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Monday, Apr. 16, 2018

Roberta Gambarini

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Roberta Gambarini has been turning heads since her 1998 move to Boston and concurrent third-place finish in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition. A vocal virtuosa, she has incredible technique and a warm tone, owing to her instrumental approach. Her first U.S. release, Easy to Love, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2006.

In 1998 Gambarini made the bold decision to relocate to the United States from her native Italy. “Rather than grabbing a minute in a dressing room and saying, ‘Hey, Mr. Gillespie, I really liked your playing,’ I longed to spend more time with the greats, to establish disciple relationships with them.” To do so would, she knew, require a transatlantic move. As luck would have it, an opportunity arose for Gambarini to compete for a two-year residency at the New England Conservatory. She entered and won. Three weeks after her stateside arrival, she shocked the jazz cognoscenti by placing third in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition. “I met a lot of important people there,” she recalls, “and started getting invitations to play in New York.” Her first Manhattan dates were with Billy Higgins, Curtis Fuller, and Ronnie Mathews. Word quickly spread.


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