Sal La Rocca
Bass Player | Composer
About Sal La Rocca
Sal La Rocca – Initially briefly interested in guitar rock, he discovered the jazz genre in the early 1980s. Sal traded the guitar for the bass and taught himself the jazz idiom, inspired by the model of Paul Chambers. La Rocca tirelessly built on his abilities as a musician, and it did not take long before he was noticed playing alongside Toots THIELEMANS, Philip CATHERINE, Steve GROSSMAN, Lee KONITZ, Dani KLEIN featuring Vaya Con Dios…
Sal (Salvatore) La Rocca has released three albums under his own name, such as LATINEA (Jan 2003). IT COULD BE THE END (Feb 2012), with : Lorenzo DI MAIO (guitar), Pascal MOHY (piano & Fender Rh.) and Hans van OOSTERHOUT (drums) featuring : Jacques SCHWARZ-BART (t. sax) on the IGLOO RECORDS label.
SHIFTED (Nov 2018), with : Jeroen van Herzeele (t. & s. sax), Pascal Mohy (piano & Wurlitzer) & Lieven Venken (drums) on IGLOO RECORDS & EL NEGOCITO RECORDS labels.
“a singular album that sounds like a plural and that can be conjugated in the past, present and future; a contemporary jazz record that reads like a travel book. At each stop, we get a song to hum and high-level soloists to follow in their harmonic and rhythmic excursions. Let’s be clear: a record signed by a bassist-leader often resembles other releases recorded by bassist-leaders, a heavy revenge on the status of accompanist; spotlight on the bassist, all the themes are for me, the first chorus and codas…
This second album by Sal La Rocca deftly avoids that trap. With the exception of “Crescent”, all the compositions are signed La Rocca but the rest is impeccably balanced and each musician comes out of the adventure with something to remember. Could this be the end?”
New Album 2018
Sal La Rocca’s new album breathes groove and freedom. His modern jazz with captivating sounds is tinged with avant-gardism. Walloon and Flemish, Belgian and Italian, his group is defined by a multiple identity. Self-taught musician, Sal La Rocca is one of Belgium’s most popular bassists. For more than thirty years, he has been traveling around Europe alongside renowned musicians. He accompanied Toots Thielemans, Philip Catherine, Steve Grossman and Lee Konitz, among others. After two albums as a leader, he recorded in 2017 ’Shifted’, his new record that he will present at this concert.
The project explores a certain duality. First, by the presence of Flemish and Walloon musicians; then, by the apparent opposition between avant-gardism and tradition. Jeroen and Lieven open doors to unexpected sounds and colors. Sal and Pascal are more anchored in the tradition, while remaining permeable to other sounds. This alliance offers open music, with surprising tones, groove background that recall the hard-bop of the 60s.
Sal & AJJ
“Osuna” by Sal La Rocca
From the album : It Could Be The End
About the Album : I just wanted to evoke the long drive by a winding road that leads to Osuna near Malaga in Spain.
Fiona’s Comments * * * *
Dream like in its delirium, spirit away the cold with this sweet ride. La Rocca’s band has trance-like cohesion and effortlessly polished phrasing.
Flagey, FM Brussel
“Sal La Rocca, is one of the talented bassists and the most popular of the Belgian jazz scene. He played with Toots Thielemans, Philip Catherine, Nathalie Loriers, Anne Ducros, Jacques Pelzer, Lee Konitz, Steve Houben, Steve Grossman and many more. For this second album, It Could Be The End, Sal La Rocca has surrounded himself with “sizes” Belgian and international, including Jacques-Scharwz Bart (NY, Paris) and Hans Van Oosterhout (NL), who ally themselves with subtlety and intelligence in this ambitious project.” Flagey, FM Brussel
Maison du Jazz Jean-Paul Schroeder
”An album that comes singular and the plural is conjugated in the present, past and future, a contemporary jazz album in the form of travel with every step, a song to hum and top-level soloists to follow in their wanderings harmonic and rhythmic. To be fair, a record signed by a bassist-leader often looks like two drops of water to another disk signed by a bassist-leader: as a heavy hand on the status of coach - spotlight on bassist, all mine themes, all the first chorus, the coda ... This second album of Sal La Rocca cleverly avoids the trap: the universe only compositional (except Crescent) is the exclusive work of the leader, for the rest, the balance is impeccable and each musician grew out of the adventure. It Could Be The End? Not at all answered the echo!” JPS, Maison du Jazz - Jean-Paul Schroeder
“LINE UP of Jacques Schwarz-Bart
”I was already aware of Sal’s remarkable talent on bass. I also got to enjoy his qualities as a human being during our conversations. But this recording session was the opportunity for me to discover the composer and exceptional leader that he is. He has his own style of writing and chose musicians capable of following his vision on these recordings. The experience was a pure joy for me. It’s one of the records I’m most proud of. - Jacques Schwarz-Bart - Igloo-records
Music Review: Toots Thielemans — The Live Takes Vol.
”The unique sound of Thielemans’ instrument is simultaneously pleasing to the ear and yet evocative of days gone by. Track one also prominently displays the talents of one of four rhythm sections in Vol.1. - For this number he’s joined by Nathalie Loriers on piano, SAL LA ROCCA on bass, and Bruno Castellucci on drums — they each get noteworthy solos. I thought SAL LA ROCCA was going to steal the show for a moment with an attention-getting solo on bass”. FCEtier - Music Review: Toots Thielemans — The Live Takes Vol.
”Nine original La Rocca compositions give the players full scope to take rewarding harmonic and rhythmic excursions, blending a rock energy with jazz improvisation, yet La Rocca’s roots are still very much from Paul Chambers and Ray Brown.” Discovery Records - Discovery catalogue available for Sal La Rocca
London Evening Standard | CD of the week
“Northern Europe boasts many excellent players, so it’s no surprise to find a quintet this good from the buttoned-up city of Brussels. Two Belgians, guitarist Lorenzo di Maio and pianist Pascal Mohy, contribute elegant solos, but the star turn is really Jacques Schwartz-Bart, a world-class tenorist from Guadeloupe who has toured with US trumpeter Roy Hargrove a few years back. His serpentine lines are always a pleasure to follow but it’s La Rocca’s simple-sounding yet artfully harmonised themes that make this album special. The only standard here is Crescent, a J. Coltrane lament that inspires solos worthy of its composer.” – JACK MASSARIK (London Evening Standard), CDs of the week: It Could Be the End – Igloo (Nov 30, 2012)