Stefano Bollani


Born in Milan on December 5, 1972, he started playing the piano at the age of six and made his professional debut at 15. He studied jazz with Luca FloresMauro Grossi and Franco D’Andrea. After graduating under Maestro Antonio Caggiula at the Conservatory Luigi Cherubini of Florence in 1993 and a brief experience as session musician in the pop world (with Raf and Jovanotti, among others), he soon became an established jazz musician, playing on the most prestigious stages worldwide (from Umbria Jazz to Montreal International Jazz Festival, from the Town Hall in New York to the Fenice in Venice, from the Barbican in London and Salle Pleyel in Paris to the Scala in Milan). He has also worked with great musicians including Richard GallianoPhil WoodsLee KonitzChick Corea, with whom he recorded live Orvieto (ECM, 2011), as well as Gato BarbieriBill FrisellJohn AbercrombiePat MethenyBobby McFerrinSol GabettaFred HerschMartial SolalChano DominguezChucho ValdésGonzalo RubalcabaUri CaineDiego SchissiIgudesman & JooMiroslav VitousAldo RomanoJimmy CobbRoy HaynesMichel PortalLuis BacalovRiz Ortolani

Among the milestones in his career, the crucial collaboration with his mentor Enrico Rava, uninterrupted since 1996. At Rava’s side, he has performed hundreds of concerts and recorded as many as 13 CDs. The most recent include: Tati (ECM, 2005), in a trio with Paul Motian on drums (CD of the year for French Académie du jazz), The Third Man (ECM, 2007, the best CD of the year for American magazine “Allaboutjazz” and for Italian “Musica Jazz”), and New York Days (ECM, 2008), in a quintet with Mark TurnerLarry Grenadier and Paul Motian (CD of the year for “Musica Jazz”).

He was rated best new talent in 1998 by the referendum of the “Musica Jazz” critics; in that year, as leader of his band L’orchestra del Titanic, he paid tribute to Italian music of the 1930s and 1940s with the record-show Abbassa la tua radio (with many important Italian singers and musicians).

Over the years he has worked with experimental and “cross-border” musicians both on stage and in recordings (Hector ZazouGiovanni SollimaElliot SharpZeena ParkinsSainhko Namcythclack); he has also played his piano for singers such as Elio e le storie teseJohnny DorelliLuciano PavarottiAndrea Bocelli, and in particular the Italian pop star Irene Grandi, with whom he signed the album Irene Grandi e Stefano Bollani (Carosello, 2012).

Some of his works are rather unconventional, such as La gnosi delle fanfole, where he set surreal poems by Fosco Maraini to music together with singer-songwriter Massimo Altomare (1998), and the album of Scandinavian songs Gleda (Stunt Records, 2005), recorded in Denmark with Jesper Bodilsen on double bass and Morten Lund on drums, two musicians with whom he has been playing in a close-knit trio since 2004.

He recorded four CDs in his name for prestigious French Label Bleu: Les fleurs bleues (2002), a tribute to writer Raymond Queneau, recorded in trio with Scott Colley and Clarence Penn; the solo-CD Småt småt (2003), ranked as one of the top ten jazz albums of the year by English magazine “Mojo”; Concertone (2004), a work for jazz trio and symphonic orchestra with Paolo Silvestri, who arranged and directed the Orchestra Regionale Toscana; and the double album I visionari (2006) with his new quintet plus Mark FeldmanPaolo Fresu and Petra Magoni as guests.

He created Vivere Jazz Festival in Fiesole (FI) and was its artistic director from 2005 to 2007.

His more recent productions are Big Band! (Verve, 2013with the NDR Big Band of Hamburg directed and arranged by Geir Lysne, awarded with the 2013 ECHO Preis; Joy In Spite Of Everything(ECM, 2014), CD of the year for the magazine Musica Jazz”; Sheik Yer Zappa (Decca black, 2014), a live recording to honour Frank Zappa’s music; Arrivano gli alieni(Decca black, 2015), his debut as singer-songwriter; Napoli Trip(Decca, 2016) with many musicians including Daniele SepeManu Katché and Jan BangMediterraneo(ACT, 2017), a live show recorded in Berlin with Jesper BodilsenMorten LundVincent Peirani and some members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, with arrangements by Geir Lysne.

In May 2018, he released Que Bom, his first album of his label Alobar. Consisting of original tunes recorded in Rio, it features Caetano Veloso and João Bosco among others.

The second album by Alobar is Piano Variations on Jesus Christ Superstar(2020), a tribute to the rock opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice.

His curiosity has often made him a moderator/interviewer on stage with writers and thinkers such as Rupert SheldrakeCorrado MalangaMauro BiglinoAnne GivaudanIgor Sibaldi.

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