Take Five With Luca Santaniello

AAJ Staff By

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Meet Luca Santaniello: Originally from Italy and a graduate of the Conservatory Of Music 'Lorenzo Perosi' in Campobasso, drummer Luca Santaniello has been living in New York City since 2001, performing as a freelance jazz musician and collaborating with musicians from the international jazz scene. He has performed in the finest New York City jazz clubs and venues as well as toured most of Europe with several different bands that vary in a wide range of jazz styles. Since relocating to New York, he has been collaborating with musicians such as Roy Hargrove, Lee Konitz, Joe Locke, Ted Rosenthal, JD Allen, Harry Allen, Joe Cohn, Grant Stewart and many more. His musical inspirations can be found in the masters of jazz drums like Elvin Jones, Philly Joe Jones, Roy Haynes, Louis Hayes, and Jimmy Cobb.

Instrument(s): Drums.

Teachers and/or influences? My first drums teacher was Donato Cimaglia.I met him in my home town in Italy, Campobasso, when I was 10. He introduced me to jazz and soon I discovered Elvin Jones which completely blew me off. Jimmy Cobb, Louis Hayes, Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones came right after in my new journey into jazz and I consider all of them important influences on me.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I was 6 when my parents took me to a wedding party of some family friends. There was a wedding band playing to entertain the guests and the only one thing I did for the whole evening was to stand right next to the drummer trying to feel and understand what he was doing behind the drums. That was the beginning of the journey.

Your sound and approach to music: I constantly work to make my sound a result of a relaxed mental and physical interaction with the instrument. This is the only way the sound can wrap up the other musicians and the listener in a warm and comfortable perceptive dimension. I always try to make the music dance. It does not matter to me if it is classical, pop, rock or jazz, standards or original compositions, after all it has to dance and possibly sing too.

Favorite venue: Every time I tour in Europe it is always a pleasure to get welcomed by club owners and by the audience with such warmth so having the feeling of representing a unique experience for them. In New York City I think Smalls is the club where I always felt part of a jazz community, really close to thee sensation of being part of a family.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Art Blakey & the Jazz Messenger- Caravan

Did you know... When I was 5 I wanted to be a dentist before I went crazy with the whole music life?

How would you describe the state of jazz today? I can only express an opinion based on my feelings about the music that I hear today played by up and coming jazz composers and performers. Most of it has no dance in it whereas the jazz of my favorite records from the 40's up to the early 70's has always an element of dance, where for dance I mean that spirit that combining the three elements of jazz, rhythm, melody and harmony, makes you move in symbiosis with the groove.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Lawyer.

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