Dominique Di Piazza

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Dom. Di Piazza 177dDominique Di Piazza

Biography

Dominique Di Piazza was born in Lyon, France, with Sicilian ancestry and a gypsy stepfather. He started playing electric bass in 1979. After some time, he managed to free himself from the pervasive influence that Jaco Pastorius had over most bassists at the time, by creating his own style. Self-taught, he added an extra high string to his 4-string bass andcreated his own technique of using the right-hand thumb, index and middle fingers. This unique approach enabled avirtuosity and style that is quite unusual in the world of bass. A defining example is the track “Mary,” a flagship piece for solo bass from the 90s, found on the album Qué Alegría by JohnMcLaughlin. This right hand style gave birth to the “four-finger picking” technique later popularized in Europe and the US by several new-generation bassists including Matthew Garrison, Adam Nitti and Hadrien Feraud. Dominique’s great knowledge of bebop, his gypsy and neo-classical influences, his lyrical style and his advanced harmonic concept have combined to make him one of the most innovative bassists in the world today.

Dominique started his career in 1982 at the Hot Club in Lyon with guitarist Michel Pérez. In 1986 he moved to Paris and began touring with violinist Didier Lockwood, drummer André Ceccarelli and pianist Gordon Beck. The following year he toured Europe with Gil Evans and the Big Band Lumière de Laurent Cugny, a group that was immortalized on the Santander album, winner of the Prix de l’Académie Charles-Cros; and in 1989 he recorded a trio album called Padre, with Jean-Pierre Como and Stéphane Huchard.

In 1991, Dominique joined the John McLaughlin Trio along with percussionist Trilok Gurtu. After a world tour of over 300 concerts, the album Qué Alegría was released in 1992.McLaughlin was then quoted as saying of DiPiazza: “His talent is immense—he’s one of the best bassists in the world.”The same year, Dominique recorded with pianist Michel Petrucianni on the album The First, with Michel’s brother Philippe Petrucianni on guitar and Victor Jones on drums.In 2000, the Front Page Trio was created with Bireli Lagrene on guitar and Dennis Chambers on drums. They toured Europe and released a self-titled album (Front Page) that scored them a Victoire de la Musique award for Best Jazz Album of 2001.

From 1990 to 2005, Dominique worked with a wide array of artists including Michael Blass, BrunoCastellucci, Giuseppe Continenza, Vic Juris, Gene Bertoncini, Yves Carbonne, Michael Manring, Jeff Gardner, Victor Wooten, Derico Watson, Danny Gottlieb and Donald Harrison. In 2005/06 he hit the road again, this time in Reunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, and ten other African countries, with a pianist from Reunion named Meddy Gerville, guitarist Jean-Marie Ecay, and drummer Horacio“el Negro” Hernandez. This collaboration led to the JazzAmwin CD, which introduced the “Maloya Jazz” style (combining jazz with traditional music from Reunion) to a wider global audience. In 2006, Dominique went to India to record a CD (Samjanitha, 2008) with the great Indian mandolin player U. Shrinivas, as well as Debashish Bhattacharya, Selvaganesh and Zakir Hussain. Following that he played on Antonio Farao’s album, Woman’s Perfume, alongside André “Dédé” Ceccarelli on drums.

In 2008, John McLaughlin called upon Dominique’s talents once again for a European tour with The 4th Dimension, also including Gary Husband on keys and percussion, and Mark Mondésir on drums. Together the band played more than 30 concerts all across Europe. Another show featured Dominique with McLaughlin in India, in a group called The Floating Point, which included Ranjit Barot, Louis Banks, Shashank, Naveen Kumar and Shankar Mahadevan.

Around the same time, Dominique assembled the Di Piazza Trio with Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras and drummer Manhu Roche. The trio’s album, Princess Sita, was released in the USA in August of 2008.

From 2009 to 2011, Dominique criss-crossed the world with a wide variety of artists. In France, with Elene Dee and David Berkman for Lyrics on Pat Metheny’s music; in Russia with the Blues & Beyond Quartet (Sébastien Charlier, Yannick Robert and Yoann Schmidt) and the album La Danse du chat; with 4 Essential (with Thierry Maillard, Debora Seffer and Yoann Schmidt) for an album and festival shows; with Antonio Farao and André “Dédé” Ceccarelli in the electro-jazz group Synopsis with Eric Sempe and Felix Sabal Lecco, and a CD called Rebirth; in a trio with Francis Lockwood and Fred Sicard on Tribute to Hendrix; with the“Petrucciani Reunion” quartet with Philippe Petrucciani, Nathalie Blanc and Manhu Roche on the CD Este Mundo; in Spain, with Ximo Tebar, Donald Edwards and Jim Ridl; also the flamenco-jazz guitarist Chema Vilchez, with Jeff Balardand Alex Acuna; with singer Maria de Medeiros and gypsy-flamenco musician Raimundo Amador; in Turkey, with bağlama player Zeki Çağlar Namlı and on the Face to Face CD, and Buzuki Orhan Osman alongside his old friend Trilok Gurtu; in Ireland, with Mike Nielsen and PaulWertico; in Italy with Alberto Iovene and Manhu Roche on the CD Wired Along; in Norway, in a duo with guitarist Hallgeir Pedersen; in Russia with Andrei Bodnartchoukand the group Made in France; and in India with Ranjit Barot’s group which included Scott Kinsey and Tim Garland, releasing an album called Bada Boom. Dominique has also been working with a popular young gypsy guitarist named Brady Vinterstein (and his uncle Hono), and they released an album in 2011 called Happy Together.

Dominique has designed a special bridge (as well as a bass)with luthier Mike Sabre, which makes it possible to obtain a”fretless” sound on a fretted bass. This was first featured on the track “Seven Up” from the 1993 CD Wait and See byMichael Blass.

For several years, Dominique has been teaching at the Music Academy International (M.A.I.) at Nancy, France, and also gives master classes around the world. Transcriptions of his playing appear in the book Bass Soloing Concepts by ChuckSher and Marco Johnson. His composition “Living Hope” is included in The European Real Book.

 

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