On the 15th of November Italian jazz voice Mario Biondi will be performing at the Ronnie Scott's in London. Simon Cooke, MD of Ronnie Scott’s says "We are thrilled to have Mario at Ronnie Scott’s for the first time. He’s one of the coolest names in European jazz and we know he has a very loyal fanbase in the UK. Let’s hope we can get him back again next year.”

We talked to Mario Biondi who is very excited about his upcoming concert in London and shared with us his insights on the current Italian jazz scene.

Today you are performing in duets with international stars on equal terms. Which collaborations have left their mark?

I must say that I had the great fortune to meet artists who have shown me respect and affection: Burt Bacharach has given me two beautiful songs, one of which is contained in If,"That Was Something Beautiful", and I jealously guard the lter in my drawer.

Last summer we went on stage together three times in some of the most respected Italian Jazz Festivals. He invited me to play with him in the States .... I can not wait. Incognito in the person of Paul Maunick.

A wonderful artist, a wonderful man and a great friend. Thanks to him the duet with Chaka Kahn. But the big surprises will come in the next album which I'm already working on. (He smiles!)

Mario Biondi - IFYour music is a genre that seemingly has little to do with the Italian musical tradition. Is this just a stereotype?

In Italy, Italian pop music is the driving force behind the radio, along with foreign artists who work for large corporations.

I sing in English, for an independent label ... but as soon as one of my album is out it tops the charts. In spite of the choice of Italian radios .. my people feel like they want good music, and I am committed to provide some.

Italian music continues to gain international audiences, from great pop artists like Laura Pausini, Tiziano Ferro, Eros, to the classical voices of tenor Andrea Bocelli and Il Volo, to the special sounds of Elisa, or the electro dance of Planet Funk, all different musical genres. Is this a special moment for Italian music in the world?

Italy! Ah! Land of creative people..... Sometime we followed the stream other times we led the way, it comes and goes, this as no country or region or nation ... it is simply Art!

You have lived mainly between Catania, Parma and Reggio Emilia, how would you describe the musical heart of these three Italian cities?

Catania is international and varied; Reggio is very rock and west coast; Parma has little music going on, except of course, for classical music which is still going strong.

Mario Biondi - Yes YouYour music is a genre that seemingly has little to do with the Italian musical tradition. Is this just a stereotype? Umbria Jazz has become a famous international music event, in the Reggio Emilia area Correggio Jazz has reached its 9th edition, Catania Jazz is at its 28th edition, is Italy “jazzier” than one could imagine?

Absolutely yes, we have musicians of great artistic value, often overlooked by most people just because they are not mainstream. Even in my new album I give space and the right importance to them.

Among the various Jazz events in Italy, which ones would you suggest to our readers?

Umbria Jazz, Milano Jazz in Festival, Atina Jazz ... but also the once in smaller towns which sometimes offer beautiful music, even to a small audience.

For those who have not discovered Mario Biondi yet, from which song/album should they start approaching your music?

From the next one! (He smiles!)