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On the Record with Paul Giallorenzo of GitGO

"It's pretty much thinking of improvisation as an ideal state or a goal."

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Pianist Paul Giallorenzo plays in several projects in Chicago, which range from jazz to electronic. His quintet GitGO (short for "Get In to Get Out") includes saxophonist Mars Williams, who likewise has a résumé that includes The Waitresses and Peter Brötzmann. Their recent album Force Majuere includes intriguing arrangements, wild blowing and even a reggae groove.

Is GitGO a philosophy as well as a band name?

Yes. It's pretty much thinking of improvisation as an ideal state or a goal. The composition is the tool to guide us into the musical journey that's interesting and challenging. With the creation of that space, you have the freedom to explore it and express more personal notions of sound, like extended technique.

Paul Giallorenzo
  • Photo courtesy of Isa Giallorenzo

You play in a range of groups. Do they show your different music sides?

My attention span is pretty short. I get stuck and I have to clear my palate, so to speak. A lot of my favorite music is not in one particular genre. I guess one of my goals is ... to take elements of different things that I like — electronic music, and elements of jazz and modern classical, and more contemporary stuff like hip hop and rock, too.

How did you come up with the reggae feel of "Roscoe Far I"?

I was playing chords and it turned into [a] repetitive groove. Then the melody just appeared. The title came about when we were rehearsing. Mars was wailing on it, and it sounded like Roscoe [Mitchell, saxophonist of the Art Ensemble of Chicago].

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