Primary Instrument: Percussion
During his artistic career that spans over 30 years, composer, conductor, percussionist and video artist Andrea Centazzo has given more than 1500 concerts and live performances in Europe and the United States, as well as appeared and performed on numerous radio and television broadcasts worldwide. He has recorded over 150 LP's and CD's, and has authored 350 compositions mostly published by Warner Chappell (ranging from opera and symphony to solo works) and eight musicology books. He has performed at festivals, concert seasons and theaters as soloist and conductor of his compositions conducting the American Youth Symphonic Orchestra, the LA Contemporary Orchestra, the Mittleuropa Orchestra, the ER Youth Symphonic Orchestra and many Ensembles. He also directed and staged his operas as well theatrical plays of other US authors. His opera TINA was highly acclaimed in Italy as well in California. Holding a PHD in Ancient Music from the prestigious University of Bologna, he did teach in Europe as well in USA from Universities to jazz schools.
He has performed and recorded, co-leading, with some of the greatest avant-garde soloists and composers, including John Zorn, Sylvano Bussotti, Steve Lacy, Don Cherry, Evan Parker, Fred Frith, Tom Cora, Alvin Curran, Henry Kaiser, Teo Jöergesmann, Albert Mangelsdorf, Gianluigi Trovesi, Anthony Coleman, Toshinori Kondo, just to name few. Deservedly, Centazzo has received a number of prestigious music and video Awards (Italian Critic’s Choice Award, Italy, Downbeat Magazine Poll, USA, International Video Festival Tokyo, Japan, Prix Arcanal of French Culture, France, Jazz Forum Critic’s Poll, USA, Bruce Chatwin Award, Italy, Dramalogue Award, USA and many more). Recently his 30th ICTUS Anniversary Box Set has been nominated Box Set of 2006 by the Journalists of the American Jazz Critics Association.
For 15 years now, Centazzo has been working to create multi-media experiences, combining live music with video images, blending traditional instrumentation with the latest music digital technology. His two last multimedia solo project MANDALA (inspired by the Buddhist Universe) and ETERNAL TRAVELER (inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci) got vast acclaim from audiences and critics both in USA and Europa, appearing in TV broadcasts at CBS, KPFK, Rai and several international magazines. In the last year Centazzo went back, highly acclaimed, to the Improvised Music scene with his new Renaissance trio featuring Perry Robinson and Nobu Stowe. Born and raised in Italy, but naturalized American in 2000, since 1992 he has lived and worked in Los Angeles. Now he’s resident in Long Beach.
It is an important, if not essential collection, featuring an incredible array of talent, and priced as an extraordinary value. Reflecting the tastes and performances of Italian composer and percussionist Andrea Centazzo, the 12- CD boxed set gloriously presents an eclectic and highly individual selection of free improvisation.”
Steven Loewy (CADENCE, January 2007)
Andrea Centazzo Mitteleuropa Orchestra Sort of like Braxton meets Xenakis meets Zappa!... challenging and consistently fascinating… a variety of surprises with layers of complex writing, inventive arrangements and many inspired solos. This (Centazzo) music is in between modern European jazz and contemporary classical music. The balance between intricate writing and the quirky solos is just right.
BLG (Downtown Music Gallery, July 2007)
The Soul in the mist (Centazzo/Robinson/Stowe)
Every now and then a recording comes out which renews the realization of how richly creative improvised music can be. What is intriguing is the idea of the well of introspection that must trigger the musicians’ process. The answer to the question “What comes next?” keeps the listener glued to the music.
In the Ictus release, The Soul in the Mist, Andrea Centazzo, on drums, MIDI Mallet Kat and percussion, Nobu Stowe, on piano, and Perry Robinson, on clarinet, render the anticipation of “What comes next?” easy to accept. The concept of this recording is built on the careful traveling through an alluring, appealing and mysterious atmosphere to a place of surprise.... Centazzo creates the biggest sound... An ominous picture often gives way to one of safety and embrace. Rattles, a keyboard and cymbals serve to decorate the musical surface that indicates an Oriental character. The last track, The Voices, stands out as one where the drums are actually applied rhythmically... This recording might be interpreted as metaphor for living: how we wander with our eyes open to the vastness of what is ahead until something unexpected confuses us and causes us to stop, literally eradicating our wonder.
HEART OF WAX by John Barron, All About Jazz
Newly edited and re-mastered for Centazzo’s own Ictus Records, The Heart of Wax casts the Italian free-jazz pioneer in the role of composer/conductor, demonstrating superlative mastery of orchestration.
There is virtually no improvising to be found on The Heart of Wax. Although Centazzo incorporates lush, jazz influenced harmonies into his pieces, the emphasis is on the repetitive, minimalist blending of percussion and keyboards. What prevents the music from taking on an all-out minimalist stature; however, is the intriguing contrapuntal developments found within the melodic content of each movement.
Centazzo finds beauty within Martini’s subject matter, described by the artist as a “bizarre spectacular game, grotesque fable, dramatic macabre and ultimately joyous.” The careful choices in timbre along with the hypnotic, ethereal effect of his rhythmic layering catapults the listener into a world of sonic serenity, enveloped in warmth. While each individual movement of The Heart of Wax stands on its own as a distinct musical statement, the resulting whole performed with seamless perfection, is a bold statement from an under appreciated visionary.