Jean-Philippe Scali

Jean-Philippe Scali

Jean-Philippe Scali is a saxophonist (alto, baritone, soprano), arranger and composer.


Originally from Draguignan in the Var, Jean-Philippe Scali began classical saxophone in 1991, at the age of 10, at private lessons. Fascinated by Jazz music, during a training course in his native town, he met Yvan Belmondo (Lionel and Stéphane's father) 4 years later, who put him on "the rails" of the profession of musician and gave him the first "keys" to understand the vernacular language of Jazz.

At the age of 17, he joined the class of the Nice Conservatory, went to festivals and workshops in the PACA region, and gave his first concerts with various local orchestras. In 2000, he moved to Paris. He studied at the IACP Jazz School (taught by the Belmondo brothers, Carine Bonnefoy, Christophe Dal Sasso...). In 2002, he joined the Jazz class of the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP) and studied with François Théberge, Riccardo Del Fra, Daniel Humair, Glenn Ferris, Hervé Sellin. Within this establishment, where he studies, among other things, arrangement and composition, he will also have the opportunity to work and perform with : Martial Solal, Paolo Fresu, Gerald Wilson, Bill Holman, Chris Potter or Charlie Haden... In 2006 he graduated from the CNSM in Jazz and improvised music.

Since then, Jean-Philippe Scali leads a rich activity as a leader and sideman as an alto saxophonist, but especially as a baritone saxophonist. In recent years he has performed and recorded alongside prestigious musicians in various formations: with Archie Shepp and the Attica Blues big-band (which Jean-Philippe now leads on stage), he performs on the biggest stages in Europe (La villette, London Jazz Festival, Nuits de Fourvières, Marciac, Middelheim, Mithra Jazz, Wolfi Jazz etc...). The album I Hear The Sound (released in 2013) was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2014. Recently at the 2016 Festival de Jazz de la Villette, Jean-Philippe Scali is among the "guests" of the Archie Shepp "All star 5tet tribute to John Coltrane" featuring Richard Davis, Billy Hart, Jason Moran, Ambrose Akinmusire...

Member of the Gil Evans Paris Workshop under the baton of Laurent Cugny (former director of the O.N.J 1994-1997), he also performs there on many French and European stages (Jazz à Vienne, Radio France, Jazz à Saint Omer, EFG London Jazz festival, Madrid International Jazz Festival, etc...).

Within the Amazing Keystone big band, Jean-Philippe Scali recorded Pierre et le Loup et le Jazz, an album awarded in 2013 by the Académie du Jazz (Best French album). During four years (2012 - 2016), he gives with this orchestra many concerts all over France, and records the Carnaval Jazz des animaux (2015) and also 3 tracks on the album Paris of the singer ZAZ with Quincy Jones, Charles Aznavour, John Clayton (2014). Jean-Philippe Scali also performs in the Paris-Calvi big band, under the direction of Jean-Loup Longnon, and records the album R. comme René (2015). We find him with Raphaël Imbert's Nine Spirit for various creations, such as Watt a Nine Brass Boom with the beat-box group Under Kontrol as part of "Marseille-Provence 2013: European Capital of Culture". Then in 2016 at the "Nuits de Fourvière", again alongside Raphaël Imbert, as part of the creation in homage to "Moondog, the Viking of the 6th Avenue" with Dominique Ponty, Stephan Eicher, Stefan Lakatos, the Lyon Opera Orchestra and the Minisym Ensemble. He is also featured on 2 albums of the saxophonist and creator of the label Gaya Music Production: Samy Thiebault Rebirth (2016) and Upanishad Experience (2010). Jean-Philippe Scali takes part in 2 tours he organized with the American saxophonist Walt Weiskopf: European sextet and nonet tour (2008) (2009). We also find him during a studio session with Ivan Jullien's big orchestra (2008).

His first album entitled Evidence released in 2012 (Gaya Music Production), recorded under the artistic direction of Eric Legnini, was acclaimed by critics and praised by the press: "Revelation" Jazz Magazine, "Discovery" Jazz News, "Disque coup de cœur FIP". It has been broadcasted on many radios (TSF, France Musique, FIP...). In 2016, he recorded with his new quintet, a second album entitled: Low Down with the American trombonist Glenn Ferris.

In 2010 Jean-Philippe also founds with six other musicians the Hot Sugar Band, a traditional swing jazz formation for Lindy Hop dancers (swing dance of the 30-40s). This septet specialized in the discipline is one of the most famous formations in Europe among swing dancers, and performs in nearly fifteen countries, in Europe but also in Canada, China, South Korea...

As a composer and arranger, Jean-Philippe is solicited for various writing projects. In 2009, as part of the "Jazz sur son 31" festival, he produced a creation for trombone and percussion quartet, entitled Nougaro façon trombone, followed by a series of educational concerts in rural homes in the Haute Garonne. In 2013 he was commissioned to arrange and orchestrate a gala piece for the Coup de vent orchestra conducted by Philippe Langlet as part of the final of the Lille International Composition Competition for Wind Band. Finally, he has made arrangements for various medium and large Jazz bands, including the Amazing Keystone big band and septet or the Attica Blues big-band.

Jean-Philippe Scali has been teaching saxophone and jazz piano since 2008. He also supervises the jazz workshops at the Conservatoire à rayonnement communal de Taverny (Val d'Oise) and participates in numerous exam and competition juries.

Photo credits: Solène Person - Jean-Baptiste Millot - Patrick Domeyne