Paolo RADONI arrived at an early age to Belgium, where he was educated and lived ever since. Having been exposed to various cultures and having studied (at the European School), Paolo was in the first place a highly educated European, multi-lingual of vast culture and a very open mind. Being a fine musician who writes a very refined music just falls in to complete the image of man of equilibrium in culture and art.
His initial encounter with Jazz was through the family collection of 78 rpm's which included the great fame of the era, Louis Armstrong, Erroll Garner, Lena Horne, George Gershwin.
He made it to the scene already at an early age, being part of the boys' choir in primary school and followed, at age 12, as a self taught guitar player and singer with a popular group at that time.
At age 15 he tries his hand at the electric guitar with jazz tunes and hits of the leading groups of that time: Shadows, Beatles, Rolling Stones. However, jazz continued to prevail. Having attended concerts by Thelonious Monk, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Jimmy Smith, Dizzy Gillespie had great influence, Miles Davis & John Coltrane became a passion.
At 17 he discovered the Bossa Nova of which the influence can be detected in his development toward a mature jazz musician.
There was for him, however, a detour via Rock music, before steering back towards mainstream and modern jazz.
Blues-Rock had an attraction for him and his eagerness for expression during that intensive and creative atmosphere that swept the late 60ties.
And so, by the end of 1968, Paolo Radoni made his professional debut as musician with a Jazz-Rock group, "Here and Now" (with Marc Hollander on keyboards) combining free improvisation with rock rhythms and sounds.
Follow 3 years of intense activity with his own group and as a member of two other top Belgian groups "Kleptomania" and "Arkam" (with Jean-Luc Manderlier on keyboards), a band reminiscent of Soft Machine.
His 'romance' with Rock music lasted for few years but after some apprenticeship and woodshedding, in 1975 Paolo was back into jazz, performing and recording with Belgian pianist and percussionist Chris JORIS and South African bass player Johnny DYANI.
Paolo RADONI devoted himself exclusively to jazz in the following decades. He toured most European countries as well as Canada, Japan and Africa. His musical career gave him the opportunity to play with well known soloists like a.o. Lee KONITZ, Joe Lee WILSON, Johnny DYANI, Joe LOVANO, Rachel GOULD,
Perry ROBINSON, Riccardo DEL FRA, Francis VARIS, Paolo FRESU,...He was involved in numerous collaborations, such as the Hommage (tribute) to René Thomas, Paul Dubois's Sweet Substitutes, Yvonne Walter, Anca Parghel, Majid Bekkas, Act big band and most of the names that count on the Belgian jazz scene : Charles Loos, Bruno Castellucci, Ben Sluijs, Ron Van Rossum, Michel Herr, Jean-Louis Rassinfosse, Steve Houben, Bert Joris, Phil Abraham, Félix Simtaine, un trio avec Paolo Loveri et Victor Da Costa, Richard Rousselet etc...
Paolo Radoni became a household name of Belgian Jazz, an accomplished musician, an educator who formed many of today's excellent guitar players in Belgium, an active member of the musical scene and a former chairman of the association of jazz musicians "Les Lundis d'Hortense".
He recorded several albums as a leader : "Funny Ways", "Hotel Love", "Vento", "A day or two", "Storie vere", "Coast to Coast".
He led his own trio with Jean- Louis RASSINFOSSE (bass), Bruno CASTELLUCCI (drs), and a quartet, same as above plus Ron VAN ROSSUM (piano) or more recently, Ben SLUIJS (alto sax), bands for which he also composed.
He signed arrangements for various bands, such as Tentamarre, the tribute to René Thomas, Castellucci's Stringtet, the Sweet Substitutes, the Brussels little big band, and a band he formed to play the music of Kurt Weil. He also wrote for theater.
Paolo was a very cultivated and articulate man, and his knowledge of the jazz tradition and of Brazilian music (a.o.) was impressive.
A warm human being, he had many friends in the musical world. He was known for his generosity and his love for the profound values of music, which he transmitted with devotion and enthusiasm to numerous students (at the Brussels Conservatory or during workshops such as "Jazz au Vert").
He was open to many experiments and to meet the music from various generations and various cultures. An example is the album he made with Majid BEKKAS : "African Gnaoua Blues".
Paolo Radoni was a real gentleman and a great artist. He died on December 21, 2007, in Brussels, after a 2 months illness (cancer). He left this world while listening to "Luiza", the Jobim song which he considered as one of the masterpieces of music...
ADDITIONAL SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY
(See top of page for the discography documented on this site)
| Christine SCHALLER : "Real Life" (LP)
Photo : Jos L. Knaepen