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Pianist Greg Spero Follows The Singles "Being" and "Inside" With The Debut Stream Of His 'SPIRIT FINGERS' LP.

Photo Credit: Shanachie Entertainment

Pianist Greg Spero follows the singles “being” and “inside” with the debut stream of the full-length SPIRIT FINGERS album. The full stream of the evocative, multi-faceted and extremely personal sonic statement lands in celebration of the project’s release today via Shanachie Entertainment. Greg Spero recently sat to explain the band’s debut, his artistic motivation, the importance of SPIRIT FINGERS’ band members Dario Chiazzolino, Hadrien Feraud and Mike Mitchell, as well as the ideas behind the project. This is SPIRIT FINGERS in his own words.

REVIVE: What was your musical upbringing like in Chicago and how has that played into your creative evolution to date?

Greg Spero: Music has been a centerpiece of my identity for as long as I can remember. When I was a baby, my mother would play guitar and sing folk songs to me, and my father’s music was always present in our household. My dad was touring with his rock bands, and he was always playing piano and writing songs when he was home. My mom is a classical pianist and I grew up listening to her teaching lessons. By the time I could speak, I was plunking out melodies on the piano. For the entirety of my childhood, I heard my mom’s piano students playing classical music all day every day. I learned the piano exercises by ear, because they were always in the background. My dad would sit me down on the piano every once in a while and show me how to play some of his material that I admired so much. Eventually, he and I were playing duets at family parties, and I was writing songs like the ones I heard him writing for his bands.

At 14 years old, I started playing in one of my dad’s bands called The Slackdaddies. I would play the Hammond B3 Organ or piano, whichever one my dad wasn’t playing for any particular song. I have fond memories of setting up a keyboard rig on a pool table at a smokey bar and rocking out to classic blues and rock songs as a teenager.

 

GS Cont’d: At 16, I got picked up in a band called Bucket Shop by guitarist Mark Cavanagh, who I later reconnected with to facilitate the formation of SPIRIT FINGERS. Mark took me under his wing and introduced me to jazz fusion material that I hadn’t yet heard. We covered tunes from Weather Report, Return To Forever, Jean Luc Ponty, and other classic fusion pioneers. This is where my love of rock and blues began to transition into my love for jazz. From there, I started looking further back to the roots from which that fusion music grew, finding myself enthralled with the early works of Miles (Davis) and Herbie (Hancock) along with Bird, Bud Powell, McCoy Tyner, (John) Coltrane, and the greats who formed the foundation of the musical mountain on which we currently stand.

Chicago is a rich and diverse musical landscape. After formal music training in college, I returned to Chicago as a working musician, and played a plethora of styles, branching into hip-hop, electronic music, pop, and the various forms of retrospective jazz music. Playing in these styles, accompanied by my formal training in classical and contemporary music composition, helped me form the foundation on which I base my entire creative spectrum today. There is a set of core values that ties all great music together, which is the same set that applies to all forms of human expression including painting, culinary arts, poetry, fashion, even architecture. This is the foundation that I find as my own subject of study when composing music for SPIRIT FINGERS, and listening to and critiquing other current music that is being released.

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