Italian saxophonist Enzo Avitabile went from being a noted sideman to blazing his own trail in the new millennium fusing traditional Italian music with progressive, new ideas.
Born in Naples in 1955, Avitabile began studying sax as early as age seven. His musical path led him to conservatory, where he would gain an education in both contemporary and traditional musical techniques. Throughout the early '80s Avitabile worked as a sideman, backing up the most famous names in pop music. In the 20 years that he logged as a musician-for-hire, Avitabile was solicited by musical greats like James Brown, Richie Havens, Tina Turner, hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa, and more. At the dawn of the new century, Avitabile sought a new direction for his musical career. Harnessing the centuries-old musical power of the Bottari tradition, where percussionists made huge drums out of wine vats, Avitabile created a powerful and unique ensemble. Through performances on renown stages like the Womad world music festival and high praise for the group's debut record, Save the World, Enzo Avitabile and Bottari gained significant attention from folk and progressive music audiences. Drawing on southern Italian and north African musical concepts, Avitabile gained a reputation as a musical innovator and cultural historian. The band's second record, Festa Farina e Forca (2007), enjoyed a lasting presence on World Music Charts Europe. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez, Rovi