Born: June 1, 1974 Primary Instrument: Piano
Even before the French institution, L’Académie du Jazz recognized his work on solo piano as the “Prix du Jazz Classique 2005” or magazines such as Jazz Classique and Jazz Hot printed rave reviews about him, 32-year old pianist Rossano Sportiello, was an emerging talent on the international jazz scene. A native of Vigevano, Italy, Rossano graduated from the Italian Conservatory and began his musical career at the age of 18 by joining the “Milano Jazz Gang”, one of Europe’s historic bands.
An accomplished stride pianist, Rossano grew up listening to Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller and Ralph Sutton, whom he met shortly before the elder’s death. However, his pianistic style also pays homage to the swing and bebop eras. He cites Earl Hines, Teddy Wilson, Bud Powell,Tommy Flanagan, Ellis Larkins, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans as a few of his influences. His mentor, bebop pianist Barry Harris, says “Rossano makes me smile when he plays.” On occasion, the jazz legend has invited him to the stage to play on his gigs, touting Rossano as “the best stride pianist” he's ever heard.
Rossano has performed with many of the world’s finest jazz luminaries, such as Slide Hampton, Gerry Mulligan, Bucky Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Houston Person, Dado Moroni, Eddie Locke, Dan Barrett, Harry Allen, Scott Robinson, Carl Fontana, Rebecca Kilgore, Reggie Johnson, Scott Hamilton, Bob Wilber, Kenny Davern, Warren Vache, Ken Peplowski, Butch Miles, Jake Hanna, Johnny Frigo and many others. He performs throughout Europe and highlighted concerts include the 2006 “International Stride Piano Summit” in Germany with Dick Hyman, Chris Hopkins and Bernd Lhotzky, as well as performances at the Ascona Jazz Festival, in Switzerland and the Nairn Festival in Scotland. He teaches jazz piano at the “Civici Corsi di Jazz di Milano” and has been an instructor at that institution since 1998. His recordings, all solo piano, include In the Dark, on Blue Swing Recordings (2003), Piano on My Mind, on the Jazz Connaisseur label (2004) and Heart and Soul on Arbors Records (2006). His latest release, People Will Say We're in Love, is also on Arbors Records (2007) and features bassist Nicki Parrott.