Nico Morelli was born in Taranto, Italy, in 1965. After graduating from the Taranto National Conservatory, he went to Rome for more advanced classical training with Aldo Ciccolini. He specialized in jazz at the Italian schools “Siena Jazz”, “Berklee School of Boston”, “Manhattan School”. His teachers included Franco D’Andrea.
In 1991, an encounter with Steve Lacy and Glenn Ferris gave rise to the album Nella Sala Delle Arcate. In the years that followed, Nico Morelli performed with Flavio Boltro, Enrico Rava, Paolo Fresu, Marc Johnson, Roberto Gatto, Bruno Tommaso, Roberto Ottaviano, Bob Mover, and Stefano D’Anna, to name a few.
In 1994, he released his first album, Behind the Window.
The following year, he earned a diploma in Jazz from the Bari Conservatory and participated in a workshop led by Paul Bley. In 1996, Nico Morelli recorded with Roberto Gatto and Marc Johnson. The Dream, the fruit of these recordings, was released in January, 1998. In early 1997, he formed the Jazz Air Trio with double bassist Paolo Ghetti and drummer Vincenzo Lanzo. For several years, the trio has performed regularly throughout Italy. At the same time, Nico Morelli continues to collaborate with other musicians, such as Roberto Gatto, Giovanni Tommaso and Paolo Fresu. Isole Senza Mari, by the Jazz Air Trio, was released in July, 1998. In May, 1999, he was awarded first prize at the ‘Viva il Jazz’ international competition in Milan. The same year, he won third prize at the “Piano Jazz à Vanves” international competition. In 2000, he won second prize in composition at the La Défense competition in Paris. In 2002, Aldo Romano invited him to participate on his album Because of Bechet (Universal Music).
Since moving to Paris in 1998, Nico Morelli has come to be known as one of the most promising jazz musicians of his generation. He is highly sought-after by the most distinguished musicians on the international scene because of his virtuosic and sensitive style, and the demand for his own groups is also increasing. He performs regularly in prestigious clubs in and outside of Paris, and is often called upon to participate in festivals in France and abroad. Yet he remains faithful to his roots and the Jazz Air Trio he formed in 1997, returning several times a year to the country that first recognized him as a great jazz talent.
Nico Morelli, who has been described by the Italian press as ” the most promising pianist in Italian jazz “, is also an inspired and talented composer.
His musical concept is based on the fusion of jazz with the sounds and classical melodies from the beginning of the 20th century. Inspired by the works of Ravel, Debussy, Fauré and Albeniz as well as Bach, his compositions are characterized by what has come to be known as a ” white ” jazz feel, comparable to Bill Evans, with his own balanced rhythm and personal sound.
In terms of improvisation, the pianist bears a resemblance to African-American pianists.
Nico Morelli has inherited the Italian jazz tradition, which lends particular significance to harmony and melody.
Nico Morelli’s compositions have that rare quality of lingering in our minds for hours after we hear them, so sensual and delicate are their melodies.
Nico Morelli, a multi-talented artist, takes us away to a world where classical lyricism meets virtuosic, original jazz improvisation. A pleasure to listen to, over and over again.
Nico Morelli’s recordings:
Behind the Window, released on the German label Y.V.P. MUSIC, with Paolino Dalla Porta, Roberto Ottaviano, 1993.
The Dream, released on the Italian label SPLASCH MUSIC, with Roberto Gatto, Marc Johnson, 1998.
Isole Senza Mari, released on the Italian label PANASTUDIO PRODUCTION, with Paolo Ghetti, Vincenzo Lanzo, 1998.
Iseo Jazz Fest, released on the label CDpm Lion, with the Jazz Air Trio, 2000.
- Morelli meets Mauro Negri, released on the label SPLASCH Records, with Mauro Negri, 2002.
Nico Morelli, released on the French label Cristal, with Aldo Romano, Stefano di Battista etc., 2003.
Participation in other recordings:
Nella Sala Delle Arcate released by the Italian label ZETEMA RECORDS, with Steve Lacy, Glenn Ferris.
Awaited Sound with Nico Catacchio, Pippo D’Ambrosio, Felice Mezzina and Paolo Fresu.
Grido released by the Italian label MAP RECORDS with Paolo Fresu.
Apaturia Quintet on the German label Y.V.P. MUSIC, with Roberto Ottaviano, Flavio Boltro.
Because of Bechet, an album with Aldo Romano, released by Universal Music.
Ambre by Michel Perez, with Sylvain Beuf, Vincent Artaud, Dedé Ceccarelli, François Chassagnite.
He has performed with numerous musicians:
Bob Mover, Enrico Rava, Giovanni Tommaso, Marco Tamburini, Paul Jeffrey, Jay Clayton, Klaus Lessman, Paolo Fresu, Marc Johnson , Aldo Romano, Michel Benita, Bruno Tommaso, etc.
He has performed with his own groups as well as other bands in key jazz clubs throughout Europe:
Alexander Platz, Rome, Tangram, Milan, Chet Baker, Bologna, Michelemmà, Naples, Onyx, Matera, in Modena, Verona, etc. At the Duc des Lombards and the Sunset in Paris, at the Travers and the Atanor in Brussels.
He has participated in several international festivals:
In Italy, in Vignola, Siena, Mola, Berchidda, Matera, Trapani, Monopoli, Taranto, Bari, Brindisi, Rome, Pavie, Tropea, Reggio Calabria, Teatro dell’Opera Rome.
In France, at the Festival de Jazz de Valenciennes, Festival “Esprit Jazz”, Auditorium St. Germain, Institut culturel Italien, Paris.
In Africa, at the Festival de Jazz de Tanger (Maroc), at the Fes-Quintal Jazz Festival (Cap Vert).
In Mexico, at “Monterrey Jazz Fest”, 2003 with Sylvain Beuf
Nico Morelli presently performs with several groups:
Duet with Sylvain Beuf (saxophone) Trio with Luc Isenmann (dr) and Marc Buronfosse (b) Trio with Aldo Romano (dr) and Stéphane Kérecki (b) Jazz Air Trio with Vincenzo Lanzo (dr) and Paolo Ghetti (b)