Giovanni Guidi


Giovanni Guidi


Giovanni Guidi Quartet  feat. James Brandon Lewis

James Brandon Lewis          ts
Giovanni Guidi                      p
Joe Rehmer                           b
Joao Lobo                            dr

Giovanni Guidi was born in Foligno/Umbria in 1982. His father was one of the first managers in Italy to focus exclusively on jazz music, so Giovanni grew up surrounded by world-class musicians from a young age, giving him important tips for his piano playing. He then played for the first time with Enrico Rava at the Siena Jazz summer workshops.

Of course, Giovanni had known Enrico for years – he worked with his father and spent a lot of time at the family home, but it was at Siena Jazz that Enrico got the idea for a new Under 21 project, which he shared with Giovanni and some other very young musicians founded. That was the start of Guidi’s career.

2011 was the year of the breakthrough for the Italian pianist Giovanni Guidi. His fourth record as a leader, WE DON’T LIVE ANYMORE, was released by CAM JAZZ in February. Guidi is accompanied by some of New York’s best musicians (Michael Blake, Thomas Morgan, Gerald Cleaver) as well as frequent Italian trombonist Gianluca Petrella. After the CD release, the quintet undertook two successful concert tours in Europe under his name.

In spring he appeared as a sideman on Roberto Cecchetto’s „SOFT WIND“ with Giovanni MAIER and Michele RABBIA, released on MY FAVORITE RECORDS, and in mid-September on the highly anticipated ECM release „TRIBE“ by Enrico RAVA with Gianluca PETRELLA, Gabriele EVANGELISTA and Fabrizio SFERRA: the latest incarnation of Rava’s quintet, in which Guidi’s original voice became an important defining feature.

He also continued to work as a sideman in various formations, including trombonist Gianluca Petrella’s „Cosmic Band“ and the new Petrella project „Il Bidone“, dedicated to the music of Nino Rota. The explosive duo Guidi/Petrella received an enthusiastic reception at the Euro Jazz Festival in Mexico City. With Enrico Rava he performs both in a duo and in a quintet, now called Tribe, and in the Enrico Rava PM Jazz Lab (in various projects including the recent “We Want Michael” project dedicated to Michael Jackson).

His groups as leader have included his original quartet with Dan Kinzelman, Stefano Senni and Joao Lobo, the Unknown Rebel Band (featuring a new repertoire of African music) and the new quintet with Shane Endsley (trumpeter from Kneebody), a long-time accompanist Dan Kinzelman and Thomas Morgan and Gerald Cleaver. Guidi will be touring with the new quintet in May 2012 and March 2013.

Guidi’s next project is his trio with Thomas Morgan and Joao Lobo, fresh off recording Guidi’s first record City Of Broken Dreams as leader for ECM. The record will be released in March 2013.

Guidi was named Best Italian Pianist by Insound magazine in 2011, and the year-end poll by Italian magazine Musica Jazz placed him 2nd for Best Pianist, just one point behind the winner. It is clear that at just 27 years old, Guidi is becoming one of the most important voices of the new generation in Italy and abroad.

From 2013 various trio recordings followed under his name at ECM, mostly with Thomas Morgan and Joao Lobo as well as further recordings together in the band of Enrico Rava and Gianluca Petrella.

Founded in 2022, Guidi started the “Ojos de Gato” project.

Ojos de Gato is a 1970s composition by Carla Bley that her ex-husband Paul recorded for his fantastic album Paul Plays Carla. It was dedicated to the Argentine saxophonist Leandro „Gato“ Barbieri, whose career began in Italy and to whom the pianist Giovanni Guidi, born in 1985, pays tribute.

Guidi is less interested in Gato’s successes with the film music for „Last Tango In Paris“ and more in the beginnings in the 1960s when Gato toured Europe with Don Cherry. Guidi’s former band leader and mentor, trumpeter Enrico Rava, played an important role at the time and he too played „Ojos de Gato“ a lot.

Guidi’s fifth record on CamJazz is a furious homage echoing the protests against Latin America’s military dictatorships. The blazing, hoarse tone of Gato sounds appropriately from James Brandon Lewis‘ tenor saxophone, while Guidi’s longtime companion Gianluca Petrella masters the role of trombonist Roswell Rudd with bravura.

Programmatically, the six begin with an outcry: “Revolución”. Free play condenses into collective sounds that dissolve abstractly again. The anthemic gesture of Gato’s music fills „Latino America“ and „Padres“, while in „Ernesto“, one of the most beautiful pieces of the album, Gato’s tango emotion erupts. Enrico Rava attests Giovanni Guidi, who called one of his formations The Rebel Band, a „constructive-subversive“ approach. As if in chapters of a book, the Italian-American sextet, who met at the Samurai Hotel Recording Studio in New York, sheds light on Gato Barbieri’s Sturm und Drang phase. (quoted from Karl Lippegaus.

With this project, Guidi presented himself at international jazz festivals in Europe.

At the same time, this was the starting signal for his collaboration with the American saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and the beginning of his new quartet.

