French jazz fans can say thank you to Silvio Berlusconi! It is thanks to his appetite for unparalleled power and his contempt for culture that we have inherited a whole generation of Italian jazzmen who went into exile to Paris in the 90's.
Pianist Giovanni Mirabassi, born in Perugia in 1970, is undoubtedly one of the most singular among them, a hiker attracted to sinuous paths rather than straight-lined ones.
In 2001, the French public succumbs to the discreet charm of his solo album, Avanti!
Some would have chosen themes of improvisation among jazz standards; he preferred to reveal the hidden melancholy of fifteen hymns to freedom and committed songs from all countries.
The CD is a staggering success in France and abroad.
At 31, he signs his declaration of independence in a very ambitious way. Being the son of a religious lawyer who wanted his offspring to become a lawyer too, he decides to turn his back to his previous life, also leaving behind an older brother - a jazz clarinetist - reluctant to share his place in the sun and the hazards of the journey of a determined self-taught musician. "I had the urgent need to continue my dialogue with music, which started at the age of two playing on the family piano. At the time, it was the only one who answered me when I spoke to him. I could not have been anything but a pianist."
At 7, he can play all the preludes of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, then discovers jazz at the Perugia Festival, spends all his pocket money on Monk, Miles and Blakey’s records and intuitively forges his style. He becomes impregnated with Enrico Pieranunzi's delicate harmonies, Bill Evans' aristocratic phrasing and the collective rhythmic fury of Mingus.
Yet, even if one night he shares the stage with Chet Baker, experiences the thrill of an Italian tour with Steve Grossmann and wins piano competitions, Giovanni Mirabassi can’t believe in his lucky star.
He definitely finds his place in Paris in 1992. There, he mingles with the Italian diaspora: Paolo Fresu, Flavio Boltro, Stefano di Battista and especially their prestigious elder leader, Aldo Romano delighted to collect these birds fallen from the nest. There, too, he accidentally meets one of the last giants of classical piano, Aldo Ciccolini, who takes him under his wing and gives him some valuable piano lessons. There again, he bumps into Louis Moutin and Daniele Mencarelli with whom he records a first very personal Cd, Architectures (1998). Finally, he achieves glory with Avanti.
But instead of following this lead, Giovanni Mirabassi opts for a more personal path. Strongly committed to his political ideas, it is out of the question for him to do commercial jazz. He decides to change course rather than make an aesthetic road trip.
From there on, the notions of autonomy and sharing are his key drivers and the people he meets guide him artistically. In 2003, he writes aerial compositions for an unusual piano / trombone / bugle team with his music partners Glenn Ferris and Flavio Boltro ("Air", best record of the year by Jazz Academy), then from 2008 to 2012, he forms a regular trio with bassist Gianluca Renzi and American drummer Leon Parker for three luminous albums where he returns to the jazz master formation without departing from the melancholic poetry and relentless swing which characterize his music ("Terra Furiosa", "Out of Track" and "Live at Blue Note, Tokyo").
Constantly looking for new sounds, he does not hesitate to mobilize a string orchestra to enhance his new compositions and elevate his new trio composed of Gianluca Renzi and Cuban drummer Lukmil Perez Herrera (VIVA V.E.R.D.I - 2009). He also invites American vibraphonist Stefon Harris for enchanting quartet dialogues (No Way Out - 2015). All these projects make him a pianist-composer always in search of freedom and insolence but at the same time faithful to the tradition of inventive jazz and a spirit of protest. A balance always welcomed by his audience but not always by his reviewers ...
There is also his passion for voice and songs, so recognizable in his right- hand piano playing. A passion that is expressed through projects in solo piano albums like Cantopiano in 2006, improvisations on a program of French songs by Nougaro, Agnès Bihl, Lama, Gainsbourg, Jeanne Cherhal, etc ... or Adelante! in 2011 recorded in Havana, which is like an echo to Avanti ! and elevates Cuban revolutionary songs.
His passion is also found in his piano / voice Cds, which combine the power of the texts and the jazzman’s sensitivity: a tribute to Léo Ferré with Nicolas Reggiani (Léo en liberté 2004),a tribute to unloved authors like Allain Leprest, Daniel Darc or Philippe Léotard with Cyril Mokaiesh (Naufragés 2015).
He later discovers jazz singer and songwriter Sarah Lancman that he decides to take under his wing. She produces two albums with him: Inspiring Love (2016) and her last album "A contretemps" released in October 2017.
He stands up for the maltreated, daily life resistant-fighters and strong-willed people…
And it is no coincidence that his latest album recorded in the auditorium of the prestigious Studio Bauer in Germany greets the talent of three great singers of the past, true icons in the three countries of his heart: Ella Fitzgerald the North American singer, Edith Piaf the French singer and Mercedes Sosa the South American singer. Alone in front of his keyboard, Giovanni Mirabassi whispers with emotion to these three free women, in a way that only an Italian is able to do ... with brio!
His upcoming album [ PENSIERI ISOLATI ] ( Insulated thoughts ) will be released in JANUARY 2021.
Ils chantent Allain Leprest, Daniel Darc, Bernard Dimey, Philippe Léotard, Vladimir Vissotski, Mano Solo, Stéphan Re- ggiani, Pierre Vassiliu, Jehan...
Dépressifs, junkies, ivrognes, malades, malchanceux, ils constituent une confrérie secrète, une conspiration de rêveurs ivres et désespérés.
« Viva Verdi » est une phrase à double sens, car si elle signifie ce qu'elle signifie, c'est aussi un acrostiche cher aux révolutionnaires italiens du début du 19ème : Viva Vittorio Emanuele Re D'Italia. Loin de toute idée de royalisme à la française, c'était le cri de ralliement des garibaldiens pour une Italie unifiée et souveraine." Giovanni Mirabassi
et une musique sans concession: tous les ingrédients que l'on retrouve sur ce nouvel album "Adelante". L'artiste militant a choisi la Havane pour y enregistrer la suite de son plus grand succès "Avanti". "Adelante" dresse une cartographie des chants révolutionnaires les plus emblématiques, de l'Argentine à l'URSS, en passant par la France, l'Italie, l'Espagne et ... Cuba. "
MyPercu.com - Jimmy Braun, octobre 2010
Alain Gerber - Diapason
PASCAL ANQUETIL - JAZZMAN