Bruno Tommaso - Authentic sense of making music


Among the musicians belonging to the generation that revitalized and expanded the overall vision of the Italian jazz scene between the seventies and eighties, Bruno Tommaso stands out for his eclectic curiosity and authentic sense of making music through his profound knowledge and passion for your own tool. To speak of him only in the jazz connotation is an understatement to say the least: in his numerous records recorded not only as a double bass player but also as a fine composer and arranger, in fact, elements of Renaissance, medieval, experimental contemporary music can be traced, up to the melodrama passing through be-bop and free jazz.

More than a simple esthete of the free form, in the case of Bruno Tommaso one should speak of a fine reader capable of deciphering the illuminating and desecrating spirit of the jagged panorama of free jazz, beyond the forced political and ideological connotation attributed to it. Proof of this, in unsuspecting times, in the "Dionysian" eighties, when free music now seems a distant memory and the general jazz proposal of the time undoubtedly veers towards a certain "mainstream" easily grasped by the public, Bruno Tommaso releases the album "The Unrepentant Ones" (1986), together with a group of non-repentants, formed by Guido Mazzon, Toni Rusconi, Renato Geremia, Giancarlo Schiaffini and Mario Schiano. The professional and human relationship of Bruno Tommaso with the Neapolitan saxophonist Mario Schiano, on the other hand, had blossomed in the early seventies with the album "If not Ecstatic We Refound" (1970), in which we also find the drummer Franco Pecori, and continued with the album "Sud" (1973), in which the double bass player Marcello Melis is joined by the young musicians attending the jazz course of the pianist and composer Giorgio Gaslini at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome in the two-year period 1971-72: Maurizio Giammarco , Massimo Urbani Tommaso Vittorini, Eugenio Colombo, to name a few.

Already enrolled at the conservatory, Bruno Tommaso enthusiastically takes part in Giorgio Gaslini's experimental course, driven by the irrepressible desire to research and explore, going beyond the "superficial layer" of the musical material at his disposal and, conversely, the tangled situation Italian social policy of the period. This propensity has become, over the years, the leit motif of his "profession" as a teacher and acute popularizer, carried out together with that of double bass player, at the Conservatory as well as in the Popular School of Music of Testaccio and at the Siena Jazz Seminars. In particular, the School of Testaccio, of which Bruno Tommaso together with other personalities of Italian culture was the founder in 1975, has represented over the years a real programmatic manifesto "of doing" musical dissemination, through a didactic reality carried out in full autonomy in the context of problematic and often unresolved urban realities, marked by unequal opportunities for access to education and cognitive means.

Moreover, Giorgio Gaslini has been since the beginning of his concert activity an advocate of the jazz message at the service of civil and political commitment in the turbulent situation of the Italian system in the season of the years of lead, to which the sixty-eight movement had served as a prelude. The attendance of the double bass player in the composer and pianist's groups, in particular in the quartet with Gianni Bedori and Andrea Centazzo, in records such as "Fabbrica Occupata" (1973) "Message" (1973) or rather "Concerto per la libertà" (1975), it undoubtedly represents for him a period in which awareness of non-musical themes is taking shape. Gaslini and Tommaso will have the opportunity to collaborate again in the nineties in the project of the Italian Instabile Orchestra, together, among others, with the same Mario Schiano, Paolo Damiani, Gianluigi Trovesi, Renato Geremia.

In the role of composer and conductor of orchestral ensembles Bruno Tommaso recorded in the eighties the first album published under his name "Il Rito della Sibilla". The recording work is recorded with the RAI Big Band at the Radenci Jazz Festival in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (the historical context is between the death of the dictator Tito and the subsequent Yugoslav civil war). It was the practice of the organization of the Jazz Festival of the small Slovenian urban center to set up a comparison between the musicians of the radio and television orchestras of each Republic and those of a foreign orchestra, each year invited for the occasion to perform with their own repertoire and versions of traditional indigenous music. In 1984 the RAI Modern Rhythm Orchestra conducted by Bruno Tommaso was invited. The idea of ​​involving the double bass player in the organization of the sets of the "Ritmi Moderni" takes shape on the initiative of the author Pasquali Santoli, in whose radio program "A certain speech music", presented by him, the concert is broadcast (to replace the titular pianist of the Orchestra, Maestro Roberto Pregadio, Enrico Pieranunzi is called as an exceptional guest). The concert disc, released the following year by Fonit Cetra, represents on the one hand one of the last gasps of the Orchestra dei Ritmi Moderni of the RAI, definitively disbanded some time later, on the other one of the best episodes of the long and intense career of Bruno Thomas.

Paolo Marra

In the photo (by Peter Bastian) - taken from the book "The school I dreamed of, music as a common good, jazz as a dialogue" (by Bruno Tommaso with Alfredo Gasponi - Edipan Editions) the double bass player Bruno Tommaso in concert in a German town.


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