American born Mike Rossi is Professor Emeritus in Jazz and Woodwinds at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town South Africa. He regularly performs at jazz clubs and jazz festivals and conducts workshops and master-classes in Africa, Europe and the United States.
He was President of the South African Association for Jazz Education (SAJE) from 2012 to 2016. His achievements include numerous recordings, and international stage appearances as leader, soloist, and sideman with Tony Bennett, Dave Liebman, Darius Brubeck, Winston Mankunku Ngozi, George Russell, Clark Terry, Patrick Bebelaar, Massimo Morganti, Roberto Zechini, Alessio Menconi, Hein van de Gyn, Johnny Fourie, Carlo Mombelli, The Boston Big Band, The Artie Shaw Orchestra, The Mike Campbell Big Band and The African Jazz Pioneers, amongst others.
He is an exceptional saxophone and woodwind player, and artist for Rampone & Cazzani Handmade Italian saxophones. He has performed around the globe in small and large ensembles and gives workshops worldwide. As a composer and performer, he has appeared on numerous jazz and classical recordings, and has written a series of method books on jazz improvisation, with translations in other languages, along with many compositions, all published by Advance Music, Schott Music and Edition Gruber. Roots & Routes (containing 12 of his compositions), was published in 2022 by Edition Gruber. He has taken bands to other parts of Africa where he introduces audiences to South African standards and also plays mainstream jazz.
His jazz sextet The Mike Rossi Project has released four CDs and has performed throughout South Africa at various Festivals and jazz venues since 2013. They performed at Guga Sthebe in Langa, Cape Town on International Jazz Day 30 April 2023 and at the inaugural Journey to Jazz Festival in Prince Albert, South Africa in May 2023.
Rossi is the first recipient of the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston.
In 2018 Mike became a Cavaliere - Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy (OSI - Ordine della Stella d'Italia) for promoting and contributing to the arts in South Africa and in Italy especially in the field of jazz and jazz education.
In 2019 he received a special Honors Award from the Joy of Jazz Festival for his contributions to jazz education in South Africa since 1989.
He is a Rampone & Cazzani Saxophone Artist - makers of Hand Made Italian Saxophones performing on the R1 Soprano, R1 Jazz Saxello, R1 Jazz Altello, R1 Jazz Alto and R1 Jazz Tenor.
Since 2011 Rossi has taught annually each summer at the Arcevia Jazz Feast in Marche, Italy.
He has been involved with the Kanazawa Summer Jazz Clinic and the Kanazawa Jazz Street Festival in Japan since 2018.
Rossi currently lives in Fermo, Italy with his wife Diane.
Photo credit: Umberto Bufalini, Pescara 2022