockfoot Blues (Hoockfoot)

"Meeting of the Spirits" (John McLaughlin) ottobre 2007

Riccardo Misto plays a "cosmic" version of "Django" (John Lewis, modern jazz Quartet)at Caffè Pedrocchi in Padua, Italy,during non stop show "for Mondial day of Poetry", 25/03/06.

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Tabla can be curative too
By Ajitha Menon
From ANI

Barrackpore (Kolkata), June 26: a Tabla player near Kolkata has set up a Tabla Academy to popularise the indigenous percussion instrument and enable it to gain popularity beyond the musical world.

The significance of this Tabla academy lies in the fact that apart from imparting training in playing Tabla to enthusiasts, it is carrying out research work by including rhythms of Tabla in medicinal applications.

The founder of the academy Shantanu Bhattacharya is himself a Tabla player and has set up the academy at Barrackpore located on the outskirts of Kolkata in North 24 Parganas District of West Bengal.

Shantanu Bhattacharya is conducting research on the Tabla sound. He says there are several lost 'Bols' or, rhythms, which are no longer used while playing Table by today's practitioners.

Another interesting feature of Shatanu's research is sound therapy. It uses rhythms on the Tabla to reduce blood pressure and stress. He claims that different rhythms produced on the tabla can help in the treatment of several diseases.

He intends to take his research to the clinical stage soon.

His students are also being taught the different rhythms which can be used as the medium in sound therapy.

"The most significant section is the one on lost 'bols' and the other is sound therapy. Several diseases like blood pressure; stress etc can be reduced through sound therapy. I have developed few sound therapies and it has been helpful in treating some of the ailments to some extent. I want to expand this research work- work with doctors, the medical fraternity to make it effective" said Shantanu Bhattacharya, founder, Tabla Academy

Shantanu says keeping the Tabla confined to Ustaads (teachers), their sons or disciples is not enough. The Tabla players should not use the instrument only to fulfill their socio-economic needs but also try to spread the art of playing it to keep the relevance of the instrument alive.

Shantanu's academy has fascinated many youngsters to learn the intricacies of this traditional instrument, as students say they are aware that the tabla is actually the mother of rhythm.

"Tabla is the first base in music. When music started, it was with tabla and harmonium. And this is totally indigenous. That's why I want to learn the Tabla," said Swagat Ghosh, a student at the Tabla Academy.

Tabla was long viewed as a mere accompaniment during musical performances. But Tabla maestro like Allah Rakha, Yogesh Samsi, Shaikh Dawood, Datappa Garud, Gourang Kodical, Zakir Hussain and dedicated practitioners like Bikram Ghosh converted it successfully into a solo instrument.

Students at the Academy say they are motivated by Ghosh's success with the Tabla.

"Popularity is increasing. It is less now but improving gradually. It has a future. One needs hard work and patience. One should listen to teachers and follow their advice with total focus to achieve something," said Arijit Sarkar, another student of Tabla Academy, Barrackpore.

Though Tabla classes are conducted on regular basis here, the academy is still in a nascent stage.

(Copyright Asian News International)

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The New Times of India

View my page on Drums and Tabla Connection

A music project for east-west integration
by Riccardo Misto, italian musician and musictherapist

Main aspect of this project is the improvement of intercultural exchange between eastern and western musical approach, with a particular attention to Indian subcontinent area. It’s a long time that Hindustani and Carnatic music play an important role in the fusion process with west: from the first echoes present in some 60’pop music hits (Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones ecc.) to the deep and more articulated contamination, in a jazz key, realized by pioneer of fusion, John McLaughlin, with his group Shakti and, recently, with the recordings made in Chennai, where we can hear the young lions of Indian music, you can see how stimulating and interesting may be the dialogue between the two cultures. All this innovative ferment you find in the tracks of the new McLaughlin work “Floating Point”, where you can listen to very interesting east-west contaminations.
The very new aspect of the modern musical dialogue between west and India is the great mastering of harmonic structures that some Indian musician are showing, yet keeping live and present their legacy with the classical roots of Raga. We can say that now the dialogue between the two worlds is more equal and complete: if in the past the Indian musician were the teachers, now we can see how they are more interested to western culture and instruments: starting from the typical drum set, going through synth keyboards and the modernisation of others (guitar and sitar, in the new transformation in zitar, elettrified and played in a very close-to-guitar way by Niladri Kumar).


Starting from this mixing and reciprocal influence, the project “The Times of India” promotes the meeting and the cultural exchange moving just from that instrument, the western drumset, which among all, is the most distant from Indian musical tradition (strongly rooted in tabla, mridangam, pakhawaj and gatham, the typical percussions), but in which are more and more interested the Indian musicians sensitive to contamination between the two cultures.
The program will be articulated in two main directions, one with a didactic/divulger character, and another more specifically musical.
The musical proposal is based on "Tabla & Drums Connection" program, where the classical indian “Raga” is enriched and developed with the use of drum set, in constant dialogue and interaction with the tabla. By this way, yet in the respect of classical tradition, the expressive possibilities are enlarged, making a fusion of two different percussive sets , and so creating a further east-west bridge.
Drum set is the propulsive motor of western music (pop, rock or jazz), and its articulated set allows the use of all player’s physical structure, getting coordinated movements of upper and lower limbs.

