Ventrella received a Grammy Awards Pre-Nomination for Contemporary Jazz Best Album for his 2007 CD “Give Me The Groove”.
“One can only smile and enjoy when hearing the music of Rocco Ventrella. The joy of his music that exudes from his soul is undeniable. His passion for smooth jazz is so obvious with every note he plays”.
After performing in over 20 different countries and playing for hundreds of others records artists for many years, Ventrella discovered the great saxophone player Grover Washington, Jr. in the mid-90s. Ventrella was captured by the sound and the groove of Grover!
On the 2005 Ventrella recorded, arranged and produced the “Tribute To Grover
Washington, Jr.” CD in memory of the late, great saxophone player. This remarkable recording originally contained just five tracks: “Winelight”, “Let It Flow”, “Make Me a Memory”, “Mr. Grover”(original by Ventrella) and “Come Morning”. However, it was “Winelight” that made Rocco a household name on Smooth Jazz stations across the Internet. “Winelight” track was selected by Jimi King(Sky.fm) as one of “The Best Of 2005,” along with other 14 tracks.
Ventrella continued to create new recordings featuring his own compositions, including the soulful and haunting “I Receive Your Love”. The “Tribute To Grover” and “I Receive Your Love” CDs brought Ventrella to the attention of American producer Bruce Nazarian (he played the synclavier on the “Giving you the best that I got” Anita Baker’s CD, Millie Scott, The Automatix), and an international alliance was born.
Ventrella’s “Give Me The Groove” CD, produced by Bruce Nazarian and recorded with the collaboration of his friend pianist Renato Falaschi scored Top 20 smooth jazz radio stations with 5 tracks of the CD: Soulful Strut, Winelight, Alleria, On The Night and Give Me The Groove.
Ventrella also received positive reviews from Dave Koz, George Duke, Everette Harp, Marion Meadows, Chris Standring and more. Also “Soulful Strut” track placed #1 in Jimi King’s prestigious 2006 year-end countdown.
“Sweet Temptation” new single released on March 2012 feat. Sergio Bellotti, Gerry Brown, Paul Brown, Everette Harp and Nils placed #46 on Top 100 of 2012 Groove Jazz Music.com
Rocco Ventrella was born in Bari (Italy) on the 23th of January 1961 and began playing saxophone at age of twelve. As a young boy, he remembers when his father, a lover of jazz music, gave to him an album of Duke Ellington and Ventrella was captured by the sound of the sax of Johnny Hodge and a love was born.
Ventrella was trained jazzly, but because there was not the possibility to get a saxophone/diploma at conservatory in that time, he was forced to switch to the clarinet at age 15 studying at conservatory classical music and abandoning the sax for seven years. During this time Ventrella had nostalgia of the saxophone, the love for the sax was so intense.
“The clarinet wasn’t quite expressive enough for me,” he says. “I really connected more with jazz/soul and funk. So I picked up the saxophone changing my style immediately”.
Ventrella begins performing in alot of jazz clubs and played for over 25 years in a local Big Band where famous artists were guests such as Lee Konitz, Art Farmer, Dizzy Gillespie, Ernie Wilkins, Tony Scott, Chet Baker, Eddie “Lockiaw” Davis, Tullio De Piscopo, Enrico Rava, Paolo Fresu, Bob Mintzer and more.
Rocco Ventrella appeared in selected jazz festivals include the “James Brown Festival” in Georgia, the “1° Annual Smooth Jazz Festival” in Austria, the “The Cube Smooth Jazz Festival” plus with Brian Culbertson in Austria, the “Augsburg Smooth Jazz Festival” plus with Gerald Albright , Paul Brown, Jessy J. in Germany, the “Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival 2013” plus with Rick Braun, the “Christmas In Smooth Jazz” in Bari(Italy)2013,the “Blue Note” in Milan(Italy)guest of Dave Koz, the “Lago Maggiore Smooth Jazz Festival” 2014 in Italy as leader and with Keiko Matsui.
Also Rocco played over 200 shows in 30 countries in front of more than 300 thousand people.
With his Live Shows he made everytime SOLD OUT at famous jazz club “Spaghettini” in LA area and at “Blues Alley” in Washington, D.C. just to name a few.
On October 2015 he received the prestigious Jazztrax Award for Debut Artist of 2015 and his “Another Time“(Delilah Records)CD, produced by Greg Manning, has been placed at No.8 on the JazzTrax 10 Best New Albums of 2015 and with Songs at No. #3 and No. #21 on the JazzTrax Best 25 New Songs of 2015.