Music as a huge game to be re-invented time after time, alone or with different partners.
Bollani takes the stage to learn something every night and “because it is cheaper than paying a psychoanalyst.” He’ s constantly searching stimulations everywhere, in all the music of the past but most of all he’s exploring the present, the moment being, improvising alongside great artists like his noble mentor Enrico Rava, Richard Galliano, Bill Frisell, Paul Motian, Chick Corea, Hamilton de Holanda.
With the same spirit he is infiltrating inside symphony orchestras such as the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, the Scala in Milan and the Orchestre National de Paris, being taken by the hand by directors brave and enthusiastic such as Riccardo Chailly, Krjstian Jarvi, Daniel Harding.
Since 12 years, along with bassist Jesper Bodilsen and drummer Morten Lund, he is seeking a way to transmit to the public the same fun they experience whenever the voices of their instruments meet.
He celebrates the song-form alongside Caetano Veloso and Hector Zazou but also with renowned compatriots such as Irene Grandi, Fabio Concato, Elio e le Storie Tese.
When he’ s not playing, he’s writing books or creating theatre shows such as Primo Piano, with Banda Osiris or La regina dada, written and performed with Valentina Cenni, who, besides being a wonderful actress, is the woman who lives at his side.
In the radio, thanks to the cooperation with that wizard of David Riondino, he gave life to Dr. Djembè, omniscient musicologist who has been spreading seeds of irony and sarcasm for several years through channel RadioRai3′ s microphones.
On TV, after the experience at the court of Renzo Arbore, he threw himself into jam sessions of speech and music in two seasons of his Sostiene Bollani on channel Rai3.
Everything is always made to communicate joy. Joy in spite of everything, as the title of his recent work for ECM says, borrowing a phrase from the great Tom Robbins.
Stefano Bollani began studying the piano at the age of six and started his professional career at the age of fifteen. After graduating from the Conservatory Luigi Cherubini in Florence in 1993 he began appearing in many of the world’s most important concert venues (from Umbria Jazz to the Montreal Jazz Festival, from Town Hall in New York at La Fenice in Venice, from the Barbican in London to the Salle Pleyel in Paris and La Scala in Milan…), collaborating with musicians such as Richard Galliano, Caetano Veloso, Hamilton De Holanda, Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Miroslav Vitous, Han Bennink, Aldo Romano, Michel Portal, Gato Barbieri, Pat Metheny, Bobby McFerrin, Franco D ‘Andrea, Martial Solal, Uri Caine, John Abercrombie, Hector Zazou, Giovanni Sollima, Paolo Fresu, Elliot Sharp, Sainhko Namcythclack, Daniel Harding, Kristian Jarvi and Chick Corea, with whom he recorded a live album called Orvieto (ECM 2011).
The most important collaboration of his life begun in 1996 and has continued uninterrupted: that with his mentor, Italian trumpet giant Enrico Rava. They have performed hundreds of concerts and recorded thirteen records together. The most recents are: Tati (ECM, 2005), as a trio with Paul Motian on drums, The third man (ECM, 2007), as a duo, and New York days (ECM 2008), quintet with Mark Turner, Larry Grenadier and Paul Motian.
Bollani is in demand also as a composer, writing soundtracks for the theatre, for movies and dance. He is also a successful author; he has published a novel (La sindrome di Brontolo, 2006) and two books about music (L’ America di Renato Carosone, 2002, and Parliamo di musica, 2013). He has been author and conductor of a comic radio show about music for Radiorai3, the national cultural radio channel (Il dottor Djembè) and has also created a live tv show featuring noteworthy guests named Sostiene Bollani (2011) which was a huge success on Italian television.