Didactic/divulger program, based on drum set, forecasts a theoretic phase about the different rhythmic structures, a specific knowledge and analysis of all the physical elements (drums, heads, cymbals, hardware, accessories, ecc.) and the most advanced executive techniques. Besides the standard rhythms of western music (light or folk) a special section will concern the possible connections with rhythmic models of Indian music (tala), so to make possible and harmonious the insert of a drum set in the accompaniment of a typical raga.
The program, developed in a theoretic/practical manual, will be directed to professional musicians and also to people which for the first time go approaching this instrument.
A particular attention will be made to children and the possible applications in a therapeutic setting, considering the various pathologies concerning attention/ concentration/ memory and speech and behaviour disturbs (hyperactivity, aggressive and communication difficulties). All in association with Indian konnacol system.

The final phase of this project will be a series of live performances, in which will be presented the different way of playing the drums in various contexts (western music, classical raga, fusion music and musictherapy setting). The program, in the spirit of a 360 degrees communication, will find application as in Europe as in India, with Kolkata as a starting point, with the precious help of Partho Sarothy, intelligent and mindopened to sperimentation musician and oriented to the meeting of different cultures.
This project will be realized with concerts, lectures, seminars and other cultural programs. It could be a very useful way to increase the interest of young western generations to the beauty of Indian classical music.

All the project will be documentated in a musical CD realised in Kolkata with Indian musicians, where will be recorded two compositions: one based upon the introduction of drumset in a typical classical Raga, and another upon the use of Indian instruments in a western musical atmosphere.
There will be also a DVD with a booklet in which will be resumed all the working phases, from the starting idea to the final products.

August 2008
The original project has changed a little: the first experimentation will occur in Berlin, with German sitarist Christian Noçon, on December 2008/January 2009.

On august 9, 2008 I asked to Christian Noçon, sitarist from Berlin known on Overtones Music Network, if he was interested to do some experimentations with my drumset in his music, according to my project “drums and tabla connection”. On august 25 he wrote me asking which kind of collaboration I was intended to start, if a live one or by email (sending me tracks). I suggested him to start overdubbing my drums on some recordings of his sitar, to study practising with my drumset, with the idea to play then together in a live context, with tabla and tanpura players.
So, on august 26, he sent me by skype five mp3 files of his sitar recording of Raga Bhatyiar and Raga Bhairav (included in my playlist here) on which now I will work with my drumset to make a good arrangement and so realize the first step of drums and tabla connection project.
On december 2008, when he is back home from Kolkata, we’ll meet us in Berlin to play together, do some rehearsals and, I hope, some live performances.

October 2008
The first concert of "Drums & Tabla Connection" project is scheduled for 3 january 2009 in Berlin, at "Zimmer 16 - camera dell'arte". Florastr. 16
On tabla there will be polyinstrumentalst Aki Montoya.

Look how times are changing...

Niladri Kumar Electric Zitar

Drums and Tabla on indian raga

Global Beat Fusion: The History of the Future of Music

Bill Laswell Axiom Sound System Musical Freezone
Zakir Hussain and Karsh

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La Sala da Musica
(Jalsaghar, India, 1958)

Regia: Satyajit Ray
con Chlabi Biswas, Kali Sarkar

Bengala, anni Venti. Dopo essere andato in rovina per il piacere della musica e l'orgoglio di dare raffinati concerti, l'improvvisa morte del figlio e della moglie fanno cadere il protagonista, Biswambhar Roy, un signore feudale ormai decaduto, nella più cupa delle solitudini: solo la voglia di dare una lezione a un vicino volgare gli farà aprire nuovamente la sala da musica per un ultimo straordinario concerto con la ballerina Krishna Bai.

Ray, attraverso il personaggio del signore feudale, ci offre un ritratto doloroso e inquietante dell'orgoglio di casta. Un grande romanzo storico tratto da un racconto di Tarasankar Banerjee. Splendidi i numeri musicali.

