Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Rocco, Enzo (Vincenzo)
He began to learn the guitar by himself at the age of 14 and was immediately attracted by the Italian traditional music and by Verdi's operas (his parents were great fans of "Rigoletto" and "Traviata", but they also listened to a lot of music from Naples, his town). He never was too much interested in rock like his friends, but studied deeply the Italian folk music, also attracted by the use of the improvisation in it. At the age of 17 he discovered jazz music (the first CD was Coltrane live with Eric Dolphy) and dedicated his studies to it (not interested in guitarists, he was a fan of Coltrane, Dolphy, Mingus, Monk, Coleman, Lacy, Braxton). At 19 he was at Bologna University studying musicology and semiotics of music (with Umberto Eco): here he dedicated himself especially to the ethnomusicology, to the contemporary music and to the whole jazz tradition. After the University he began to play jam sessions in clubs in Bologna and Milan and took part, from 1990, in various groups accompanying the most important Italian jazzmen, also beginning to comose music. He was finalist at the competition for young musicians inside the Roma Jazz Festival (1992) and at the "Eddie Lang" competition for jazz guitarists at Monteroduni Festival (1993). From '91 to '95 he directed a trio, completed by Luca Garlaschelli (bass) and Massimo Pintori (drums), with whom played his own music everywhere in Italy and which supplied the rhythm section to different soloist guests. In that period he has often attended contemporary music, music for theatre and ballet, folk music, happenings and improvisations with poets and with painters. His style was influenced by the European free improvisation and by the folk music. In 1996 he organized the group "Tubatrio" with drummer Ettore Fioravanti (from the group of Paolo Fresu) and tuba/trombone player Rudy Migliardi. The first CD under his name decided the style of Rocco's music: jazz and irony, world music and amusement, dance and improvisation; a mix of contemporary jazz, free improvisation and folk music from all around the world always dressed with a generous amount of humour and of sense of theatre. In 1997, in occasion of the Nevers Jazz Festival, in France, Giancarlo Schiaffini took the place of Migliardi and "Tubatrio", thanks to the presence of this historical musician, well known in both fields of jazz and contemporary music, one of the first musicians introducing the free-jazz in Italy in the sixties, began to play a lot of concerts in Italy, France and Germany. In the same year the meeting with another of the most important Italian musicians, the saxophone player Carlo Actis Dato, with whom decided to create a duet that immediately had invitations in festivals all around Europe. Tubatrio and the duo with Actis Dato are always in activity and are the most important occupation. With them Rocco has performed in festivals and clubs in Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Lithuania, Russia, Japan, Argentina. In some countries like Japan, Argentina and Russia, where Rocco goes often, he also plays with local musicians creating special projects for long tours.
From February 2004, Rocco has created two new groups produced by two festivals in Italy and in France: "Tubensemble", an extension of Tubatrio with added Actis Dato and Eugenio Colombo, and a "French Quartet" with Actis Dato, Frederic Monino (electric bass) and Joel Allouche (drums). Actually he is also a member of the "etnojazz" quartet of the bass player Luca Garlaschelli and also conducts an improviser's orchestra (Gruppo Musica Estemporanea = Extemporary Music Group) which hosts Eugenio Colombo and Martin Mayes. He is often a partner of the English pianist Veryan Weston (duet, trio with Lol Coxhill) and often meets the improvisers of the English scene. Actually he is preparing a special project on the Italian traditional songs purchased by the Itali He also plays in Belgium and in Holland with Andre Goudbeek (member of the Willem Breuker Kollectif) and in 2003 has collaborated to the Italian conductions of Butch Morris and to the sound-painting experiences of Sabine Vogel. He has also played with Peter Kowald until a few days before the premature death of the great bass player. Actually he is preparing a special project on the Italian traditional songs purchased by the Italian Cultural Institute in Buenos Aires cor rected in: On October 2003 first tour in Argentina and Uruguay for the new "Italian Song Project", a quartet born by a commission of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura of Buenos Aires and dedicated to the arrangement of the most famous Italian songs. Finally he is the artistic director of the Bottesini Bassofestival, a festival dedicated to every kind of bass instruments in every kind of music. Reviews of his Cds, articles, and interviews appeared in the magazines: Jazz Live (Austria), Jazz@round, Jazz'Halo (Belgium), Jazzrytmit (Finland), Improjazz, Jazz Magazine, Jazzman (France), Jazz Podium (Germany), Jazz & Tzaz Magazine (Greece), Jazz Nu (Netherlands), Musica Jazz, Jazzit, Ritmo, Giornale della Musica, Guitar Club (Italy), Cuadernos de JAzz, Hurly Burly, Margen (Spain), Rubberneck (Uk), Cadence (Usa), Jazz Hihyo (Japan), Coda (Canada), and Jazz Square (Russia). Other interviews and concert reviews in local newspapers from Tokyo to Buenos Aires and in a lot of websites (Steve Loewy in AllMusicGuide, Glenn Astarita's "Italian Jazz Guitarist" in Allaboutjazz of July 2000, Geoffrey Totton's articles in New Zealand, Jayanta Sangupta in India and others. The Penguin Guide to Jazz has given ***1/2 to the second CD of the Actis Dato Rocco Duet, "Paella & Norimaki". The music of Rocco is broadcasted on a lot of radios all around the world (Europe, USA, Canada, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, etc.).
"T.'n'O" in the anthology "Accordo" (1994); Tuba Trio (1996); Carlo Actis Dato/Enzo Rocco: Pasodoble (1998); Bad News from Tubatrio (1999); Stefano Bagnoli/Enzo Rocco: Marche aux puces (1999); London gigs (2000); Carlo Actis Dato/Enzo Rocco: Paella & Norimaki (2000); Tubatrio's Revenge (2003); Guitar Stuff;
Luca Garlaschelli: Don't forget... (1999), The sound of Dream (2001), Salam Alaykum (2004)