Marco Bittelli is a jazz guitarist signed to the Pacific Coast Jazz label who writes original compositions. His music has been reviewed and featured on radio stations and in jazz publications, including All About Jazz, Jazz Times, All Music and Jazz Italia. He has released three albums: Libera, Alba and Andrea.
Libera, Marco’s first CD, features original compositions recorded in the Pacific Northwest with Horace Young, Charles Argersinger, David Snider, David Jarvis and Ruth Boden.
“Marco Bittelli concentrates on the good feeling vibrations of life on his recording Libera. Its escapist jazz dressed to the nine’s. The Italian-born Bittelli shows many world music influences in his tracks supported by Mediterranean-dance rhythms and overtones of smooth jazz. Libera is an album that injects fumes of solace in the listener’s mind and permeates warmth in every note.” Susan Frances, JazzTimes, September 2009.
“Ruota idealmente attorno alla title track questo lavoro di Marco Bittelli, chitarrista bolognese da anni residente alternativamente in America: una traccia breve, per sola chitarra, nella quale Bittelli espone con semplicità il sensibile lirismo mediterraneo che nel resto del lavoro sviluppa assieme ai suoi partner, mescolandovi la loro ben diversa tradizione musicale e culturale...” All about Jazz
“Mediterranean music — that is, music from Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal or Malta — has been a valuable part of world music. And it is a positive influence for Marco Bittelli on Libera. The Italian jazz guitarist/composer doesn’t always incorporate Mediterranean elements on this 2007 recording, but when he does, it is a definite plus. It should be noted that even though post-bop is Libera’s orientation, Bittelli doesn’t use acoustic instruments exclusively. Instead, he favors a combination of acoustic and electric instruments, employing Horace Alexander Young on tenor sax and flute, Charles Argersinger on acoustic piano and electric keyboards, David Snider on acoustic and electric bass, Ruth Boden on cello, and David Jarvis on drums. But the presence of some electric instruments doesn’t really take Libera into fusion or jazz-funk territory; Bittelli pretty much maintains a post-bop outlook on this 42-minute CD, which demonstrates that using electric instruments doesn’t necessarily mean that an improviser is going to be greatly affected by rock or funk. From the selections that have a Mediterranean or Latin influence to the ones that don’t, Libera is a creative success for the Bologna-born guitarist”. All music
Alba, his second CD, was recorded with Gregory Yasinitsky, Vern Sielert, Brian Ward, David Snider, David Jarvis, Stefano Bittelli, David Hagelganz, Jake Burton. As with the first CD, Bittelli chose to record the melodies of his compositions on a variety of instruments, not just his guitar. “When I compose a song, even before writing down the music, I often hear the instrument that it should play the melody,” Bittelli said. “Sometimes it is a guitar, but sometimes it is a horn. The most important element for me is staying true to the first feelings and atmosphere that inspired the composition.” Alba was influenced by the diversity of blended rhythms and sounds of South American music.
“The tune Sambando was inspired by the sound of the Samba as played in Brazil with the cavaquinho, a small string instrument of the European guitar family with four strings. It is often played with simple, repetitive melodies with a staccato rhythm, utilizing the guitar more as a percussive instrument rather than a melodic one. ”
“Ritorno (return) is written as a slow Zamba, a popular Argentinean rhythms that incorporate guitars, voices and an Argentinean drum known as bombo which is a double headed drum popular throughout the Andean region. Instead of a voice, often used to sing the Zamba songs, the tenor sax playes a long tone melody with a vocal feel.”
“Barcelona is dedicated to a city I love. Here we blended the sound of a nylon strings guitar, typical of the Spanish guitar style, with the sound of a flugelhorn.”
Andrea is his third release with Pacific Coast Jazz. In this recording, the Italian musician presents original compositions where the melodic Italian tradition are written over Latin American rhythms such as Bossa Nova, Habanera and Samba. The result is an original mix of limpid, slow to up-tempo pieces filled with romanticism and lyricism.
Italian guitarist and composer Davide Brillante contributes with unique arrangements of “Che Rumba,” while a series of excellent guest musicians played on the album, including Gregory Yasinitsky on tenor and alto sax, Ann Yasinitsky on flute, Brian Ploeger on trumpet and flugelhorn, Brian Ward on piano, David Snider on double bass, and David Jarvis on drums and percussions. Vincenzo De Franco (cello) and Dimitri Sillato (piano) add their own touch on “Jibacoa.” Vern Sielert adds a jazz voice on trumpet on “An afternoon with Charles.”