Classical music’s loss was jazz’s gain in 1979, when Pietro Tonolo gave up a career as a classical violinist to become a jazz sax player. Around that time, he moved to Milan, where he played with some of Italy’s best jazz musicians, including Franco D’Andrea, Luigi Bonafede, Larry Nocella, Massimo Urbani, Rita Marcotulli and Enrico Rava.

In 1982, Tonolo joined the Gil Evans Orchestra, playing with notable musicians as Steve Lacy, Lew Soloff and Ray Anderson. He later went on to perform in jazz clubs and on radio and television around Europe and the USA, both as a sideman and as a leader with his own band. He was a steady member of the Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band from 1999 to 2004. Other notable collaborators have included the likes of Kenny Clarke, Roswell Rudd, Sal Nistico, Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, John Surman, Steve Swallow, Gil Goldstein, Barry Altschul, Joe Chambers, Henri Texier, Aldo Romano, Kenny Wheeler, Eliot Zigmund and Tony Oxley.

Besides Jazz, Tonolo has been collaborating with contemporary musicians and ensemble (‘Ex Novo Ensemble’, ‘Laboratorio Novamusica’, ‘Nex Time Ensemble’, ‘Sentieri Selvaggi’, ‘Orchestra d’archi Italiana’, sax quartet ‘Arundo Donax’). Is currently teaching at the Conservatory of Vicenza and Siena Jazz international masterclasses.

Pietro Tonolo

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