A native of the South of Italy, Rocco Ventrella grew up in Bari, on the Adriatic coast. Rocco began playing saxophone at age fourteen, inspired by jazz records his father had given him; for over twenty years, Rocco honed his chops by playing with the Big Band “J.S.O.” of his hometown Bari where he appeared with an impressive list of artists such as: Lee Konitz, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Benny Bailey, Chet Baker, Ernie Wilkins, Art Farmer, Tony Scott, Dizzy Gillespie, Bob Mintzer and other collaborators including keyboard wizard Renato Falaschi.
Ventrella developed a smooth soulful style that is a benchmark for European smooth-jazz saxophone players. A combination of jazz improvisation and R&B, it forms a bridge between late 70s jazz fusion and mid 80s jazz pop.
In recent years, he fell in love with Smooth Jazz and began writing and recording to explore this new musical style. Rocco's recent mini-CD, Tribute To Grover Washington, Jr. (in memory of the late, great saxophone player), brought him to the attention of American producer Bruce Nazarian (Anita Baker, Millie Scott, the Automatix), and an international alliance was born!
Give Me The Groove is a unique global collaboration, combining Rocco from Italy, longtime friend Renato Falaschi from France, and producer/multi-instrumentalist Nazarian from the USA in a smooth-yet-funky showcase for Rocco's performing and writing talents.
The resulting CD has taken internet radio by storm! After hearing an early copy of the CD, Jimi King, Smooth Jazz Programme Director of www.SKY.fm voted “Soulful Strut” as his Number One Smooth Jazz Track in the 2006 year-end countdown, placed two additional Rocco tracks in the top 25 including “Alleria,” and Rocco's soulful reworking of “Feel Like Makin' Love.”
King said, “In these days of digital downloading, where the listener can pick and choose what tracks they want, it's rare to find a CD that offers enough quality material to make its purchase worthwhile. This is one such CD.”
One listen, and Rocco will give you the groove, as he has done countless others.