Roberto Ottaviano is an Italian saxophonist.
He started extremely young as a self-taught percussion and flute player, but at the age of five he began to take clarinet classes at the Conservatory of Bari, Italy. Influenced by Lester Young and John Coltrane, he later chose the saxophone. After studying classical saxophone in Perugia with Federico Mondelci, between the end of the 1970s and the early 1980s he attended several workshops taught by Evan Parker and Jimmy Giuffre, undertook harmony and classical composition studies with Walter Boncompagni and attended courses held by Giacomo Manzoni and Luigi Nono. Thanks to a fortuitous encounter with Steve Lacy, he focused on the soprano saxophone. During a stay in the United States, he studied jazz composition and arrangements under Ran Blake, Bill Russo and George Russell.
Roberto Ottaviano has played in a local big band featuring guest musicians such as Buck Clayton, Ernie Wilkins, Benny Bailey and Sal Nistico. Later he was a member of Andrea Centazzo's orchestra, which featured guests such as Gianluigi Trovesi, Theo Jorgensmann, Franz Koglmann, Carlo Actis Dato, Radu Malfatti and Carlos Zingaro.