Roberta Gambarini

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Roberta Gambarini
Roberta Gambarini.jpg
Photo by Ed Newman
Background information
Born Torino, Italy
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Voice

Roberta Gambarini is an Italian jazz singer. She was born in Turin, Italy, and started taking clarinet lessons at age twelve. She made her singing debut at age seventeen in jazz clubs around Northern Italy, then moved to Milan, where she worked in radio and television and began recording under her own name in 1986. In 1998, two weeks after arriving in the United States with a scholarship from the New England Conservatory of Music, she was awarded a third place finish in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition. She left Boston for New York City to find work in jazz clubs. She got her big break in 2006 with the release of her album "Easy to Love," which caught the attention of jazz critics. Taking a classic modern jazz album by Dizzy Gillespie ("Sonny Side Up," Verve, 1957), she sang each of the three intricate solos by undisputed masters of the idiom (trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and tenor saxophonists Sonny Stitt and Sonny Rollins) executing each in the original register of horn (including Rollins' lowest notes and Gillespie's stratospheric ones) with such command, accuracy and ease of execution that jazz' elder statesman, nonagenarian pianist Hank Jones was moved to publicly proclaim her the "best new jazz vocalist to come along in fifty years".

International career[edit]

Gambarini moved to the United States in 1998. That same year she was a semi-finalist at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Vocal Competition, finishing in third place.

Gambarini has performed with many major jazz artists such as Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, and Toots Thielemans, touring worldwide.

In 2004, she started touring with the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band, performing with James Moody, Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath, Paquito d'Rivera, Roy Hargrove and others.

In 2006 and 2007 she toured with her own trio, as well as the Hank Jones trio.

2006 saw Gambarini singing at the premiere of Dave Brubeck's commissioned piece for the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Cannery Row Suite, which got Gambarini rave reviews.

In 2006, the Groovin High label released Roberta's American debut album, "Easy to Love," nominated as Best Jazz Album at Grammy Awards 2007. In January 2007 she was nominee as Best Jazz Singer at the Italian Jazz Awards - Luca Flores.

In June 2007 Gambarini performed two nights in the annual Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Fest with James Moody and Roy Hargrove.

Early in 2008 Gambarini released a CD You Are There, a collaboration with Hank Jones on piano. In support of the new release the two are making appearances at various venues. The album was followed by another, So in Love (2009), featuring Gambarini with a small jazz combo.

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