Gato Azul is a new exciting instrumental quartet that performs music that ranges from Brazil to Bulgaria passing via the Mediterranean and using jazz improvisation to unify these diverse musical languages. It’s also the latest project from the industrious Italian Francesco Turrisi, now developing a reputation as an accordionist and frame drummer par excellence to match his well documented piano capabilities. Joining him are percussionist Robbie Harris, whose bodhrán sounds remarkably at home in this rhythmic terrain, the mighty jazz double bass of Michael Coady, and Lucas Gonzalez, an exceptional Argentinean guitarist now resident in Dublin, who brings authenticity and a flamencoesque brio to the table.
Francesco Turrisi was born in Turin, Italy. He studied music at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague Netherlands where he obtained a Bachelor and a Masters degree in Jazz Piano. During his studies Francesco researched improvisation and basso continuo in early baroque keyboard music. Later he studied piano accordion and many different percussion instruments from the Middle East and the Mediterranean area. He has collaborated with many important artists such as jazz artists Dave Liebman, Jean Toussaint, Gianluigi Trovesi, Fay Claeesen, Maria Pia de Vito, John Ruocco and Eric Ineke; Early Music artists Ensemble L’Arpeggiata, The King’s Singers, Veronique Gens, Dominique Visse, Philippe Jaroussky, Vittorio Ghielmi, Marco Beasley and Marco Ambrosini; and World musicians Pepe el Habichuela, Lucilla Galeazzi, Marcello Vitale, Mihaly Borbely, Ens. Myriad, Patricio Hidalgo and Andrea Piccioni.
Lucas Gonzalez is an Argentinean musician trained in both classical and flamenco styles, and in composition. As guitarist and percussionist he has been performing and recording since 1997 in Argentina, Spain, USA, Germany, Switzerland and Ireland. Based in Dublin since 2007, he teaches and performs in groups including Lunfardia and Gonzalez Walsh Duo, and also gives flamenco workshops and performs with acclaimed artists such as Felipe de Algeciras and Olayo Gimenez.
Bassist Michael Coady began his music career with local rock and Irish traditional groups. A deep interest in jazz led to studies with Ronan Guilfoyle and later at Newpark Music Centre, Blackrock and Berklee College of Music. Michael has also attended the Arts Jazz Summer Programme at the Banff Centre, Canada and the Carnatic School of Percussion, Bangalore, India under T.A.S. Mani. A regular bassist for many years with the great Louis Stewart, Michael has also played with artists such as Peter Bernstein, Ronnie Cuber, Mike La Danne, Mark Murphy, Alan Broadbent and Scott Hamilton. Michael recently returned to Dublin after six years in London, where he was very active on the UK jazz scene and he now splits his time between both cities and several projects, including the Michael Coady Quartet, which features musicians from both sides of the water.
Robbie Harris is a bodhrán player and percussionist. Over the years he has recorded and performed with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, Clannad, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Celtic Woman, The High Kings, Emer Mayock, Steve Cooney and world music artists such as, Hector Zazou, Theodosii Spassov, Pedram Khavar Zamini, Mamady Keita and Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan. After touring extensively with Riverdance in 2000, he joined the Broadway production in New York. While living there he was a guest lecturer at The Julliard and The New School, NYC. He is Co-directior of the Big Bang Festival of Rhythm. This Festival celebrates diverse styles of drumming from around the world, but also rhythm as it affects other art forms such as dance, voice and visual art. In 2000 he compiled and released a double album called Pure Bodhrán- a collection of 19 of the leading exponents of the drum from all over Ireland. It features the first ever recording of the instrument made in 1927. As musical director of The Rhythm Corporation he has led a twenty-strong drum corps at Irish Rugby International matches in Croke Park and Aviva Stadium Dublin. He was Musical Director with St Patrick’s Festival’s in house production City Fusion, a massive piece of street theatre with 250 performers from 30 different countries. City Fusion went on to win The Best Pageant Award in 2007, 2008 and 2009.