Rossano Sportiello explains Stride Piano


As a child I was fascinated by the joy and freedom that jazz pianists show and feel while performing their improvisations. My inspiration is constantly fed by virtually all the great masters in the history of jazz as well as the great classical music composers and performers.

These are just a few of the musicians who’ve inspired me: Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, Chopin, Ravel, Vladimir Horowitz, Artur Rubinstein, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli and many others.

The Stride Piano is the style of jazz performed originally during the 1910s and 20s mainly in places like Newark New Jersey, Baltimore, Washington DC and, more than everywhere else, Harlem New York. The main feature of this style, that is by the way very hard to play and demands a full control of the keyboards, is the movement of the left hand constantly jumping (or even better “striding”) from the bass notes at the bottom left of the keyboard to the chords in the middle part of the keyboard.

Stride Piano evolved from Ragtime. During the 1910 the two styles sounded very similar, but later on Stride Piano became a more improvisational style and more challenging for technical and rhythmic complexity.

I’ve played in many venues including a concert set up in a stable in Germany, can you believe it? In almost 30 years career I’ve also been invited to play also Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Blue Note, the Opera in Rome, Philarmonie in Luxembourg, the Old Opera in Frankfurt. I keep a busy schedule performing in the USA and Europe and have also performed in Japan, South Korea and Morocco.