Drummer, percussionist, composer

Giampaolo Ascolese began to play drums at a very young age and went on collaborating with almost all well known Italian jazz musicians. Since 1970, his most important collaborations have been those with Mario Schiano, Tommaso Vittorini, Claudio Fasoli, Massimo Urbani, Eddy Palermo, Enrico Pieranunzi, Nunzio Rotondo, Enzo Scoppa, Michele Ascolese, Dario Lapenna, Mauro Zazzarini, Rodolfo Rossi, Gerardo Iacoucci, Renato Sellani and Nicola Arigliano. He participated in many International Jazz Festivals, national and international tours, prime time national TV shows about Jazz and recordings.

In 1980, he enrolled in the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, attending a specialization course. At this time he had the chance to play with local musicians in concerts and he passed his exams with excellent marks. Back to Italy, he joined in the Enrico Pierannunzi’s “Space Jazz Trio”; they played in many festivals all around Italy and recorded a CD published by CAM.

At the same time he became a member of Nunzio Rotondo’s quintet. The artists have been often invited as guests of honor in numerous TV shows broadcasted by national channels (Rai 1 and Rai 2) and participated in “Umbriajazz 1987” as a high-profile group performing in the Giardini del Frontone (Perugia).

He graduated from the Conservatory of Music “A.Casella” in L’Aquila (Italy), in Percussion Instruments, tutored by Maestro Gianluca Ruggieri. It was the beginning of his present career of classic-contemporary percussionist. He recorded as a timpanist and drummer the soundtracks by Evan Lurie for three movies of Roberto Benigni (Il Piccolo Diavolo, Johnny Stecchino and Il Mostro). At the time he was also carrying out his activity of marimba player in solo concerts of contemporary music.

These are the years of his collaboration with the great Leo De Berardinis, actor and author of contemporary theatre, performing as a percussionist in numerous plays in Italy.
As a percussionist he also recorded many soundtracks for Sergio Leone’s movies, by Ennio Morricone, Louis Bakalov and Nicola Piovani.

Giampaolo Ascolese has output 76 albums and CDs, where he plays in collaborations, as guest artist and solo recordings.
He played with about 60 great American jazzmen during their journeys in Italy, among them Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, Barney Kessel, Don Cherry, Lou Bennet, Gary Bartz, Bobby Watson, Roland Hanna, Christian Escoudè, Jack Walrath, Sal Nistico Hurbie Green, Steve Grossman, Art Farmer, Johnny Griffin, Ray Briant, Curtis Fuller, Kay Winding. He was and is still the drummer of the American pianist Mike Melillo. Ascolese has recorded with him six albums and CDs, one of them with Chet Baker. He has also recorded with Steve Grossman, Lou Bennett, Sal Nistico, Lee Konitz e Gary Smulyan.

Ascolese performed as a drummer with international classical musicians: Rino Vernizzi (first bassoon in the Symphony Orchestra of Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome), with whom has made six CDs; the flautist Giorgio Zagnoni, with whom has played at Carnagie Hall (New York), in international tours, in important Italian theatres and has recorded two CDs performing French composer Claude Bolling’s music and one CD playing Astor Piazzolla’s compositions.

Giampaolo Ascolese has often toured the world performing in Switzerland, France, Germany, USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Spain, Poland, Great Britain, Luxemburg, Macedonia, Jordan, Malta, Argentine, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Mexico.

In the field of popular music, he has played with Francesco De Gregori, Nini Rosso, Renato Carosone, Renzo Arbore, Gino Paoli, Nicola Arigliano, Sergio Endrigo. The 20 years collaboration with Nicola Arigliano has to be mentioned; they worked together in six albums, many concerts and TV shows, in Sanremo 2003 as special guests, and they were awarded the “Premio Tenco ‘95” with the Arigliano’s CD “I Sing Ancora”.

Since 2000, he has an overactive work with Dario Lapenna and Gianluca Renzi in a trio formation, carrying out “Couleur Musique”, a multimedial project that, from 2003, has extended and improved through the collaboration of  the “Laboratorio Teatro Orvieto”.

He is also engaged in a busy educational activity. Giampaolo Ascolese has been the first drum teacher at “Scuola Popolare di Musica del Testaccio” in 1976 and then has been teaching for ten years at the School of Music in Latina, and carrying out two international workshops at Sabaudia.

It is 30 years that he has a periodical appointment to teach at the “St. Louis Jazz Academy” (Rome) jazz drums and ensemble music and he had a three years chair in the “Università della Musica” (Rome).

He wrote two books published by “Setticlavio” (Salerno). One is totally devoted to the study of jazz drumming and the other to the study of rhythmic solfeggio for jazz musician.

From 1999 to 2001, he was columnist in the monthly magazine “Percussioni”, with a very popular feature in Italy (“Suoniamo le melodie degli standards con la batteria”) that was a review of jazz standards for drums.

Giampaolo Ascolese is mentioned not only in many papers and jazz specialized magazines, but also has been interviewed for many of them as  “Percussioni” (two interviews), Jazzit”, “Musica Jazz”, “Jazz Magazine”, as well as newspapers (“Paese Sera” and “Il Tempo”). He is also mentioned in the Enciclopedia Mondiale del Jazz (World Encyclopedia of Jazz) published by Curcio.

He has made eleven CDs as leader and five CDs result of collective projects. With his trio Jazzonline he won third place of the international competition T.I.M. (Torneo di Musica Internazionale) among 2500 professional music groups coming from all over the world.

In year 2000, he got his second diploma from the Conservatory of Frosinone tutored by Maestro Gerardo Jacoucci, in Composition and Jazz Orchestration.
In 2002, he composed music for a Canadian short film, about Ulysses life, directed by Simon Pernollèt.

In 2005 with Nicola Arigliano, he took part in the Sanremo Festival, winning the “Premio della Critica” (Critical Award).
In 2006 he was engaged by the Accademia di S. Cecilia (Musical Academy of Santa Cecilia) to perform a concert series as symphonic percussionist and from the Istituzione Sinfonica Abruzzese (Symphonic Institution of Abruzzo) as drummer for three tours. In 2006 he was appointed as professor of jazz drums and ensemble music for the jazz groups at the “Licinio Refice di Frosinone” Conservatory.

In 2007 Giampaolo Ascolese was invited with his multimedial project “Let it Be….atles” for the 40th  anniversary of “Sgt Pepper’s” record of the Beatles. The celebration was organized by the Mayor of Rome Walter Veltroni in the Auditorium Parco della Musica (Rome), together with many other international artists.Sir Paul Mc Cartney stated in a live broadcast that this event was “the most beautiful of the celebrations made worldwide”.

The same year, Ascolese performed as symphonic percussionist and jazz drummer, together with international famous solo musicians, the National Opening Night of Astor Piazzolla’s “Maria De Buenos Aires” in Saint Vincent, garnering rave reviews.

In November 2007 he was invited to take his multimedial projects, Couleur Musique” and “Let it Be…atles”, by the Italian Consulate of Recife (Brazil) to perform two concerts, the first at the “S. Isabel” Theatre and the other at Recife University, and to hold a Seminar on Jazz music.