GIANMARIA TESTA only U.S. appearance set for May 25 at Joe’s Pub;

Italian singer-songwriter joins jazz trumpeter PAOLO FRESU for rare duet;

Concert follows U.S. release of “Lampo” CD

On May 25th, Gianmaria Testa will make one of his rare live appearances in NYC for a performance at Joe’s Pub. The singer/songwriter/guitarist from Italy whose career actually launched in France will be joined by esteemed jazz trumpet player Paolo Fresu for a special duet concert.

The evening will feature an intimate program of Testa’s compositions, both old and new, with special emphasis on the songs from the singer’s newest U.S. release “Lampo” (Chante du Monde/Harmonia Mundi USA). The title of the new CD alludes to both lightning and the flash of a camera: a luminous instant, short-lived, but leaving an indelible trace in one’s memory. The image perfectly captures Testa’s specific magic: the micro-stories of everyday people and things that take on new dimensions in a flash of light.

Testa’s warm, dusky voice tells stories of wind and memories, earth and fog, objects that soar from one horizon to another, poetics meditations on leaving home, and all of them exercises in the great and the particular. His music is personal and richly melodic, flecked with accents of tango, bossa nova, habañera and jazz, but as spare and essential as a pencil sketch, imparting great beauty with simplicity and directness.

Since his start in the early 1990’s, Testa’s fan base has expanded from France to Italy and eventually throughout Europe. His growing reputation in the U.S. has resulted from CD releases on the Chante du Monde imprint that include “La Valse d’un Jour/Il Valzer di un Giorno” [2001], “Altre Latitudini” 2004], and “Extra-Muros” [2005].

Yet for all his growing success as a master of the musical portrait, the singer-songwriter has held on to his day job as a train station master in Italy. And his two decades of railway work truly infuses his art, with the emphasis on the passing of time, and his talent for capturing the quiet moment.

Gianmaria (pron. Gee-AN-mah-REE-ah) is joined for this special concert by Paolo Fresu, a fixture on the jazz scene in Italy. In addition to being the artistic director of jazz festivals in Berchidda and Nuoro, the trumpeter also performs more than 200 concerts each year, including guest appearances with major jazz orchestras throughout Europe.

GIANMARIA TESTA (guitar, vocals) with PAOLO FRESU (trumpet)
Sunday May 25, 2008
7:30 pm
Joe’s Pub 425 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003

GIANMARIA TESTA Born near Cuneo (in Italy’s Piedmont region) into a family of farmers , Gianmaria Testa taught himself to play guitar and wrote his first songs as soon as he learned his first chords. Following winning the first prize at the Recanati Festival for emerging singer-songwriters, he released his first CD, Montgolfières, on Label Bleu in Europe (1995).

On the heels of Montgolfière’s superb reviews, Gianmaria made his February 1996 début at Paris’s New Morning jazz club. He showed himself to be an artist of great presence, and he was quickly “adopted” by French jazz fans. His second album, Extra-muros, was released in 1996 on Tôt ou Tard, Warner France’s new label devoted to songwriters. The driving rhythms of jazz, lively fanfares, piano solos, sudden silences: they all served to emphasize Gianmaria’s sincerity and his subtle, elegant way of telling tales of melancholy and quiet joy.

In February 1997, five months after the release of Extra-muros, Gianmaria performed at the legendary l’Olympia in Paris. The engagement marked a key moment in his young career, which, in the space of two years, saw him go from being a completely unknown Italian singer-songwriter to making a chance début in France to becoming a runaway success.

Thanks to his appearance at the Olympia, the Italian press finally began to take note of Gianmaria: critics were first surprised, then unanimous in hailing this important new voice in the Italian singer-songwriter tradition.

In February 1999 Gianmaria released his third CD: Lampo, recorded in Italy and France. The title alludes to both lightning and the flash of a camera: a luminous instant, short-lived, but leaving an indelible trace in one’s memory. Lampo is a disc of micro-stories, of everyday people and things that take on surprising dimensions: lovers in Rome, the moon, chestnut trees, chalk dust left on doorsteps to mark the steps of visitors... Once again, critics were unanimous in welcoming a magnificent album, alive with a quiet, gentle swing, seemingly suspended in a dimension outside of time, “lunar” and earthy at the same time. Lampo has reached platinum status in Europe, and in early 2008 was finally released in the U.S.

Prior releases in the U.S. also include Altre latitudini and Extra-muros, both on (Le Chant du Monde/Harmonia Mundi USA.


2006 - DA QUESTA PARTE DEL MARE - Harmonia Mundi - Le chant du Monde 2005 - -EXTRA-MUROS Harmonia Mundi - Le chant du Monde
2004 - MONTGOLFIèRES Harmonia Mundi - Le chant du Monde
2003 - ALTRE LATITUDINI - Harmonia Mundi - Le chant du Monde
2000 - IL VALZER DI UN GIORNO - Harmonia Mundi - Le chant du Monde - EGEA


“A few performers – Caetano Veloso, Baaba Maal, Chava Alberstein, Cheb Mami come immediately to mind -- deliver a message that reaches beyond the literal meanings of the words. Add Gianmaria Testa to the list.”

“He sings in a low burnished voice that recalls his fellow countryman Paolo Conte, and his arrangement bridge the gap between small-group swing and acoustic guitar balladeering, vividly framing his voice and adding a lovely Itlaian folk melodocism to his songs.”

“The songs are full of weathered romanticism, tango, jazz and darkened skies”
NEW YORK TIMES Nov 13, 2005

“Testa seemed to reach out and embrace the crowd with his hoarse whisper, tracing a plain-spoken ballad of love borne without bombast, like a handkerchief tucked away in a pocket.”