Renan Guzzo Took Us Through His Love for What Music Can Do
Current Artisan has a longstanding love of all types of music. And jazz, in particular, offers a unique look a how many different musical styles and cultural influences can be blended to make something new.
The 21st century has been an exciting time for jazz, with innovative new artists who have been able to update the genre for a new generation.
A Technical Expert
Renan Guzzo is one such artist. At first, he learned keyboards, only to gravitate to the guitar soon after.
Since then, he has honed his technical ability to become a leading player in the industry, performing with many different groups following his studies at the renowned Berklee College of Music.
Below you’ll find our interview with Guzzo, where he led us through the state of the music industry today.
• • •
A Musical Community
Have you enjoyed playing at the famous Wally’s Cafe in the past?
Guzzo: Definitely! It is always a huge honor and a great learning experience to be in that environment.
Being surrounded by great musicians at such a historic place is one of the most challenging but also inspiring and enriching experiences a musician can have.
Those are the moments that make it worth moving abroad and living away from family and friends, and where the personal and musical breakthroughs happen.
So do you try to surround yourself with a community or musicians and creative types?
Guzzo: Yes! That was the main reason why I wanted to attend a big music college in the US and ended up moving to Boston for Berklee.
I see it as a fundamental attitude for any musician who wants to get better at playing and writing, and eventually reach a high level of musicianship.
It is important to pair up with people to play, work on concepts, and put together a repertoire that makes the music tight and serves as the kickstart for someone to get called for gigs, etc.
Playing with more experienced musicians is highly recommended, too, once it pushes you and sheds light on your weaknesses. It shows you what needs to be worked on.
Have these collaborative experiences affected which guitars you tend to play?
Guzzo: I usually play my D’Angelico 335, which fits my needs well and is probably the kind of guitar best suited for my guitar playing.
I have been a fan of semi-hollow-body guitars for years and love the feel, versatility, richness, and well-rounded tones only these instruments can offer.
Tools of the Trade
Do you enjoy using digital editing and production tools?
Guzzo: Definitely. In my opinion, production skills represent a competitive distinguishing factor for the modern musician.
This is why contemporary music schools like Berklee invest so much in top-notch studios and professors for their production majors.
In the era of home studios and social media, musicians are able to deliver professional quality work done completely at home.
That has marked a watershed moment in the music industry, which has set higher artistic standards.
Are there specific effects pedals that you gravitate towards?
Guzzo: I always have my guitar plugged into some reverb and I often blend that with some delay.
My main references when it comes to tone are modern jazz guitarists, and I search for tones that allow me to wander through some pianistic chordal atmospheres and filled-up single notes.
This helps me get maximum sustain without being tainted by the delay’s cycles.
Influences and Inspiration
Was there a specific musician that influenced your musical tastes when you were growing up?
Guzzo: Probably close friends who played were the most influential people at the time to me. Mostly rock, heavy metal, and the shredders during my adolescence.
However, I cannot think of just one that was so decisive on my musical taste. It kept broadening as I grew up.
A turning point in my life was when a teacher introduced me to the music of Toninho Horta, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Pat Metheny, among other jazz and Brazilian music icons.
That put me in contact with improvised music on guitar, and I started to see my focus and interest lean towards that type of music.
Who are some of your favorite jazz guitarists?
Guzzo: I usually say that my personal journey has taken me backward in time when it comes to being introduced to jazz guitar players.
I started off listening to some who are still major influences to me like Kurt Rosenwinkel, Metheny, Sco.
It was only later that I was introduced to the likes of Jim Hall, Pat Martino, George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian, etc.
These are some of my favorite players and have somehow influenced the way I play or approach music in general.
Not to mention Marcio Philomena, a friend and teacher of mine before moving to the U.S. He has played a major role in my musical personality.
Nevertheless, I could say that I’ve lately checked out players such as Jonathan Kreisberg, Pedro Martins, Lage Lund, and Lula Galvão.
• • •
Renan Guzzo is a professional studio and touring guitarist.
You can find links to Guzzo and his work here:
• • •