At the beginning of the '80s, trumpeter Paolo Fresu attended the Siena Summer Jazz Seminars and amazed Enrico Rava with his creativity, talent, and technique. Over the next ten years, he became a major player on the Italian scene, first with his own quintet (which is still going), then branching out in a variety of projects. After finishing his Conservatory studies, he became a teacher at the same Jazz Seminars in Siena; he lives half the year in Paris, from where he coordinates the major Time in Jazz Festival he created in his hometown. His discography numbers an astonishing 130 titles since he's been invited to play all over Europe in a variety of projects, from contemporary music to straight jazz, from dance to jazz/folk fusions.
His style is based on the classic Miles Davis sound of the '50s, and the very lineup of his quintet is reminiscent of Davis' group, with excellent tenor Tino Tracanna. They mostly play originals and the music flows fresh and engaging, never a mere imitation. Live in Montpellier (1990) and Ossi di Seppia featuring Gianluigi Trovesi, both on Splasc(h), are good representations of the different facets of the group; Shades of Chet is an affectionate tribute with Rava on Label Bleu (2001) featuring new piano talent Stefano Bollani. Sonos 'E Memoria (ACT 2001) and Metamorfosi (BMG 1999) are respectively inspired by Sardinian musical heritage and European classical Richard Strauss, their success being proof of his commitment to an open musical aesthetic. In addition to Fresu's quintet, he played in an unusual duo with bassist Furio di Castri, this became the PAF trio with the addition of Antonello Salis on piano and accordion, and another trio with English pianist John Taylor (Contos, Egea 1995), while his European quartet includes French-Vietnamese guitar player Nguyên Lê (Tales From Viêtnam, ACT, 1995). ~ Francesco Martinelli