Bobb Fantauzzo

As a child growing up in Rochester, NY, Bobb Fantauzzo appeared to have limited musical ability: he was kicked out of band in elementary school for "keeping time by tapping with both feet" and his piano teacher quit following a recital in which "it sounded like Bobb was playing the music upside down".

Although he felt a need to create music for several years, Bobb didn't find the "right" instrument to do so until almost 40 years later when he was seduced by the sound of the Native American flute in 1998. Learning to play by emulating what he heard on recordings, Bobb soon realized that while he appreciated the "canyon" sound often heard on the flute, it was not the music he felt. It was not the music he wanted to express. It was not his voice.

Encouraged by R. Carlos Nakai during a workshop in 1999, Bobb started to explore his potential on the flute and began his journey of developing his personal voice: blending the soul of the Native American flute with the spirit of jazz - attempting to bring the flute out of the canyon and into the club.

Bobb began performing in public after moving to Minneapolis, MN from State College, PA in 2001 and released his first CD (Sirocco - Winds of Passion) in late 2003. In 2005 he was showcased by the New Folk Collective as one of four New Artists and was selected as one of the Rising Stars to be showcased at the Zion Canyon Flute Festival in 2007.

The title cut from Bobb's CD became the inspiration for the Eclectic Edge Ensemble's dance production of 'Sirocco'. In addition to collaborating on the soundtrack, Bobb performed live during the 2007 dance production.  Bobb also performed live in Zorongo Flamenco's production of 'Zorro in the Land of the Golden Breasted Woodpecker' in 2012.

In addition to performing as a soloist and with his group JazZen, Bobb is a member of SemiConductor Orchestra (a "conducted" improvisational orchestra), Rhizosphere (a "free" improvisation ensemble), and The Intangibles (a rock band).

With his group, JazZen, Bobb has performed at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in 2011, the Mid West Music Fest in 2012 and the International Native American Flute Association's national convention in 2010 and 2012.

He still taps both feet when he plays.


Reviews/Interviews
"The top 10 Twin Cities jazz CDs of 2011" (Honorable Mention)
 
- BeBopified, December 15, 2011
"Meditations and Good Vibrations: JazZen's 'Bounce Off the Moon'
 - Jazz Police, August 19, 2011

"You Can't Judge a Book by Looking at It's Cover"
 - Hymie's Vintage Records, June 26, 2011
Jazz 88.5 (KBEM) radio interview
 - On the Corner with Maryann Sullivan, May, 2011

 

Press
"JazZen has a versatile sound that incorporates everything from modern groove to world jazz."  - Russ Davis, MOJA (Modern Jazz) Radio

"a unique sound that is both holy and hip, primal and sophisticated... the integration of an almost prayerful melodicism suggestive of Charles Lloyd with a more forward-thrusting, free-wheeling improvisational approach that echoes Coltrane, Davis, Shorter, and Coleman." - Andrea Canter, Jazz Police

"If you're interested in the Miles Davis Quintet (the Shorter/Hancock/Carter/Williams group he recorded with in the middle 60s) you're going to be impressed by the relationship Aaron and Derrin have as a rhythm section and with the range Bobb can achieve with instruments we often [associate with] new age music." - Dave Hoenack, Hymie's Vintage Records

"'Afro Blue' and 'Footprints' played on dizi and xiao (Chinese flutes)? Add electric cello and drums and you could get New Age woo-woo, but that's not what happens in JazZen. Flutist and leader Bobb Fantauzzo (who also plays Native American flutes, bawu, and spring drum) keeps things jazzy for this collection of covers and originals." - Pamela Espeland, BeBopified 


TV

  • Sirocco - Winds of Passion licensed for play on The Discovery Channel (2010)
  • A Night for Decadance (performing with Semiconductor Orchestra and Third Rabbit dance ensemble); MTN (2006)
  • Open Mic at the Artist's Quarter (solo performance); SPNN (2003)

Stage Productions

  • George Bonga,- Black Voyager; History Theater; St Paul, MN (2016)
  • Zorro in the Land of the Golden Breasted Woodpecker (Moningwunakauning); Zorongo Flamenco (2012)
  • Sirocco (Eclectic Edge Ensemble dance production based on Sirocco - Winds of Passion); Ritz Theater, Minneapolis, MN (2007)
  • The Falls; Guthrie Theater; Minneapolis, MN (2006)
  • An Almost Holy Picture; Pillsbury House Theatre; Minneapolis,MN (2005)



2012, Bobb Fantauzzo