The Artists - Stefano Di Battista

Stefano Di Battista – Italian alto saxophonist, b. 1969. Performed with Prize Winner Aldo Romano's JAZZPAR Quintet + 1 at the Event 2004.

At age 16 Stefano stopped outside a newsagent in Rome. An issue of the magazine Musica Jazz had caught his eye. On the cover was a saxophone with a record. Battista bought the record and was speechless when he listened to it. It was Art Pepper and a compilation with Charlie Parker and a host of other alto sax players. Nobody in Battista’s family had any inclination to jazz but it had an immediate impact on Stefano who began wondering.

He met alto saxophonist Massimo Urbani, who became the young man’s mentor. Stefano enrolled at the Alfredo Casella Conservatory and earned a minor reputation and picked up his first fees in pop orchestras. The Conservatory was strictly classical and Stefano missed jazz. The decision to make a living from being a jazz musician solidified when he, 18 years old, in Bali gave a concert and discovered the impact of an audience. In 1992, the pianist Antonio Farrao took Stefano along in his group to the Calvi Festival.

The major encounters happened by chance: Jean Pierre Como and the Sixun group … Next Aldo Romano … Then another drummer, Stéphane Huchard, who was a member of Laurent Cugny’s Orchestre National de Jazz and made Stefano join ... Then the trio of Daniel Humair (JAZZPAR Artist 1999) and Jean-François Jenny-Clark; Jimmy Cobb, Walter Hooker, Nat Adderley, etc. And then along came Michel Petrucciani.

In 1997, Battista released his first album as a leader and received much acclaim. He signed up with the Blue Note label which released his second album in 1998. The next Blue Note-album, with drummer Elvin Jones and pianist Jacky Terrasson, came out in October 2000. After that Stefano became the first European musician contracted as a fixture in a black American orchestra when he joined the Elvin Jones quintet.

Battista’s release, "Round About Roma", fuses jazz and classical music. It involves a jazz quartet and a symphony orchestra with 50 musicians. Five original Battista-compositions were arranged by Vince Mendoza, who came up with another two originals. The result was emotional bursts with slowly revealed melodies, spacious arrangements that make a brilliant fusion of jazz and classical music. And since it is an avowedly and proudly romantic album, Stefano makes a version of the love theme from Nino Rotta’s Romeo and Juliet. Music that is beautiful, simple, engaging, eternal and romantic like a declaration of Love, delivered like a gift from an accomplished melodist and a maestro of arrangement.

Stefano Di Battista’s style is generous, energetic and fluid. He is a phantom with a massive sound, a total commitment to music and an overflowing surplus of love for jazz.

The French jazz community has a reputation of having little interest in anything outside French speaking countries. Nevertheless some Italian jazz musicians have been embraced by Paris’ jazz audiences and Battista as well as Romano are very well-esteemed jazz musicians in France.

| Back to The Artists - Overview |