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Jazz Piano

Three European pianists: Michel Petrucciani, Tete Montoliu & Antonio Farao

Michel Petrucciani

This French pianist was born in 1962 in Orange.

He had a French mother and his Italian father was a jazz guitarist who clearly inspired his children, because Michel’s older brother Louis became a bass player.

Michel was born with the disease ‘Osteogenesis Imperfecta’ and as a result he had very brittle bones and remained very small. (He was just under a metre tall and had a piano with raised pedals that was built especially for him)

He started playing the piano at the age of four and according to his parents he was humming solos by guitarist Wes Montgomery before he could even speak.

He became a great admirer of Bill Evans from a very young age. Evans’ influence on him can be heard clearly in his harmonics, but the style he developed throughout his career, in which his southern temperament was clearly audible, was very distinct.

He died in 1999 when he was 36 years old from a lung infection but fortunately leaves an extensive oeuvre.


Spanish pianist Tete Montoliu was born in Barcelona in 1933 and was blind from birth.

He learned to read Braille music at the age of 7 and attended the Conservatori Superior de Música of Barcelona from 1946 to 1953, where he studied classical piano.

Al tijdens die periode begon hij op sessies jazz te spelen, waarbij zijn grote inspiratie de, eveneens blinde, pianist Art Tatum was

This is where he first started playing jazz sessions, greatly inspired by fellow blind pianist Art Tatum.

While vibraphonist Lionel Hampton was touring Spain in 1956, he heard Montoliu at such a session and asked him to join his band. They toured Spain and Portugal and that was the beginning of a very successful career, which lasted until his death in 1997.


Last but not least: Antonio Farao.

This Italian pianist was born in Rome in 1965.

He grew up listening to jazz (his father was a drummer) and in his youth listened to the bands of Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, but also to vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.

He started playing vibraphone at six years old, switched to drums and finally settle on the piano.

He received his (classical) training at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Rome.

Before he made his debut album in 1999, he had already won numerous international competitions, including the Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition in 1998, which is only held once every 4 years!



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