Launched in 2021, this project sees its members immerse themselves in jazz standards, each completely reimagined with a modern touch, drawing influences from Afro, Blues, and Traditional genres, while also daring to explore the realm of Free Jazz. Besides the conventional jazz repertoire, the ensemble presents original compositions, tailored specifically to the band’s unique configuration, with an aim to preserve and cultivate a distinct sonic identity. This serves to weave a musical narrative through the diverse tracks featured on the album. The album itself is named ‘Virgilius’, after a track dedicated to the illustrious figure of Dante Alighieri. This piece was penned in honour of the seven-hundredth anniversary of his passing, and it made its debut at the esteemed JACI&JAZZ festival in Acireale.
Leonardo Ragaglia (Tenor Sax & Flute), Marco Bella (Alt Sax), Alessandro Borgia (Percussion), Stefano Cardillo (Double bass)
Charles (Jr) Mingus
(b Nogales, AZ, 22 April 1922; d Cuernavaca, Mexico, 5 Jan 1979). American jazz double bass player, pianist, composer and bandleader.
Francesco Miniaci is a virtuoso pianist from Calabria, Italy, whose musical journey has been steeped in both classical and jazz traditions. He graduated in Piano at the F. Torrefranca Conservatory of Vibo Valentia in 2008 under the old system, demonstrating an early mastery of classical music. His passion for jazz led him to further his studies, culminating in a I Level Degree in Jazz Piano from the P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music in Nocera Terinese in 2020, where he graduated with honors and a special mention.
Since 2021, Miniaci has been sharing his expertise and passion for Jazz Piano as a professor at the P.I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory, inspiring the next generation of musicians.
Miniaci's concert career is as rich and varied as his educational background. He has performed in approximately 100 concerts across Italy and internationally. As the Permanent Pianist of the CJO at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Miniaci has showcased his incredible talent on a regular basis. He has also participated in workshops held by renowned musicians such as Kenny Barron, John Hicks, Roscoe Mitchell, Uri Caine, Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Mintzer, George Cables, Francesco Cafiso, and Greg Burk.
Miniaci's love for Thelonious Monk led him to record a solo piano album dedicated to the iconic musician. This album, released by Dodici Lune in February 2021, further established his place in the jazz scene. He also recorded for Radio Rai with the CJO, featuring Francesco Cafiso at the Mediterranean Festival in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons, sharing the stage with Javier Girotto.
As an author, Miniaci has contributed two texts on piano technique, published by Utterson S.R.L, adding to his versatile career in music. His collaborations with national jazz scene luminaries such as Piero Cusato, Francesco Cafiso, Stefano Di Battista, Simona Molinari, Rosario Giuliani, Javier Girotto, Nico Gori, and Tony Cattano speak to his stature and respect within the industry.
In recognition of his remarkable talent, Miniaci was awarded the 2021 National Arts Award as Best Performer. The award ceremony took place at the prestigious Verdi hall of the G. Verdi Conservatory in Milan, a fitting location to celebrate his musical achievements.
(b Newark, NJ, 25 Aug 1933). American jazz tenor and soprano saxophonist and composer. He began playing the clarinet at the age of 16, then changed to the tenor saxophone. From 1952 he studied music at New York University (1956, BME) and played in a local band. He performed briefly with Horace Silver in 1956 before being drafted, and in 1958 he joined Maynard Ferguson’s group, in which he first met Joe Zawinul. Shorter then began an important association with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (1959–64), ultimately serving as the band’s music director. After a brief period of rest and work on his own recordings he joined Miles Davis’s quintet in September 1964. He remained with the group until 1970, taking up the soprano saxophone in late 1968 as Davis experimented with electronic instruments and new ensembles, though during the same period he recorded regularly as a leader. Late in 1970, with Zawinul, he founded Weather Report, which the two men continued to lead into the 1980s. Shorter also recorded an acclaimed album presenting Milton Nascimento (1974) and returned to acoustic jazz when he toured and recorded with Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Freddie Hubbard and Tony Williams as V.S.O.P. (1976–7). From the mid-1970s he has devoted his time equally to playing tenor and soprano saxophones. In 1985 he greatly reduced his activities with Weather Report, concentrating instead on recording, making international tours with his new group and appearing in reunion concerts with many of his colleagues from the 1960s, most notably Hancock. He also performed in the film Round Midnight (1986). In 1988, with Carlos Santana, he led a Latin jazz-rock group which toured internationally. He toured further with Hancock in the 1990s.