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Bass Musician Magazine: Feb/Mar 2009 Issue Featuring Adam Nitti

Having said that, I think that it’s important as well to go back and invest time in learning some of the phrasing of the greats, and it’s important for this reason. Let’s say you want to go out and play a straight ahead jazz gig. Well, you can’t really go out and play that gig just by learning applied harmony and theory, and memorizing modes and memorizing scales that you know will fit with the chart. You’re not going to be able to play jazz that way, and the reason is that’s there’s more to it than just the academic side of it. That just does not give you any idiomatic knowledge to play a genre authentically. So it’s completely worthwhile and necessary, in my opinion, if you want to be a great jazz player to at least go back and take a look at the history of the genre and understand where things have come from. Let’s face it; a jazz guitarist taking a solo over A minor is going to sound very different then a heavy metal guitarist taking a solo over that same chord. The difference will come from their experience within their genre. I think a well balanced diet of elements from the transcription, ear training, music history, repertoire, applied theory, styles, and technique groups is probably a good idea for staying musically healthy. Once again, I kind of stand in the middle with that.

Jake: I’m not looking for a one liner here, and in essence we’ve talked about many aspects of our musicianship that could be a potential answer to this question, but I’ll ask it anyway. What do you consider to be the most important aspect of your musical growth at this point in time?

Adam: There are so many things. Actually, there is a core philosophy that kind of drives me, and that is, at the end of the day, I want to make sure that whatever I’m doing musically is communicating effectively. To me, the music creation process, the performance process, and the recording process are all about sharing a part of myself with the world as honestly as I can. If what I’m creating doesn’t have enough of a soul to literally communicate something to the listener, then I feel like I’m missing the mark. This came from a really significant change I underwent many years ago, and that created a complete change in focus and purpose for what I do as a player. It used to be that when I was coming up as a player I would always look at it as, what will music do for me? Back then was a less mature time for me as a player, and I was looking to see what I could “get” from music—what can it bring me. But over the years and after going through some serious changes with myself personally and musically I found a lot more fulfillment finally in changing my focus to be one of sharing as opposed to taking. It’s when I turned that corner that I felt like I could really begin my true growth as a player and as a person, and that’s what really drives what I do now. I really want to give it away more than anything else and share it on a level that’s very deep and communicative.

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