By Jakob Bækgaard
Italian pianist and composer Luca Dell’Anna was born on October 10, 1975 in Ferrara, a historical city with strong ties to jazz. He grew up listening to his father’s extensive record collection. Especially Ray Charles and Nat King Cole impressed him: “While I was listening to them singing, their licks and piano styles entered my memory forever.”
His father also had a classical collection and Dell’Anna quickly fell in love with the music of J.S. Bach. As he approached the piano for the very first time, he quickly began improvising melodies in the style of Bach. Another important influence was Dell’Anna’s grandfather, who played the accordion and stressed the importance of traditional Italian folk music.
The piano came into his life when he started playing a toy piano with his friend at the age of six. One year later, he got an electronic keyboard for Christmas and discovered the world of improvisation. When he was in the sixth grade, he was encouraged to take piano lessons, and this was the beginning of many years of education in classical music. From he was 10 to 19 years old, he studied classical piano and attended the Conservatory G. Frescobaldi of Ferrara. A new path opened that would eventually lead to his rebirth as a jazz musician.
At 16, he started playing in a funk-fusion band that played the repertoire of Tower of Power, Chick Corea, Billy Cobham and other fusion heroes from his youth. The discovery of jazz language resulted in Dell’Anna taking lessons with notable Italian pianist Bruno Cesselli and he would later attend the renowned L’Università della Musica (The Music University) in Rome under the tutelage of the great bop pianist Andrea Beneventano. To this day, the teachings of Beneventano still provide the foundation of the lessons Dell’Anna gives to his own students. At the heart of Dell’Anna’s sound lies a complex understanding of rhythm that goes beyond the generic sound of modern lyrical jazz piano. Part of the reason for this is his discovery of Cuban music and Latin rhythms: “I had very close friends who were big fans of Cuban music and I also started to listen to and learn proper Salsa music, in addition to Latin jazz: Chucho Valdes, Eddie Palmieri and my real big crush, Gonzalo Rubalcaba.”
[...] a brilliant artist, curious and versatile, as well as one of the most interesting realities emerged
on the Italian jazz scene
(JAZZIT Magazine, #91, december 2015)
[...] Dell'Anna shows technical mastery and reflective depth: his lively rhythmic imprint always
serves a sophisticated and imaginative eloquence”
[...] Dell'Anna builds a piano trio able to move on different territories with agile security and takes
advantage of this characteristic to look for - and, ultimately, find - a sign, energy, resilience,
strength in the slow tempos, all dosed with measure and with a certain taste for contrasting
the intention, that is, to always put an emphasis on what's not expected whether or not granted