The 34-year-old Italian pianist Stefano Bollani belongs to the younger breed of European musicians who feels equally at home in American jazz, European music and pop traditions, leaving his own special imprint on whatever he plays. Instead of aiming for brilliant virtuoso effect, he applies his polished technique to creating transparency as well as harmonic constructions studded with surprising details; practicing the art of reharmonization, with his solid compositions striking a comfortable balance between clearly delineated and open structures.
In the tradition of Keith Jarrett and Michel Petrucciani, but also reminiscent of romantic European piano music, Stefano Bollani represents the type of “complete pianistics” that places total orchestral sound in the foreground ahead of spectacular virtuoso pyrotechnics. His individualistic style, endowed with refined restraint of meaningful bass figures and carefully chosen harmonies on the one side and well-wrought melodies on the other, has earned him a reputation as one of the leading pianists of the younger generation.
In addition to this, in his solo concerts and performances with a diverse range of small ensembles, he has displayed a playful sense of irony and virtually encyclopedic mastery of music types from a wide variety of sources. His repertory includes jazz standards reaching back to ragtime and stride piano and themes from classical piano literature, in addition to Italian canzoni, Swedish folksongs, tangos and pop ballads. It’s hardly a coincidence that Bollani first became known in Italy as a humorous, at times singing entertainer, and equally as a parodist of Italian songsters and accompanist for the Italian rock musician Javanotti, who previously, in 1996, had enlisted the Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava off the streets to join him as his pianist.
Bollani first caught the attention of listeners in the broader European arena with his solo album “Piano Solo”. Well before that, however, he was already in demand in jazz circles and viewed as a rising star thanks to his work with such ensembles as Rava, Paolo Fresu, Richard Galliano, Phil Woods, Pat Metheny, among others. In the past two years, Stefano Bollano has been touring with his CDs “Tati” with Rava and Paul Motion; “Gleda: Songs of Scandinavia” with his Danish trio; “ I Visionari” with his Italian quintet; and “ Piano Solo”. Add to this his numerous other tours, festival appearances and solo concerts and his reputation as one of the most creative and interesting voices in the European jazz scene has been richly confirmed.