If you hear guitar at a jazz gig around Providence, there is a good chance it’s coming from the amp of local musician Gino Rosati. Rosati has a voice that fits a variety of styles, and he’s highly sought after by ensembles all over the state. One ensemble that he helped found and is a major creative voice of is Evening Sky, a Providence-based quartet with unique instrumentation and a roots-infused jazz sound, whose approach and sonic landscape is bolstered by Rosati’s stellar guitar playing.
On September 12, Evening Sky will be playing at The Pump House in Wakefield for a special outdoor show — masks and social distancing are required — complete with a food truck and outdoor bar. They open the night at 6:30pm and will be followed by the Bobby Keyes Trio.
I recently emailed Rosati to ask him a few questions about his musical journey and to gain a little insight into what makes him such a versatile musician.
Ben Shaw (Motif): What drew you to music?
Gino Rosati: I started listening to music at an early age. The radio was always on or we would listen to records. We listened to all styles, from classical to jazz and rock.
BS: When did you start playing?
GR: I actually started to play guitar by accident. My brother got a bass for Christmas and my mother nagged me into taking guitar lessons. I was around 14 years old at this time.
BS: How did you first get into jazz?
GR: I started listening to jazz before rock. Kai Winding, Louie Bellson, Dave Brubeck, and Joe Pass were the first records, and then I started searching for other musicians.
BS: When did you decide to pursue music as a career, and how did you start?
GR: As soon as I started playing guitar, I was hooked and never thought of anything else to do. I started getting into local bands and learning tunes.
BS: Has a career in music lived up to your expectations?
GR: In some ways yes and in some ways no. I traveled a lot, which was always fun, but music is not the most secure profession.
BS: Where do you usually play around town?
GR: I play with several groups around RI. I usually play at the Dorrance with Katie and the Italians (Katie Kleyla). I also play with a group called Evening Sky; we play at the Parlor usually. I also play with MSDQ in Newport. I also play with Tish Adams in various locations.
BS: Is there one thing you think aspiring musicians should think about or do when they consider a career in music?
GR: Be well-rounded and be able to read and write charts and play multiple styles of music. That skill alone has saved me a thousand times.
BS: What concepts (melodic, harmonic, etc) are you currently working on?
GR: I am always practicing and writing music. I am working on wider intervals, which can be difficult on the guitar. I also work on new chord voicings and comping. I practice with a metronome all the time.
BS: Beyond music, what other activities do you enjoy?
GR: Besides the guitar, I also like to play the guitar, then maybe to relax I will pick up a guitar.
Head to eveningskyband.com for more information on the band, and be sure to go see them at The Pump House on September 12. Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep supporting local jazz!
Ben Shaw is a local composer, performer, and writer. Find him at benjaminshawmusic.com.