Dj Rocca – electronics
For a jazz musician, sound is everything. It represents his identity and is the research ground of his whole life. If we think of Coltrane, Monk, Miles, Bill Evans, Lester Young, Ben Webster or any other jazz musician, before we think of their phrasing, of their tunes, we think of their sound, be it individually that of the groups they led. In fact, we think of them as a sound. Franco D’Andrea’s is a research on sound that goes back a long way. The electric experience with Perigeo, the exploration of the piano, all the possible timbre combinations of his groups, often with unorthodox arrangements, right up to the sound of the interval, which yes, has a structural, harmonic and melodic function, but which is ultimately a sonority, is timbre. In this work with Roccatagliati, D’Andrea plunges into abysmal depths. Nothing like electronics can investigate sound, breaking it, synthesising it, reinventing it. And that is exactly what Roccatagliati does. Added to this is D’Andrea’s exploration of the sound of intervals. But what really makes this exploration compelling is that it is alive. The electronics are not the environment, the background, the context in which the piano acts: Roccatagliati plays like a jazz musician who stimulates and responds to stimuli, and the whole performance is governed by the deepest interplay.
Franco D’Andrea meets Dj Rocca, a meeting between two absolute protagonists of the Italian music scene, two sound explorers in search of all possible connections between jazz and electronics. Attracted by an unexpected synergy, Franco D’Andrea and Dj Rocca give life to a project that unites distant passions, different generations and often distant cultural references, thanks to a unique and shared curiosity towards the infinite languages of music. It all started with a remix,’ says Franco D’Andrea, ‘on a short piano introduction of mine. I thought the work that DJ Rocca did was brilliant. Since then, I thought I would like to have him in some of my projects, but I had not yet imagined the simplest thing: meeting him in a musical dialogue for two. Each concert of this duo is a work in itself, there is no set list or reference repertoire, everything is born in the moment: riffs, intervallic sequences, polyrhythms and new timbre combinations are the result of this new encounter.
Before being a DJ and electronic music enthusiast,’ says Dj Rocca, ‘I am a jazz lover. I attended the conservatory and in my family we have always listened to ‘cultured’ music. Franco D’Andrea is for me an artist as I have always tried to be in my own small way: eclectic. The progressive Perigeo project was formative at an early age, thanks to my older brother’s listening. Later, in the ’80s, I met Franco again in my Afro days, when he played with African musicians. My artistic training then continued with a career as a DJ, also thanks to my background in black music. It is therefore a natural path today to express myself, with my attitude as an electronic musician, together with contemporary jazz artists of D’Andrea’s calibre.
But this is not the first time that D’Andrea and Rocca have met on stage. The collaboration between the two, in fact, began in 2015, following a contest organised by the Radio 2 programme Musical Box, in which a track by D’Andrea was remixed by a series of Italian producers. Among the participants was Luca Roccatagliati aka DJ Rocca, whose talent D’Andrea immediately appreciated, deciding without delay to name him the winner. Attracted by an unexpected synergy, Franco D’Andrea and dj Rocca, with the addition of saxophonist Andrea Ayassot, then formed the trio ‘Electric Tree’, also recording an album of the same name for Parco della Musica Records. The two later found themselves together again in Franco D’Andrea’s octet ‘Intervals’, also recording two double albums.
Franco D’Andrea has belonged to the leading group of Italian jazz musicians and composers for decades. Born in Merano in 1941, he recorded his first record with Gato Barbieri in ’64. These years saw the start of collaborations with many important musicians on the international scene (including Johnny Griffin, Dexter Gordon, Steve Lacy, Lee Konitz, Phil Woods, Dave Liebman etc.). At the end of the 1960s, together with Franco Tonani and Bruno Tommaso, he founded the ‘Modern Art Trio’, whose record was recently reissued on the Déjavu label. In 1972, he joined the progressive jazz group ‘Perigeo’. From the end of the 1970s he started his own ensembles, gave concerts as a soloist and began his activity as a teacher (he took part in the “Siena Jazz” seminars from their foundation to the present day, from 1993 to 2006 he taught jazz at the Conservatory of Trento, he currently teaches at the Civic Jazz Courses in Milan and conducts several master classes). He has more than 200 recordings to his credit. From the 1980s to the present day, he has several times been elected jazz musician of the year in the ‘top jazz’ issue of ‘Musica Jazz’ magazine. He was also awarded the ‘Prix du Musicien Européen 2010’ from the Academiedu Jazz de France. He has given concerts in many countries in Europe, the USA, Russia, Australia, Africa and the Far East. His music embraces the entire history and facets of jazz, with a special interest in exploring polyrhythmic and African origins.
Luca Roccatagliati aka. Dj Rocca is a producer and musician. His first works, at the end of the 1990s, were productions orbiting around drum&bass and breakbeat sounds, genres for which DJ Rocca distinguished himself as one of the Italian forerunners in the clubbing scene initially gathered under the name Maffia Soundsystem, from the Italian club of the same name. DJ Rocca has collaborated with Howie B, Pressure Drop, ZedBias, Dimitri From Paris, Daniele Baldelli and Jazzanova, producing singles, remixes and albums for some of Europe’s best labels, from Sonar Kollektiv to Skint via Defected, Toy Tonics, Rekids and other small but influential European and US cult labels. Together with the legendary Dimitri From Paris, Dj Rocca created the electro-disco project Erodiscotique, with some tracks frequently ending up in the sets of some of the world’s most famous DJs, Bob Sinclar above all. He has remixed the likes of Andrew Weatherall, Luke Solomon, Blaze, Isolee, Justin Robertson, Bjorn Torske, Chris Coco, Dimitri From Paris. He also owns his own record label, Danny Was A Drag King, through which he selects and produces some of the most talented artists on the European scene. As a producer, DJ Rocca is also part of the projects Ajello (with Taver), Supersonic Lovers (with Marcello Giordani) and Crimea X (with Jukka Reverberi). In 2010, with the project DJ Rocca and 5th Suite, he topped the Brazilian charts with his hit ‘Party Bobba’. His performances have taken him from the US to Japan, from China to Brazil, as well as to many countries in Europe and Turkey.
Luca Roccatagliati is a member of the free jazz-dub combo Obsolete Capitalism.