Italian pianist Stefano Battaglia has recorded regularly for the Splasc(h) label since his debut as a leader in 1987, Things Ain't What They Used to Be. By that time, he had been playing piano for 15 years and had graduated from the Conservatory of Milan three years prior. Active in both classical and jazz music, he has performed at a number of European festivals of each, including the 1986 J.S. Bach Festival in Düsseldorf and the Umbria Jazz Festival on several occasions during the '80s and '90s.
Battaglia has collaborated with a range of jazz musicians from Kenny Wheeler to Lee Konitz, from Barre Phillips to a number of musicians active on the Italian scene, including frequent collaborator, bassist Paolino Dalla Porta. He has also taught jazz for a number of years in Siena. Battaglia has led more than 15 recordings in settings ranging from solo (such as Baptism and the Swiss Radio Tapes releases) to his 16-piece ensemble Theatrum (heard on three 1997 recordings, including Gesti). He also has ongoing duo projects with pianist Enrico Pieranunzi and with drummer Tony Oxley, and is in the trio ALA with cellist Chico Marquez and clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi. Battaglia's more recent releases include The Book of Jazz, Vol. 1 from Symphonia in 2001, and Raccolto and Re: Pasolini both from ECM in 2006 and 2007, respectively.
In 2009, Battaglia took a different tack: he recorded an album of duets, playing piano and prepared piano with percussionist and electronic musician Michele Rabbia. The album was issued by ECM in 2010 as Pastorale. Also in 2009, Battaglia returned to work with his trio, comprising Salvatore Maiore on double bass and Roberto Dani on drums. The set was recorded at Lugano's Auditorio Radiotelevisione Svizzera with producer Manfred Eicher. Comprised of ten tracks -- all of which were inspired by mythical places -- Battaglia sought to compose works that ignored the language of contemporary music and harked back to those of earlier eras. The trio issued The River of Anyder in 2011 and returned with Songways in March of 2013. ~ Joslyn Layne