Tommaso Cappellato is an Italian musician, producer, DJ, composer and an all-around musical maverick. Having been introduced to music at an early age, he’s gone on to become an exciting and intriguing figure for jazz enthusiasts the world over. His material – ranging from free‐form hip-hop, techno, and house to pretty much any sub-genre of jazz one can conceive – has been channeled through various projects and bands, the result of which is a rich and stylistically diverse catalog of musical works.
Initially encouraged to learn classical piano, Cappellato’s musical focus took a pivot when a passion for drums was ignited at age 11. By his teenage years, this concentration caught full flame as he dove into a deepening love of the instrument, studying with two professional local drummers before leaving Italy to further his studies in New York. Time at Drummers Collective in New York City and a scholarship with New School University placed Cappellato under the tutelage of several noted musicians, including Michael Carvin, Joe Chambers, Jimmy Cobb, Bob Cranshaw, Billy Hart, and Reggie Workman. It was this fine musical foundation that nourished a seemingly unorthodox breadth of style and vision, thus creating a truly unique new school artist.
Building his jazz chops in New York while paying dues, Cappellato embraced the grind, taking on several projects to sharpen his musical vocabulary. He performed for two years six nights a week at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center as Trio65 alongside pianist Ehud Asherie and bassist Joseph Lepore. The trio made the record, Vol. 1: Music by Billy Strayhorn for Nujazzcity Records in 2001. Soon after he involved himself in collaborations with leading New York City musicians: joining Vibes Trio with vibraphonist Bill Ware and bass player Brad Jones; with the Jazz Passengers featuring artists Debbie Harry (Blondie), Marc Ribot, and Roy Nathanson; and co-founding the Brohemian hip-hop/neo-soul band with MC Yah Supreme, with whom he produced the album, Post Modern Garden.
Yet it was a stint in Senegal that Cappellato notes as the most significant part of his trajectory to this point, traveling from village to village, jamming and recording with local music masters (including Guinean percussionist and singer Salif Bangoura). It was a time where Cappellato unlocked his musical voice before bringing it all back to where his journey began, working on countless other projects, including the beginning of what would become an ongoing collaboration with pianist, producer, and DJ Mark de Clive-Lowe, performing together on a diverse number of projects both in the U.S. and Europe.
A veritable well of experience, Cappellato is a special breed. Distilling his dynamic musical journey, he debuted as a bandleader with his own quartet, releasing the album Open in 2009, later followed by his award-winning spiritual jazz project, Astral Travel, and collaborations with experimental electronica and techno artists Rabih Beaini and Donato Dozzy, and visionary Egyptian producer Maurice Louca. More recently, he presented his solo artist project Aforemention, further proving himself as the modern renaissance man, bringing together a lifetime of artistic exploration and exposure to form his own concept of jazz-informed experimental electronic soundscapes. His projects and vision have been endorsed by Gilles Peterson both on his Worldwide FM radio programs and festivals; and in 2014 Cappellato was granted the JAJ Award by Shuya Okino, acknowledging him as the year’s best new artist.