Giovanni Mirabassi, the Proust Questionnaire…
It is the pianist Giovanni Mirabassi who lends himself to this game, this introspection test. He gives us some keys of his personality by answering the famous Proust portrait-questionnaire, slightly revisited by Couleurs Jazz …
We think that beyond their virtuosity, their multiple talents, jazz musicians in particular have something to say.
-For you, what is the height of musical misery?
It’s to listen to musicians with talent pretending not to have any, so that they can fit into the boxes of a system that has always tried to eliminate talent from the chain of artistic production.
-Where would you like to live?
I live very well on my Butte Montmartre (in Paris). I already took, a long time ago, the approach of choosing a place to live that coincides with my need to dream. That being said, during the last presidential elections, when it was necessary to imagine a “Plan B”, I was ready, if necessary, to leave for the south of Japan, somewhere around Fukuoka.
-Your ideal of happiness on earth?
In this brutal world, a little bit of Mozart, nice weather, a future for our children.
-For which wrong notes do you have the most indulgence?
Socks that clash with your shirt. But then again…
©Photo Patrick Martineau pour Couleurs Jazz
-Who are the fictional heroes you prefer?
Ursus in The Man who Laughs by Victor Hugo, Cyrano de Bergerac, Harry Potter.
-Who is your favorite classical musician?
It’s hard to award a first prize… Bach, Mozart, Brahms, Schubert, Chopin, Liszt, Debussy, Rachmaninov, Scriabin…. The more of them I write down, the more I think of. So I’d say: Joker.
-Your favorite heroines or divas in real life?
I’ve always preferred heroine to divas… But seriously, Mercedes Sosa, Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf, Nathalie Dessay, Louise Michel, Simone Weil
-Your heroines in fiction?
Princesse Nausicaa, the Hayao Miyazaki, version.
-Your favorite painter?
Vincent Van Gogh
-Your favorite jazz musician?
-Your favorite quality in a man?
In a woman?
-Your favorite virtue?
-Your favorite occupation?
I love to cook. It’s sharing a sensory experience based on love and excellence. It’s done with your hands, on a piano, just like music, but it’s not a career, which makes it all the more fun. It’s great to be an amateur sometimes.
-Who would you have liked to be?
Me, but improved.
-My main character trait?
Wit, I’m afraid.
-What do I like most about my friends?
I don’t have any friends. I would have said loyalty.
-My main fault?
Undoubtedly my wit.
-My dream of happiness?
The dream of happiness is for me a hazy concept. A dream about dreaming.
My greatest unhappiness?
The inexorable savagery of human nature.
-What I want to be?
I hesitate between a Jedi and a good pianist, leaning slightly towards the first option.
-My favorite color?
Couleurs Jazz? Jazz color? Otherwise the blue of the Okinawa Sea, the augmented fifth, the C minor.
-The flower I love?
Fleur de sel… Sea salt.
-The bird I prefer?
Edith Piaf. The albatross of Baudelaire. But Richepin’s birds of passage are also good. In song, however, it’s Clementi’s lyre bird.
-Mes auteurs favoris en prose ?
Hugo, Montherlant, Giono, Merle …
-My favorite authors in prose?
Aragon, Dimey, Verlaine from here, Leopardi, Foscolo, Pasolini from there. But there too, it’s complicated, there are so many others from everywhere.
-My heroes in real life?
One of many, Victor Hugo. Huge writer, poet, statesman, an example of intellectual and artistic integrity, having known exile and glory, an artist, a real one, not one of those morons, as talented as they can be sometimes, who drag their lack of grandeur through the current media desert. I would have liked to live in a time when an intellectual’s principal job was to have opinions. Nonchalance exasperates me.
My favorite names?
The names of my children. Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose. Liberty.
-What I hate the most?
Condescension and injustice.
-The reform I admire the most?
-The natural gift I would like to have?
Health. That said, there are a lot of unnatural gifts I would like to have, like ubiquity.
-How I would like to die?
Without noticing it.
-My definition of Jazz
– Present state of mind?
At the moment I am completely swamped, an answer that’s good for any time of the year, applicable to the last 25 years. In this increasingly difficult and multi-disciplinary profession that is ours, we must always be two moves ahead, it keeps the mind churning.
Interviewed in Decembre 2017.
« Mr. Mirabassi shakes the branch, where the fruits of the notes are hung, in the unruly foliage harmony »,