Article: 15 Italian jazz musicians you need to know about

For decades, Italy has enjoyed an increasingly prominent place in the vast landscape of European Jazz. The names of some of its most famous players, like trumpeters Enrico Rava or Paolo Fresu or pianist Enrico Pieranunzi, just to name few, are well known all around the world. But even younger artists such as Giovanni Guidi or Gianluca Petrella(who recorded their most recent album on ECM with the likes of Louis Sclavis and Gerald Cleaver) are nowadays fully recognized. The same applies to experienced masters like pianist Franco D'Andrea or intriguing improvisers like saxophonist Francesco Bearzatti. 

In the last thirty years, the Italian jazz scene has expressed a rich tapestry of styles and approaches, from mainstream to experimental, from ethnic to electric. Many are the names of young (and not so young) musicians whose careers deserve wider recognition. A number of record labels including Auand, Caligola, CAM Jazz, El Gallo Rojo, Fonterossa, Parco della Musica are doing a superb job in documenting their artistic output. 

Here, I present 15 artists who may not be household names outside of Italy, but are worthy of your attention (more information, including bios, discographies, and videos, can be found by clicking on the musician's name and browsing their profile). They all belong to a more recent generation of artists who are bringing a refreshing new perspective to the genre. As it always happens with lists, the choices could have been broader and someone else would have probably selected different names here and there, but this article has the humble ambition to sketch an alluring path to encourage you to enter the world of new Italian jazz and start an exploration of its riches. You won't regret it! 


Enrico Bettinello

*originally published on All About Jazz