Dominique di Piazza, who resides in France, is of Sicilian origin and was raised by his gypsy stepfather, a heritage that would influence his musicality in later years. He played both guitar and bass for a period of time, and after hearing the infamous Jaco Pastorius in 1979 decides to focus strictly on the bass, and not long after starts finding the unique voice he becomes very well known for.
Being a self taught musician, he immediately started developing his own style of playing, and by the early '80s had refined his signature right hand approach. It began by using the thumb, index, and middle finger instead of the traditional two finger approach, and that move gave birth to the four finger technique which is used as a secondary technique by many of the top players in the world. In addition to that, he also enhanced this technique by using a pedal steel guitar pick on his thumb and index finger, and carved out a unique and distinctive sound on the instrument. Beyond that, he also made a change over from a 4 string to a 5 string and introduced using a high C string as the 5th string instead of the low B, which was uncommon, and once again was embraced by many of the top players. On the Que Alegria album with John McLaughlin, which came out in 1992, the solo bass tune Marie would become one of the highlights of the recording, displaying his new picking technique.
These subtle but imaginative changes to his approach on the instrument, would have a ripple effect in the bass community and would be adopted by numerous players both here in the states and in Europe, such as Matthew Garrison, Adam Nitti, and Hadrien Feraud to name just a few. He also came up with a design for a special bridge to be used on a fretted bass to emulate the sound of a fretless bass. This can be heard on the piece Seven Up from the album Wait and See recorded in 1993, which once again was another extraordinary performance by Dominique. Add to that a strong background in the be-bop genre, his gypsy musical heritage, a neo-classical approach to his playing, and a strong sense of harmony, and you have one of the most original voices on bass in modern music today.
His career started in 1982 at the Hot Club de Lyon in France playing with Michel Perez.
He became an established player on the Paris scene and toured as well with Didier Lockwood, Andre Ceccarelli and Gordon Beck.
In 1987 he does a European tour with Gil Evans and the Big Band Lumiere of Llaurent Cugny. He then recorded a trio album with Jean-Pierre Como and Stephane Huchard called Padre. Then in 1991, Dominique becomes a member of the John McLaughlin trio along with Trilok Gurtu. They do a worldwide tour of more than 300 concerts and record the Que Alegria album, which caught the ear of many well known bassists, and Dominique becomes an established player on the jazz scene.
John McLaughlin quotes, His talent is immense, and I feel he is one of the most musical bass players in the world today....