James Brandon Lewis released his debut as a leader in 2010 and almost immediately garnered media attention. “There is no easy abbreviation for the musical M.O. by James Brandon Lewis,” noted Rolling Stone. „Since his early releases … the saxophonist has balanced a deep gospel-infused spirituality with free-jazz freedom and hard-hitting funk-meets-hip-hop fundamentals.“

James Brandon Lewis, a jazz saxophonist in his thirties, with a rough but measured tone, doesn’t sound steeped in current jazz academy values and doesn’t really come from a free-improvising perspective.“ He has a certain independence about him, and on “ Days of FreeMan” (Okeh), he makes it sound natural, playing wild, experimental funk with only electric bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma and drummer Rudy Royston and without much sonic enhancement. His music is reminiscent of what James Blood Ulmer and Ornette Coleman did in the late ’70s and early ’80s – on records that also featured Mr. Tacuma – but it doesn’t clearly point to a specific past. Maybe it’s an improvised version of early ’90s hip-hop, as Mr. Lewis suggested, but it sounds less clinical. It sounds like three melodic improvisers trying.”

Lewis‘ melodic identity encompasses antiquity and future, inside and outside, density and openness, church and street. He is a master of the short, contagious motif and, like Sonny Rollins, dedicates large parts of his improvisations to the stretching, breaking and mutation of short phrases. The son of a minister, Lewis grew up listening to church music and listening to the titans of jazz at home. As he got older, he became acquainted with Buffalo artists such as free jazz saxophonist Charles Gayle and groove saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. After moving to New York, Lewis pursued music in many different directions and played regularly with the Bassists William Parker and Jamaaladeen Tacuma from Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time band, as well as trombonist Craig Harris and many others.

“I’m from the generation that went to school to learn music,” says Lewis, a self-proclaimed seeker and thirty-nine-year-old old soul who received his undergraduate degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and earned his master’s degree from Cal Arts, where he studied with Charlie Haden and others. “What happens in this environment is that everything becomes overly complicated. [After Jesup Wagon] I was aware of how much I tend to get into my head. I started thinking about how important it is to break out of these school thinking patterns. At this point I have a kind of trained intuition to know where things should go. I started questioning that, and the more I did, the more obsessed I became with the basics.”

In 2021, saxophonist and composer James Brandon Lewis had his career breakthrough with his tenth album „The Jesup Wagon“. Inspired by inventor George Washington Carver’s mobile agricultural education efforts, the song cycle was acclaimed by critics for its dreamlike mosaic of gospel, folk-blues and loud brass bands. It was named Album of the Year by Jazz Times and Downbeat, as well as a number of international jazz magazines, and established Lewis as one of the most provocative musical voices of his generation.

Along the way, Lewis attracted the attention of many improv artists, most notably saxophonist and jazz god Sonny Rollins, who doesn’t often offer lavish praise. Moved by Lewis‘ deep, spiritual tone, Rollins said, „When I listen to you, I’m listening to Buddha, I’m listening to Confucius…I’m listening to the deeper meaning of life.“ You keep the world in balance.“

Joe Rehmer (bass) was born in Woodstock IL USA in 1984.  He graduated with an undergraduate degree in studio music and jazz from the University of Miami in 2006 followed by a master’s degree in 2008. In 2010 Joe moved to Italy where he currently live and performs regularly with musicians/bands such as Ghost Horse, ARCH, Giovanni Guidi, Dan Kinzelman, Stefano Tamborrino, Filippo Vignato, Francesco Bearzatti, Roberto Cechetto, and Joao Lobo.  In recent years he has performed/recorded with artists such as Jim Black, Michael Blake, Enrico Rava, Gianluca Petrella, Maria Schneider, Dave Leibman, Avishai Cohen, Stefano Battaglia, Troy Roberts, Paul Bender….

Joe Rehmer is a founding member of the acclaimed trio Hobby Horse which is a central figure in Italy’s emerging creative music scene.

  „…Extremely original and unpredictable, sophisticated and powerfully visceral…one of the most intriguing and unique groups on the Italian scene“ Neri Pollastri, Allaboutjazz. „all-encompassing, ineffable, impossible to fit within the narrow confines of a category“ Mario Grella, Off Topic.

„Hobby Horse… with a performance so engrossing that I forgot to take notes during most of it.  The concert fully confirmed their reputation as one of the best live acts in Europe.“  Ludovico Granvassu, Allaboutjazz.


JOAO LOBO – drums

João Lobo is a very active drummer on the European music scene. He has played in some of the most important jazz venues with musicians such as Enrico Rava, Carlos Bica, Alexandra Grimal and Giovanni Guidi and recorded for record labels such as CamJazz and Clean Feed. He started playing drums at the age of 12 and began his formal training at the Hot Clube de Portugal jazz school in Lisbon. In 2001 he moved to the Netherlands where he earned a bachelor’s degree in jazz percussion in 2006 and met many musicians with whom he still works.

Despite his short career, João Lobo has performed with some big names in European and American jazz, including Roswell Rudd, Gianluca Petrella, Julian Arguelles, Nelson Veras, John Hebert and Michael Attias.

Other projects

Giovanni Guidi Trio
Giovanni Guidi – piano, Thomas Morgan b; Joao Lobo dr
ECM rec. City of Broken Dreams

Giovanni Guidi & Gianluca Petrella Duo
Giovanni Guidi – piano & Gianluca Petrella – trombone

Pics for download

Take a look at the press material

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