Raphael GualazziRaphael Gualazzi was born in Urbino on the 11th of November, 1981. After studying pianoforte at the Rossini Conservatory in Pesaro, where he focussed on classical composers, he extended his musical research to include Jazz, Blues and Fusion, collaborating with qualified artists of the sector and becoming known for his unique vocal and instrumental qualities.
His music was born of the fusion between the Rag-time technique of the early 1900s and the lyricism of Blues, Soul and Jazz in its more traditional form. The typical pre-jazz and stride-piano sounds of Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Art Tatum and Mary Lou Williams, and the Blues of Ray Charles and Roosevelt Sykes, are brought up to date by Raphael Gualazzi with an extremely personal style in which tradition co-exists with the most innovative influences of such eclectic artists as Jamiroquai and Ben Harper.
Since 2005 Raphael Gualazzi has taken part in important festivals such as Fano Jazz, the Java Festival of Jakarta and Argo Jazz, Ravello International Festival and others, and in France in 2008 his compilation Piano Jazz was released on the Wagram label. This compilation included Raphael Gualazzi’s interpretation of Georgia On My Mind as well as compositions of great artists like Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Art Tatum, Ray Charles, Jimmie Cullum, Michael Petrucciani, Chick Corea, Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, Nina Simone and Duke Ellington.
After being invited to perform in Vermont and New Hampshire as part of the project The History & Mystery Of Jazz, alongside such prominent musicians as Michael Ray (Sun Ra Arkestra, Kool & The Gang), Steve Ferraris (Sun Ra Arkestra, Charlie Haden), Jamie McDonald, Nick Cassarino, Bob Gullotti and John McKenna, in September of 2009 Raphael Gualazzi met Caterina Caselli and signed with Sugar a recording contract.
After catching the attention of the general public with his cover of Don’t Stop, the celebrated ’70s success of the famous band Fleetwood Mac, which was chosen as the soundtrack of the ENI television ad, in the summer of 2010 Raphael Gualazzi performed at the Heineken Jammin Festival, the prestigious Pistoia Blues Festival and the Giffoni Film Festival, and went on to make his debut in September at the club Blue Note in Milan, where he presented his first 4-track digital EP of the same name, which brought him to the top of the iTunes charts.
In the meantime, the track Reality And Fantasy, remixed by Gilles Peterson and added to the Hotel Costes Compilation and Nova Tunes 2.2, reached the top of the charts for digital sales throughout the world. Raphael Gualazzi gained air play on some of the most prestigious French networks and in December he performed at the Louvre and then went on to make his debut at the Sun Side Club in Paris, the ‘temple’ of jazz music, where he presented his repertoire to the European media.
In February 2011 Raphael Gualazzi took part in the Festival of Sanremo in Italy with the song Madness Of Love. The song won hands down, coming away with the prize for the Young Artists category, the “Mia Martini” Critics Award and the Press, Radio & TV Award.
Simultaneously, the English version of Madness Of Love was included in the soundtrack of the film Manual Of Love 3, directed by Giovanni Vchosen and starring Robert De Niro and Monica Bellucci.
The song, which was written, produced and arranged by Gualazzi himself, is from his debut album Reality And Fantasy, released on the Sugar label on 16th February (and distributed with Universal Music in France and Germany). The song will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 in Düsseldorf with an English/Italian version of the lyrics.