Award-winning jazz pianist Rossano Sportiello was born in Vigevano, Italy on 1 June 1974. He began studying piano at the age of 9 under the tutelage of Italian classical pianist Carlo Villa and continued until his graduation in classical piano from the Conservatory in 1996. At 16, he was performing professionally at jazz venues in the Milan area, and in 1992, he joined one of Europe’s historic jazz bands, the “Milano Jazz Gang” touring with the group throughout Italy and West Europe until the end of 2000. That same year, Rossano met legendary jazz pianist and educator, Barry Harris, who became a mentor and good friend. Mr. Harris has touted Rossano as “the best stride piano player” he has ever heard.
Stylistically, although international critics consider Rossano a follower of Ralph Sutton, Dave McKenna and Barry Harris, the influence of other great masters can be heard in his playing, such as Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum, Count Basie, Earl Hines, Ellis Larkins and Bill Evans, to name a few. Rossano was introduced as a soloist by trombonist/arranger Dan Barrett and drew international acclaim at the 2002 Ascona Jazz Festival (Switzerland) while performing with the eight-piece, all-star American band led by Barrett, which was enthusiastically received. Rossano has performed several times at Ascona since and standing ovations after his performances are not uncommon. At the 25th anniversary of the festival, he received the 2009 Ascona Jazz Award in recognition of his expertise and mastery of jazz piano, in particular stride piano. Rossano made his first trip to the United States and was introduced to the American audience at the invitation of the late Mat Domber (Arbors Records) to perform at the 2003 “March of Jazz” party in Clearwater Beach, Florida. Following his marriage to American writer, Lala Moore, in 2007, Rossano established himself in New York City.
Rossano has performed with many of the world’s finest jazz luminaries, such as Slide Hampton, Clark Terry, Barry Harris, Dan Barrett, Kenny Davern, Bucky Pizzarelli, Bob Wilber, Warren Vache, Bob Cranshaw, Mickey Roker, Harry Allen, Howard Alden, Joe Wilder, Eddie Locke, Joe La Barbera, Scott Hamilton, Jake Hanna, Houston Person, Bill Charlap, Dick Hyman. He has been in great demand in the U.S. appearing at New York venues, such as Lincoln Center, the Blue Note, Birdland, Feinstein's, the 92nd Street Y, Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, the Café Carlyle and Town Hall, as well as at main jazz parties and festivals, including the San Diego Jazz Party, Chautauqua Jazz Festival, North Carolina Jazz Party, Rochester Jazz Festival, Odessa Jazz Party, Newport Beach Jazz Party, Arbors Records Invitational Jazz Piano Party, Rocky Mountains Jazz Party and the Roswell Jazz Festival. Internationally, Rossano has performed in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and in acclaimed festivals and venues such as the Norwich Jazz Party, Nairn International Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Spoleto Piano Festival, Lucerne Piano Festival, the Philarmonie (Luxembourg), Teatro Alla Scala (Milan), Teatro dell’Opera (Rome), Marians Jazz Room (Switzerland), Lionel Hampton Jazz Club (Paris), Blue Note (Milan ), Printzregentertheatre (Munchen-Germany) and Schloss Elmau (Germany), to name a few. Since 2008, Rossano has performed regularly with the Harry Allen Quartet. For his performances, see the touring page.
On 4 May 2011, in his home town of Vigevano, Italy, Rossano received the prestigious Vittorio Ramella award, bestowed upon native persons of Vigevano who through their profession have made a significant contribution to the world and distinguished themselves in the international community. As an educator, Rossano has given lectures on jazz and/or masterclasses on piano at institutions such as the University of Toronto Jazz Studies, University of Central Florida and Claremont College (California). Most recently, in May 2013, in addition to a concert at the Master’s Lodge of St. John’s College, Cambridge, UK, he lectured there as “professor in residence.”
Rossano has recorded four solo piano CDs, including In the Dark (2004, Sackville); Piano On My Mind (2005, Jazz Connaisseur), which won the “Prix Du Jazz Classique de l’Académie du Jazz de France”; Heart and Soul (2006, Arbors Records), selected by the French magazine Jazz Classique among the top 10 of the year; and It Amazes Me (2009, Sackville); and two duet CDs with bassist/singer Nicki Parrott on Arbors Records, Do It Again (2009) and People Will Say We’re In Love (2007), which was selected by The New Yorkermagazine as one of the top 10 jazz CDs of 2007. Rossano also has three jazz CDs featuring classical music, Chopin in Jazz (2010), Schubert in Jazz (2011) and Listz in Jazz (2011) on the SwingBros label. The Rossano Sportiello Trio (Frank Tate and Dennis Mackrel) recorded Lucky to Be Me, (2010, Arbors Records).