Taken from his website: http://www.enricocrivellaro.com/
Who is Enrico?
Born in Padova, Italy, but later relocating to Los Angeles, Enrico Crivellaro has been able to prove that passion and talent can transcend political and cultural borders, becoming a well-respected, upcoming figure in the international blues scene. His versatility in different musical genres has allowed him to build an extraordinary experience, playing all over the world with blues, rock, jazz and country bands.
He began to play the guitar at a young age, soon showing a serious interest in the blues and in the various forms of traditional American music, such as jazz, swing, zydeco, country, gospel. Still in his teens he formed his own trio, with which he began to perform professionally all around Italy, averaging over twenty gigs per month--while in the meantime he was taking lessons (and inspiration) from guitar great Tolo Marton.
A scholarship, obtained through a demo tape, helped him become a student at the National Guitar Workshop in Connecticut, USA, where he had the opportunity to take classes with some of the masters of blues guitar--Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Kenny Neal, Paul Rishell, Roy Bookbinder, John Jackson. Interestingly, one of his classmates and friends--at the time only fourteen years old and already a prodigy--was one of today’s guitar sensations, Sean Costello.
The experience at the Guitar Workshop and the encouragement of his teachers, particularly Earl and Robillard, convinced Enrico to take the big step and relocate to Boston. There he soon met Muddy Waters’ legendary guitarist, Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson, with whom he played in several occasions; he also enjoyed Boston’s stimulating music environment, jamming frequently with some of New England’s best known blues and jazz players, including Broadcasters’ pianist/organist Bruce Katz and drummer Per Hanson. He also teamed up with a young local harmonica player, Jason Ricci, who had lived in the Deep South and had been a member of Junior Kimbrough and his Soul Blues Boys. The friendship was to grow very significant for Crivellaro: in fact, Ricci became his guide in Mississippi, introducing him to the great local bluesmen--Junior Kimbrough, T-Model Ford, R.L. Burnside. The two ended up recording together in Memphis, with two very special drummers: Junior’s son Kinney Kimbrough, and Magic Sam and Earl Hooker’s bandmate Bobby Little.
After the period in Boston, Enrico decided to move to the milder climate of Los Angeles. Just two months later he scored second ranking in a state competition organized by Fender Guitars, which awarded him with an invitation to perform at the prestigious 1997 Fender Catalina Island Blues Festival, opening for Jimmie Vaughan. In addition, his relocation to California gave him the chance to play, tour and record with some of the West Coast’s best blues bands, including the James Harman Band, the Janiva Magness Band, the Freddie Brooks Band, Lynwood Slim, and the late Lester Butler’s incredible punk-rock-blues unit called “13”. With all of these bands Enrico has toured the United States and Europe extensively, playing some of the most renowned club and festival stages, often sharing the bill with or opening shows for the greatest names in the business--John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Mose Allison, Anson Funderburgh, Bill Wyman, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, John Mayall. He also plays regularly with a myriad of top-notch artists, such as singer and Freddie King’s bass player Finis Tasby, John Lee Hooker’s organist Deacon Jones, guitarists Junior Watson, Alex Schultz, Kirk “Eli” Fletcher, Kid Ramos, Rick Holmstrom, Abu Talib (aka Freddie Robinson), Roy “Guitar” Gaines, Cal Green, Johnny Turner, and with Los Angeles’ legendary bluesman J.J. “Bad Boy” Jones. Among his best appearances can be counted the 1999 Long Beach Blues Festival, where he performed with Chicago harp player Sugar Blue, and was invited to jam with Al Green’s band. He also recalls fondly a jam with a drunk Roger Clinton, brother of President Bill.
In Los Angeles, Enrico’s mature knowledge of 1940’s jazz guitar styles was recognized by the swing-rock band Royal Crown Revue, renowned for being featured in the movie “The Mask.” The band took him to Australia for a tour that included a performance at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics Games, and the participation at the Livid Festival in Brisbane, in front of 80,000 spectators and along with Lou Reed, The Cure, Green Day, No Doubt and several other rock bands.
Despite the difficulties induced by continuous touring, Enrico found the time to complete his studies and graduate at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). His interest in African-American culture, of which music is undeniably a building block, allowed him to actualize the dream to study with the director of the UCLA Jazz Department, his long-time jazz guitar hero Kenny Burrell. Although Enrico doesn’t consider himself a true jazz-bebop player, it is obvious that his refined rhythm playing (so appreciated by blues singers and harmonica players!) displays echoes of Burrell, as well as of those musicians who combine the sophistication of jazz with the funkiness of blues--such as pianists Gene Harris and Les McCann, organist Jimmy McGriff, and guitarists T-Bone Walker and George Benson. The jazz influence in his playing has definitely been stimulated by the lessons that he took from George Benson’s bandmate Phil Upchurch, and by the seminar that he attended with virtuoso Robben Ford.
Enrico Crivellaro is a quite articulate and elegant player, who not only knows in detail several musical styles, but who also tries to smooth off the boundaries between them. His attempt is to make music that is interesting rather than conceptual, and that doesn’t forget the two basic rules of blues and Black Music: groove and dynamics. A quick look at some of Enrico’s regular or occasional jam partners can confirm that his guitar playing branches out in hundreds of, often unexpected, directions: from blues players, like Little Charlie and the Nightcats or Junior Watson, to rockers such as Tracy Guns and Teddy Andreas of Guns’n’Roses and L.A. Guns, Eric Singer (drummer for Kiss), and Peter Tork of The Monkees; from jumping jazz organists like Red Young (Joan Armatrading), Oscar Marchioni, Mike Finnigan (Jimi Hendrix, Taj Mahal), to country pickers Al Bruno (Chet Atkins), Marty Rifkin (Bruce Springsteen), or James Intveld; from lions of the Doo-Wop such as Eddie Daniels of The Platters or Ice-T backing singers The Real Seductions, to Brazilian bossa nova guitarist Beto di Franco and to zydeco accordion players like Jimmy Thibodeaux.
No matter what kind of music he is playing--could it be gospel or fusion--Enrico Crivellaro likes to be in the context, yet without forgetting that the roots are in the blues.