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Silvano Monasterios
Silvano Monasterios

Born and raised in the lively streets of Caracas, Venezuela, Silvano Monasterios stands as a true virtuoso, having ascended to become one of the most sought-after jazz pianists of his generation. Over the course of an illustrious career spanning more than two decades, Monasterios has enraptured audiences worldwide with a captivating blend of awe-inspiring technique, soulful improvisations, and a remarkable compositional gift that sets him apart. As Jazzweek eloquently described, “Silvano brings deeply intricate and thought-provoking mastery to his compositions. Perfectly balanced with compositional and improvisational concepts.” Such praise speaks to the profound impact of his musical artistry and serves as a testament to his exceptional talent.

From the very start, he exhibited a prodigious talent for music, honing his skills in classical piano before diving headfirst into the enchanting realm of jazz. Drawing inspiration from legendary pianists like Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock, Silvano has carved a distinct voice, blending harmonic sophistication with fiery Latin rhythms, creating an amalgamation of sounds that captivate listeners on a profound level. Throughout his remarkable journey, he has shared the stage with an impressive mix of artists, including Larry Coryell, Dave Valentin, Nestor Torres, Paquito D’Rivera, Mark Egan, Paul Wertico, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Ira Sullivan, Don Byron, Troy Roberts, Todd Marcus, Juan Pablo Torres, Luisito Quintero, Sammy Figueroa, Candido Camero, Terumasa Hino & the World Jazz All-Stars, Marc Johnson, Dave Liebman, Othello Molineaux, Melton Mustafa, Nathen Page, Claudio Roditi, David Lee Roth, Shakira, Louie Vega, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby Watson, Akira Jimbo, Bobby Sanabria, and many others.

Over the years, Silvano Monasterios has garnered widespread acclaim for his solo projects, each album showcasing his boundless creativity and innate musicality. As he embarks on his latest musical journey, he invites us to join him at Zinc on Tuesday, October 10, for an evening of jazz magic that will undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on our hearts and souls.

Just a few days ago, we had the privilege of sitting down with Silvano. During our candid conversation, we delved deep into his career, explored his latest musical endeavors, and were treated to a sneak peek of what awaits at his upcoming gig at Zinc.

Charles Carlini: Silvano, your journey from Caracas to becoming an internationally renowned jazz pianist is truly inspiring. How has your Venezuelan heritage influenced your approach to jazz, and how do you incorporate Latin rhythms into your music?

Silvano Monasterios: It was an intriguing journey. As a teenager in Caracas, my ultimate dream was to come to America and immerse myself in the language of jazz, following in the footsteps of my musical heroes. However, while honing my craft, I made a surprising discovery. I realized that the musical ideas flowing from the piano were heavily influenced by the music I grew up listening to back home—music my father played, tunes I heard on the streets, during family gatherings, or on my mother’s radio. Interestingly, these were also the same pieces I never attempted to play back then. As if by magic, these melodies, rhythms, and vibrant colors started manifesting in my music unconsciously.

CC: Your discography boasts an impressive array of albums, each displaying a unique artistic vision. Could you tell us about your recent projects, and what inspired you to explore different musical territories on each of these albums?

SM: I am thrilled about the upcoming release of my very first solo piano recording, titled Solo In Paris. This project has been the most challenging and humbling one to date, given the rich history of this format. The album is set to be released in early 2024, and I believe it accurately represents where I stand today as a performer, improviser, and writer.

Furthermore, I am proud to share that I have been awarded a grant from the prestigious institution, Chamber Music America, this year. This grant will enable me to work on an ambitious project in the coming months. I will be composing for a larger ensemble (nonet) and creating brand-new compositions. I am looking forward to showcasing this project next year.

CC: As a musician who has collaborated with many jazz greats, could you share an unforgettable experience or valuable lesson you learned while sharing the stage with these legends?

SM: Choosing just one artist from the numerous great ones I’ve shared the stage with is nearly impossible. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from so many talented individuals. Yet, if I must highlight something, the greatest lessons I’ve learned all share a common denominator: the importance of integrity in the music and the generosity displayed on stage. These qualities continue to resonate deeply.

CC: Zinc is eagerly anticipating your upcoming show on October 10. Can you give us a sneak peek into what the audience can expect during this performance, and do you have any surprises in store for them?

SM: During the performance, we’ll delve into compositions from my entire discography as a soloist, along with some thrilling new works that have me brimming with excitement.

CC: The world is gradually opening up after challenging times. How have recent events influenced your music, and what message do you hope your music conveys to your listeners during these transformative times?

SM: As we are all well aware, the past couple of years have brought forth various challenges and impacts on us. Throughout my years of performing my music, one of the most gratifying comments I’ve consistently received from audiences is how my music takes them to an entirely different place, inspiring and revitalizing them. In the face of these experiences and acknowledging the immense healing power of music, it was crucial not to give up and to persist against all odds in making music. This indomitable spirit, woven into the music, has been a driving force for many of us.

I like to believe that this spirit will always touch at least one listener, and that remains my everlasting hope.

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Thank you, Silvano Monasterios, for sharing your incredible journey and musical insights with us. Your dedication to your craft and the way you infuse your Venezuelan heritage into jazz are truly remarkable. We can’t wait to witness the magic you’ll create on stage at Zinc on Tuesday, October 10. For those eager to experience Silvano’s virtuosity, make sure to visit his website, www.silvanomonasterios.com, and keep an eye on his upcoming gigs at Zinc—it’s a musical experience not to be missed!

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