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Wednesday April 11, 2018

From London Jazz News

FEATURE: Mark Guiliana (RCM Festival of Percussion, 6 May and touring)
By: Dan Paton

Mark Guiliana is justly renowned for contributing to a new language in contemporary jazz and at the drum kit, one that draws as much from electronic music as it does from the jazz tradition. However, his headline appearance at the Royal College of Music’s Festival of Percussion (tickets from just £10 available here on the RCM website) will involve him doing something which might be considered a little unexpected – playing with the RCM Big Band. This is the centrepiece of a one day festival that interprets percussion in the broadest sense – with appearances from West End percussionists Damien Manning and James Powell and timpanist John Chimes. There will be lessons available and a trade fair featuring representatives of many drum and cymbal brands.

Guiliana is enthusiastic about the prospect: “It’s a unique experience – I’ll do a workshop during the day and then join their big band during the evening.” Guiliana says he feels ‘honoured’ to be asked to appear as headline act and he clearly feels it as particularly good time for drummers generally, highlighting the continued influence of Steve Gadd and citing Marcus Gilmore, Eric Harland, Justin Brown and Dan Weiss as important near-contemporaries.

[…] Guiliana credits playing with Avishai Cohen (above on video in Leverkusen in 2007) as his first big break in the professional industry. “It was the first in many ways – the first real professional gig, the first experience of being on the road, the first time playing on records that people might hear!” It also proved fortunate for being such a long playing experience (Guiliana spent nearly seven years in Cohen’s band) and Cohen has clearly had an influence on Guiliana well beyond that time frame. “Now I’m doing more bandleading myself, I’m certainly reflecting on those times and Avishai was certainly a good bandleader.”

In what ways has Cohen influenced Guiliana’s band leading specifically? “He had great confidence – he knew what he wanted and what was best for the music but not in a pushy or demanding way. I always felt like I was part of the solution. Especially with so much improvisation in the music, I’m always trying to find the balance between being open to the individual musicians’ creativity but also getting my ideas realised when I’m confident about them.”

Read more of the interview here