The Sicilian Jazz Orchestra (“Orchestra Jazz Siciliana”, also known by its acronym “O.J.S”) is the first and only italian permanent jazz orchestra in public participation. Founded by Ignazio Garsia in the early 70’s by the name of Brass Group Big Band. The Sicilian Jazz Orchestra had an intense and continuative concertistic activity under the guidance of some among the most prestigious conductors of the world, for example M° Tony Vella was its first stable conductor, today the band is conducted by M° Domenico Riina.
In 1990, the O.J.S. was the cornerstone of the «Rassegna Internazionale della Soul Music» (International Review of Soul Music) of Palermo and in 1991 it has performed the european premiere of the Charles Mingus’ «Epitaph» under the direction of Gunther Schuller. Regarding the execution of pages from the contemporary repertoire, O.J.S participated in ‘94 to the review “Suoni del Novecento” (“Sounds of the Twentieth Century”) promoted by “E. A. Teatro Massimo di Palermo” and in the same year directed by Clark Terry, the ensemble has inaugurated the “Stagione Concertistica Estiva” (“Summer Concert Season”) with a tribute concert to Duke Ellington on the twentieth anniversary of his death.
In february 1996, upon the invitation of the “Italian Society for the Study of Afro-american Music” (“Società Italiana per lo Studio della Musica Afroamericana”) the OJS inaugurated the review “Afro-american Cultured Music” (“La Musica Colta Afroamericana”), with the first world live performance of the transcription of the suite «Porgy And Bess» by George Gershwin/Gil Evans, newly directed by Gunther Schuller, solist Paolo Fresu.
Giuseppe Costa, Vito Giordano, Antonino Pedone, Pietro Pedone, Fabio Riina, Domenico Riina, Salvatore Pizzo and Salvatore Pizzurro guaranteed for over twenty years an orchestral sound characterized by their own recognizable sound. Then along came Gaetano Agrò, Silvio Barbara, Valerio Barrale, Salvatore Bonafede, Francesco Buzzurro, Sergio Cammalleri, Rita Collura, Stefano D’Anna, Gianni Gebbia, Massimo Greco, Pino Greco, Mimmo La Mantia, Francesco Marchese, Orazio Maugeri, Sergio Munafò, Salvatore Nania, Riccardo Randisi, Mauro Schiavone, Gaetano Tucci, Giuseppe Urso…
Sicilian Jazz Orchestra’s Staff
Gianpiero Risico Alto sax (soprano, clarinet)
Antonino Oddo Alto sax (soprano, clarinet)
Francesco Marchese Tenor sax (soprano, flute, clarinet)
Gaspare Palazzolo Tenor sax (soprano, flute, clarinet)
Antonino Pedone Bariton sax (Clarinet Bb and Bass)
Claudio Giambruno Alto sax (tenore, soprano, flauto, clarinetto)
Gaetano Agrò Alto Sax (soprano, clarinet)*
Valerio Barrale (Bass trombone)
Silvio Barbara (Soprano horn)
Faro Riina (Soprano horn)
Vito Giordano (Soprano horn)
Pietro Pedone (Soprano horn)
Aldo Oliveri (Soprano horn)*
Giacomo Tantillo (Soprano horn)*
Alberto Anguzza (Soprano horn)*
Riccardo Randisi Piano
Giuseppe Costa Contrabass and Electric bass
Sebastiano Alioto Drums
Paolo Vicari Drums
Sergio Munafò Guitar
Sergio Cammalleri Percussions
Paolo Passalacqua Piano*
Joe Gagliardo Keyboards*
Osvaldo Lo Iacono*
Fabio Crescenti Contrabass and Electric bass*
Resident Conductor & Orchestral prod. Manager
They told about us
GIL EVANS (La Sicilia, 30/04/1986)
There’s no difference between them and the orchestras I played with in Vienna, Paris, London or Toronto.
CARLA BLEY (La Sicilia, 2/03/1988)
I find these young sicilian musicians highly trained, far superior to some I met and played with in others parts of Europe.
MEL LEWIS (L’Ora, 5/05/1985)
Following this progression they will impose themselves also at european level.
GUNTHER SCHULLER (Il Mediterraneo, 28/02/1996)
It is one of the best italian orchestras.
JOSEPH BOWIE (La Repubblica, 11/12/1999)
The result has been exciting, and I hope that from this collaboration will come a disk, the next year.
BOB WILBER (La Sicilia, 3/05/1989)
It is surely among the most trained ones of Europe.
BOB BROOKMEYER (Musica Jazz, Aprile 1986)
I already heard about it, in really good terms, from John Lewis and from Mel Lewis, but I was really amazed when I personally appreciated its quality.
VINCE MENDOZA (La Sicilia, 2/03/2004)
These musicians are highly prepared, they play with a great love
TOSHIKO AKIYOSHI (Cronache, 1/06/1985)
They play really well…they have been a pleasant surprise.
MARTIAL SOLAL (19/04/2007)
I did’t that in Palermo there were musicians of such a level, for their profound knowledge of jazz and their improvizing capacity…
I’m glad I could listen to my compositions interpreted in such a wonderful way.
EUMIR DEODATO (3008/2007)
Sharing my music with the Orchestra Jazz Siciliana has been a wonderful experience, a rare ensemble wich is capable of interpretate and externalise with power and sensibility wich aren’t common in most jazz expressions.
WAYNE BERGERON (03/04/2008)
Congratulations to the Brass Group and to the Orchestra Jazz Siciliana for the great things they do. The professionality and the presentation of the Orchestra Jazz Siciliana is fantastic. Thank you for this beautiful experience.
ARCHIE SHEPP (Giornale di Sicilia, 16/12/1984)
Some of the tracks we will propose are really difficult… well they execute them with the maximal naturalness.
I have been extremely happy to play with aver suonato the OJS, an extraorinarily prepared Jazz Orchestra directed by the fantastic Domenico Riina. The concert was magic and I really hope to revive it if I come again in your wonderful city.