The diminutive Simone played with a surprisingly rich tone, equally unexpected soul and, while he had no shortage of chops on displayand the intensity and fire of youth to back them uphe also knew when to back off and let silence work to his advantage. All the more remarkable, then, that he's only been playing saxophone for four years. "I live in Tuscany, about 100 km from Siena," he says. "I started in a band and so I chose the saxophone for jazz music, but I also study classical music at the conservatory. So, while I study jazz more for fun I'm starting to study harmony and so I decided to come here. I like Italian saxophonist Stefano di Battista
, but also Phil Woods
, Sonny Rollins
and John Coltrane
. Playing jazz is interesting and fun; it's a very natural thing for me. It's difficult to do something you don't like; it's not so good if you feel obligated to do something. This is my first year in Siena and I would love to come back."
Coming back is a sentiment that seemed to be shared by students and faculty alike. And why wouldn't they? With a well-outfitted, extraordinarily well-organized music program based, as Martinelli referred, "on the needs of the jazz musician," the workshop was a rare opportunity for aspiring jazz musicians to eat, drink, sleep, breath and in any and all other ways live
in a jazz bubble for two weeks.
Playing with world-class jazz musicians and peers, and being exposed to instruction that allowed them to move to the next level in their growth as jazz musiciansregardless of the level on which they currently residedit became clear that few (if any) contemporaries exist to match the Fondazione Siena Jazz. As the Summer Workshop celebrated the 43rd program in the Fondazione's 36 years, despite the changing landscape of the music industryand naysayers notwithstandingthe future of jazz, indeed, looks absolutely bright and secure.Photo Credit
Page 8 (bottom): Francesco Martinelli
All Other Photos: John Kelman