Roberto Spadoni
Suite for Jazz Orchestra
Freely inspired by
Pictures at an Exhibition
(by Modest Mussorgsky)
Pictures in Jazz is an orchestral suite of original pieces built on jazz re-elaborations of thematic and harmonic fragments from Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky, a brilliant and tormented - today we would say damned - and extraordinarily modern musician. His almost rock star-like appearance and his work have fascinated musicians of all generations, including the famous British band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, who dedicated a famous album to him. The music of this great nineteenth-century Russian composer offers great scope for jazz reinterpretation: on the other hand, Roberto Spadoni is no stranger to such musical adventures. He has elaborated two jazz versions of Sergei Prokofiev's Pierino e il Lupo, the first of which can be seen on the CD Pierino, il Lupo e altre Cantastorie published by Onyxjazzclub label (ONYX 018 - 2006), presenting the project live several times in various Italian jazz festivals with prestigious reciting voices. He also elaborated the orchestration and arrangement for jazz orchestra of George Gershwin's 3 Preludes for Piano commissioned by the Orchestra of the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza and performed as part of the New Conversation In Jazz - Vicenza Jazz festival, and as part of the event dedicated to Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin born from the collaboration of two prestigious institutions such as Siena Jazz and Accademia Chigiana.

Pictures in Jazz was commissioned by the 2009 Vicenza New Conversation International Festival and was presented for the first time at that event in the performance of the Orchestra of the Consortium of Veneto Conservatories, with the participation of important Italian jazz soloists (Fabio Petretti, Pietro Tonolo, Marco Tamburini, Roberto Rossi, Paolo Birro, Alfred Kramer). The writing is inspired by the modern jazz orchestral language, in the sign of the encounter between the Afro-American tradition and the great heritage of European music, with a wide-ranging look at the search for new forms and new sounds.

The following short videos show parts of the orchestral scores. The sound is rather sparse, being videos generated by the Sibelius music notation software: articulations and accents have been adapted to give an idea of the music, and parts of the rhythm section have been developed in order to provide listening support in these videos.
Roberto Spadoni (10 December 1963 - Rome, Italy) is a versatile jazz musician, active in many fields: guitarist, composer, arranger, conductor, teacher, populariser, writer.

He has realised many projects for small and medium ensembles and for jazz orchestras as conductor, arranger and guitarist, including a homage to Henry Mancini (recently released by the "Parco della Musica Record" label in Rome), the jazz reinterpretation of Peter and the Wolf (staged first with John de Leo and later with Francesco di Giacomo and with Elio), Charles Mingus (various CDs and concerts with many guest soloists including Miguel Zenon, Fabrizio Bosso, Achille Succi) George Gershwin's Prelude & Song (performed with Siena Jazz and Accademia Chigiana and with soloists Giovanni Falzone, Antonio Caggiano and David Krakauer), Thelonious Monk (the Sphere CD with the New Project Orchestra of Trento and Bolzano, with Fabrizio Bosso), Gerry Mulligan & Chet Baker Tribute (with various orchestras and Ronnie Cuber, Marco Tamburini, Paolo Fresu and Javier Girotto as guest soloists), the original production "Tre Passi nel Delirio" in the context of Rumori Mediterranei - Roccella Jonica (conducted together with Kenny Wheeler, with the participation of Danilo Rea, Maurizio Giammarco, Cinzia Spata, Mariapia de Vito and others) and a tribute to Charlie Parker with the New Project Orchestra soon to be published.

He has published many CDs as leader, conductor, arranger and guitarist with various record labels: Parco della Musica Records, Splasc(h) Records, Via Veneto Jazz,
Onyx Jazz Club, Wide Sound, ABeat Records, Alfamusic, Jazzit Recodrs,
Cose Sonore - Alman Music.
In addition to those already mentioned, he has also collaborated with: David Liebman, Gunther Schuller, Maria Schneider, Dave Weckel, Hiromi Uehara, Eliot Zigmund,
Bruno Tommaso, Gianluigi Trovesi, James Newton, and many others.

He directed the M.J.Ùrkestra (Rome) for ten years, producing and releasing four CDs.
He was awarded prizes in the main Jazz Orchestra Composition Competitions in Italy (Barga Jazz, Scrivere in Jazz - Sassari, Rumori Meditrranei - Roccella Jonica).

He currently holds the chair of Jazz Composition at the Conservatorio Licinio Refice in Frosinone, and is a teacher at the prestigious institution Siena Jazz University,
where he is also educational coordinator and has been conducting the
Siena Jazz Orchestra since 2011.
He has taught in the Jazz Departments of the Music Conservatories of Trento, Adria, Benevento, Ferrara, Cosenza, Perugia and Bologna.
He has taught at important national seminars including: Chieti in jazz, Siena Jazz, Isolajazz, Arquatojazz, Otranto Jazz, Stintino Jazz; he also holds popular masterclasses collaborating with private institutions and jazz festivals.

He has published for the publisher Volontè & Co. (Milan, Italy) two important didactic treatises used in many conservatories and music schools in Italy entitled Jazz Harmony 1 & 2; for the same publisher he edited the Italian translation of some of the most important international texts on jazz composition and arrangement by Berklee Press and Advance Music for the Jazz Theory series, of which he is coordinator.