Who is Francesco?
Francesco and his Gibson L4/C
A refreshing twist on acoustic music, Francesco uses his skills and success in other genres to make it his own. Penetrating lyrics, interesting, uncommon music, and often with a playfulness that allows listeners to approach sometimes difficult subjects.
While well known as the leading Jazz whistler today, his music ranges well beyond any categories. Having performed with symphonies – he has the chops that amaze audiences. It’s a “Spicy Musical Jambalaya.”
Now working with producer and vocal coach to many stars (Brad Paisley & others) Ken Tamplin (www.NewGameMedia.com), Francesco takes his music into an acoustic direction with a second release expected early 2011.
Not to be confused as a novelty act, he is a singer/songwriter in the truest sense. His songs have earned awards and placed highly on online charts including #2 in Jazz and #12 in Rock on The American Idol Underground Charts. His song Heaven earned an Honorable Mention in the USA Songwriting Contest.
While his whistling skills can keep up with any soloist, it’s also his use of restraint and subtle techniques that make it work in acoustic music. In his Bluegrass song Wait For My Smile he holds his own with the other soloists including Grammy-winning bassist Gene Libea and mandolin player Patrick Sites (of White Water Ramble). While on Angels, he uses his whistling as a gentle suggestion of the feathers on an angel’s wings. This range of abilities and sensibilities is rare in music today.
Critics have called his technique the most modern use of whistling in improvisational music today. Brett Saunders of the Denver Post remarked, "He makes it all seem effortless... expressing himself as an artist in his chosen way. He's also a tasty guitar player." With music that distinctively combines instruments as well as elements from multiple genres and styles, Francesco’s whistling is the "extra spice." He can swiftly integrate a phrase from a Bach concerto into a rock, folk, or jazz solo, and still land on his feet.
As world-renowned classical composer and musician David Amram said best: "Francesco is, in effect, his own Stradivarius."
Whether performing solo, as a guest soloist or with his back-up band Francesco & Friends, he is that rare blend of accomplished musician and magnetic entertainer.
Francesco has appeared on the CBS Sunday Morning Show and as a guest on numerous radio shows across the country. His flexibility is demonstrated by a wide range of performances, including as a soloist with the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, and accompanying blues legend Deacon Jones at the Disney complex in Anaheim, California.
Francesco’s initial CD release, Air Play, is a seamless combination of jazz standards as well as original songs composed by him or in collaboration with pianist Mark Sloniker, who has appeared on Billboard Magazine’s New Age Top Ten charts. Air Play’s mix of standards and six original tunes demonstrate the diversity of Francesco’s musical palette and his ability as a vocalist as well as moving the bar for jazz whistling up several notches.
Air Play has been broadcast extensively on public radio across the US, Canada, and Europe. With performances at Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and the MusiCamdo Jazz & Blues Festival in Camerino, Italy, Francesco is building an international following. He has also been a finalist in the Massimo Urbani International Competition for vocalists and instrumentalists, and won 1st Place at the International Whistling Convention.
His tune SelTalk was used in the award-winning independent film 10 MPH (released in 2007) for it's ability to draw viewers into an unusual scene.
Not one to keep his talent to himself, Francesco has lectured and taught classes on non-traditional instrumentation and whistling workshops at colleges and public schools throughout the country. He was the first to teach a whistling workshop at the well-known Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, as part of the school’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Above all, Francesco’s style is playfully spontaneous. Listeners can’t predict what sound is coming around the next measure: it might be percussive vocal scat or whistling that mimics the sound of a locomotive. Doing the unexpected has come to be expected in Francesco’s music and performances.
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Francesco ala solo - Guitar, vocals, "puccalo" (professional whistling)
With the" Francesco & Friends" band: adds bass, piano, and drums.
Air Play CD - released in 2006. Available at www.CDBaby.com/bonifazi
Played on public radio across the US, Canada, and Europe. Online stream www.radioIOjazz.com