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Artist Profiles

Stefano Bollani

By Published: February 27, 2008
Bollani has recorded over a dozen albums with Rava. He has also worked with Lee Konitz, Pat Metheny and Gato Barbieri, to name a few. And he has several of his own groups. With L'Orchestra del Titanic, a quintet he put together in 1995, he released two albums on the Via Veneto label. A year later he put out Les Fleurs Bleues, a trio album with bassist Scott Colley and drummer Clarence Penn, on the French label, Label Bleu. That same label released the self-titled album by his other quintet, I Visionari, in 2006. The last album the group made was meant to be a movie soundtrack, but that fell through, so now Bollani is looking for another way to release it.

With his "Danish Trio" (bassist Jesper Bodilsen, and drummer Morten Lund), Bollani explores Scandinavian territories. Their 2005 album Gleda (Stunt) is based on Nordic tunes. "He has a unique and wonderful ability to surprise you night after night after night," said Lund. "There's never even just a slight dull second in his playing. I truly believe he is a magician of sounds and emotions, and he is able to communicate with, and capture, an audience in a way that is totally unique in the jazz world."

At age five, belting out Italian pop songs was Bollani's biggest joy. Somewhere along the way playing ragtime piano surpassed the fun of vocal tra-la-la, and by age eleven, having enrolled in the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory of Florence, Bollani was on a course toward classical virtuosity (with jazz the ultimate goal). He's known for the impromptu medleys he puts together at the end of a performance. Mixing Gershwin with Billy Joel, tunes thrown out from the audience, he concocts an entertaining stew. They flow easily, one into the other, a sundry assortment linked by Bollani's original touch.

At thirty-five, he still likes to sing. (See "Che cosa sono le nuvole" on I Visionari). But he'd gladly hand the microphone over to Caetano Veloso, the singer he "loves most in the world." He once met Veloso at a sound check in Brazil and a few days later heard about an interview with the singer that appeared in a major Italian newspaper. "He was asked, 'Why don't you think about an entire recording of Italian songs?' He said, "I would love to do that but I don't know so many Italian songs, but it would be great if I could do a duo with Stefano Bollani because he is a musician that I like.' So now I'm chasing down Caetano Veloso. To go into the studio with Caetano Veloso would be a dream come true."


Selected Discography

Enrico Rava/Stefano Bollani, The Third Man (ECM, 2008)

Stefano Bollani, Piano Solo (ECM, 2006)

Stefano Bollani/Jesper Bodilsen/Morten Lund, Mi Ritorni in Mente (Stunt, 2003)

Stefano Bollani, Les Fleurs Bleues (Label Bleu, 2001)

Enrico Rava/Stefano Bollani, Montreal Diary/A&B (Label Bleu, 2001)

Enrico Rava/Stefano Bollani, Rava Plays Rava (Philology, 1999)

Photo Credit
Claudio Casanova



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