Grooves & Samples is a weekly dive into old dusty crates of jazz, funk, soul and beyond.
Romano Mussolini, the youngest son of infamous Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was actually also one of Italy’s most respected jazz musicians. He began his musical education by playing classical music on the piano while his father accompanied on violin.
Romano was only 17 years old when his father was executed. Amazingly, his father’s last words to him were “Keep playing.” as he sat in front of a piano. Following his passion for music and his father’s final words, Romano fell in love with jazz music in the 50s and ended up leading one of Italy’s most successful jazz bands.
With his band, Romano Mussolini All Stars, he toured in South America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Through his career Romano played with legends like Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gilespie, Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, and many more. The man made some really great groovy music and also had a very unusual background. Thus he is our focus of this week’s Grooves & Samples feature. His first LP was titled Mirage and released in 1974. The album has since become a treasure for many jazz and soul heads. Check out the title track below with Romano killing it on a Rhodes electric piano.