Born: June 20, 1949 Primary Instrument: Flute
Bobb Fantauzzo headlines JazZen, the Minneapolis based trio that embraces the essence of jazz with highly unusual instrumentation and inspired soloing. The organic timbre of Fantauzzo's wooden flutes, weaving through the swirling undercurrents provided by Aaron Kerr's electric cello and Derrin Pinto's drum kit, opens new sonic possibilities and creates a distinct sound that is simultaneously primitive and contemporary.
As a child growing up in Rochester, NY, Bobb Fantauzzo appeared to have limited musical ability: he was kicked out of band in middle school for keeping time by tapping with both feet. Although he felt a need to create music for several years, Fantauzzo didn't find the right instrument to do so until almost 40 years later when he was seduced by the sound of the Native American flute in 1998. Learning to play by emulating what he heard on recordings, Fantauzzo soon realized that while he appreciated the canyon sound often heard on the flute, it was not the music he felt. It was not the music he wanted to express. It was not his voice.
Encouraged by R. Carlos Nakai during a workshop in 1999, Fantauzzo started to explore his potential on the flute and began his journey of developing his personal voice: blending the soul of the Native American flute with the spirit of jazz - attempting to bring the flute out of the canyon and into the club.
Fantauzzo began performing in public after moving to Minneapolis, MN from State College, PA in 2001 and released his first album (Sirocco - Winds of Passion) in late 2003.
Crossover cellist Aaron Kerr started performing with Fantauzzo in 2006. In 2008 they released Explorations as the duo JazZen. In 2010, JazZen expanded to a trio when drummer Derrin Pinto joined the mix. JazZen’s current album, Bounce off the Moon, was released in March, 2011.
Fantauzzo still taps both feet when he plays.
- Peter Phippen, Canyon Records recording artist
There is depth to Bobb's music… it elicits a physical response… one is like a sensuous slow dance … [another] gets you snapping your fingers and tapping your feet … it's music that engages your whole body - you can't just listen with your ears!
- Eleanor Alden, Voice of the Wind
xiao, dizi, bawu (Chinese wind instruments)