In Jalsaghar, il regista Satyajit Ray esamina lo storico conflitto tra la nobiltà terriera e la nuova classe borghese, tra quelli che abitano nel passato e quelli che abbracciano il futuro. Utilizzando lo stesso meticoloso, non forzato stile impiegato nella sua celebrata Trilogia di Apu, Ray esplora come il bisogno di un uomo di uno stile di vita sontuoso porti inesorabilmente alla sua completa rovina. E' un'affascinante istantanea della cultura indiana degli anni '30, nonchè un racconto accurato dei pericoli che provengono dall'eccesso di auto-compiacimento.
Ray ha girato Jalsaghar tra il secondo (Aparajito) e il terzo (Apur Sansar) capitolo della trilogia di Apu. Dopo due film (Pather Panchali, Aparajito) che trattavano in una prospettiva intima le vicende di una famiglia povera, Ray si sposta all'altro capo dello spettro sociale, a quelli che vivono nei palazzi, che comandano legioni di servi, e che danno feste sontuose. La tragedia, ovviamente, non fa differenze di classi, e le perdite hanno ugual peso sia per Apu che per il protagonista di Jalsaghar, Huzar Biswambhar Roy (Chhabi Biswas). le loro reazioni alla tragiche circostanze sono prevedibilmente differenti -- Apu continua a lottare; Huzar si arrende. [...] Nella trilogia di Apu, Ray ci porta nel mondo del protagonista, incoraggiandoci a simpatizzare con Apu attraverso i suoi trionfi e le sue tragedie. In Jalsaghar, l'approccio dell'autore è differente. Distacca il pubblico dai personaggi, permettendoci di osservare la cultura e gli eventi da una prospettiva distaccata. Come risultato, mentre questo film difetta della sublime bellezza e della forza della semplicità che ritroviamo nelle pellicole dedicate ad Apu, non perde però del suo fascino di evoluzione intellettuale. Ciò non significa che Jalsaghar non produce impatto emotivo, ma l'intento è differente. Tuttavia lo spettatore non condivide la disperazione di Huzar, ha pietà di lui, imputa al protagonista di essere egli stesso la causa della sua rovina.
Analizzato insieme alla trilogia di Apu, Jalsaghar stimola studi affascinanti di similitudini e contrasti, e ci aiuta a vedere un altro livello della maestria cinematografica di Ray. E' un film di una gran forza visiva [...]. Se è vero che questo film non raggiunge le vette raggiunte da Aparajito e Apur Sansar, è pur vero che l'opera merita comunque il suo posto di rilievo all'interno della lista dei capolavori dell'autore.
James Berardinelli

"The Music Room" è il suo (di Ray) film più evocativo, ed egli lo riempie di particolari visivi interessanti. [...] Malgrado il lusso sbiadito che circonda Huzur, il film appare completamente disadorno. Forse come reazione alle centinaia di sovraccarichi melodrammi musicali prodotti ogni anno in India, Ray crea uno studio austero del personaggio -- anche attraverso la musica. Il suo eroe merita il paragone con Re Lear, perchè, come Lear, desta la nostra compassione persino mentre cede alla sua vanità e commette, in maniera testarda, tantissimi errori. Come Lear, pensa a sè più come una vittima che come un carnefice. Come Lear, si sbaglia.
Roger Ebert

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Conferenze La Meditazione del Suono


Venerdì, ore 20.30
7 marzo 2008
Aspetti Fisici e Metafisici del Suono e della Musica
Musicoterapia Occidentale e Orientale,
Presentazione del Seminario di Yoga del Suono

a cura di
Riccardo Misto, musicista e musicoterapeuta

Domenica, dalle 9.00 alle 19.00
16 marzo 2008
di Yoga del Suono e Canto armonico

PADOVA - via R. Marin 14

Cosa porta l’intimo piacere e la passione di un musicista a curare con la Musica? Cosa lo spinge a viaggiare in Oriente alla ricerca delle origini del Suono, incontrando in India maestri come Vemu Mukunda, a studiare testi filosofici, ad affrontare nuovi “strumenti” e lavorare con musicisti di vari Paesi, ad esplorare modalità insolite di usare la voce? Perché proviamo piacere, disagio, emozioni attraverso la Musica? Che relazione esiste fra la voce di una persona e i suoi stati emotivi? Cosa nascondono gli Hertz, vibrazioni emesse nell’etere e contenute negli oggetti e negli esseri animati? Che vibrazioni nasconde l’Universo a chi lo “ascolta”? E se esiste una sinfonia cosmica, qual è il nostro suono e ritmo interiore?

Nel corso della serata verranno illustrate e spiegate le strette relazioni esistenti tra la vibrazione sonora e il mondo manifesto, partendo dagli assunti di tutte le cosmogonie per arrivare alle più recenti teorie musicoterapeutiche. Un viaggio sonoro, attraverso antichi strumenti musicali orientali e particolari tecniche vocali, per conoscere gli effetti del suono e della musica su corpo e psiche, e capire come sia possibile usare tali mezzi per una profonda conoscenza di sé e per un’autentica evoluzione spirituale. Verrà inoltre presentato il seminario intensivo di Nada Yoga e Canto Armonico del 16 marzo 2008



Riccardo Misto mentre suona la Vichitra Veena, accompagnato alla Tanpura da Silvia Refatto, durante la conferenza concerto.

Esempio di undertones tibetani

Canto armonico in stile mongolo (glottide)

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