Eugenio Colombo

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About Eugenio Colombo

Eugenio Colombo plays saxophones and flutes, and as an improviser and composer, synthesizes ancient Mediterranean roots, African-American influences, and free improvisation with the strength of an extraordinarily flexible musical mind coupled with an inimitable sense of humor. His playing experiences are based on jazz but range from the performance of pieces by Scelsi and Berio to several collaborations with folksinger and ethnomusicologist Giovanna Marini. From 1977 on, he was one of the earliest European proponents of sax quartets, performing in I Virtuosi di Cave and Fratelli Sax. Colombo composed for jazz soloists plus brass band for the Banda Sonora project, and was a member of the under-documented Fortuna Quartet with Massimo Nardi, Bruno Tommaso, and Ettore Fioravanti. He has recorded with a variety of artists, including Giorgio Gaslini, Mario Schiano, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Martin Joseph, Alvin Curran, and Misha Mengelberg. Colombo is a specialist of the solo performance, which showcases his personal techniques (he plays two saxophones à la Roland Kirk) and the huge palette of sounds that he extracts from the instruments. As such, he's featured on a CD (Summertime, Splasc(h), 1987) and on a track from Italian Instabile Festival (Leo, 1998). His regular quartet released Giada on Splasc(h) in 1999, while Tales of Love and Death (Leo, 2000) features "Giuditta" and "Toxon," his unique compositions for three female operatic voices and jazz quartet based on stories from the Bible and The Odyssey, as well as an improvised flute/bass duo. It is one of the most original works of European jazz in the '90s. Italian opera tradition and Middle Eastern music meet in the flexible context of jazz composition, with a rare combination of instrumental colors and voice, the music coming back full circle to its Mediterranean roots after the American cross-fertilization. Colombo is also a founding member of the Italian Instabile Orchestra, which regularly features his composition "Scongiuro." ~ Francesco Martinelli

Rome, Italy
December 10, 1953

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