Born in the south of Italy, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Francesco Lo Castro was musically influenced by the British music scene and in particular by The Cure, Smiths, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton and Siouxie and the Banshees. Aged 25 he started studying guitar and jazz developing his style and technique under the tutoring of the great jazz guitar maestro Gianni Cataleta. In 2004 he decided to quit work and economic studies to fully focus on music. Two years later he graduated in Music Performance at Thames Valley University and in the same year he won both the Best Guitarist Award at the Guitar Institute in London and the Vice Chancellor Award at TVU which granted him a Master Degree in Music Performance. In his early formation years to foot the bills he played around 180-200 gigs a year in a variety of styles and contests including funk and rock functions, solo jazz guitar concerts or within various jazz groups and corporate events.
ABOUT STYLE AND TECHNIQUE
Francesco Lo Castro’s guitar style suggests an intriguing and smooth combination of melodic italian tradition and visual sound-scapes fused with jazz harmony, jazz scales and chords. Combining his love for guitar with his creativity as composer and producer he created a body of original music that blurs the boundaries in-between a modern approach to composing, while still being respectful of the jazz standards tradition, and improvised music. As he pointed out “On one side I love jazz and its great traditions and masters while on the other I am very aware of where I came from and of my need to try and push music boundaries as opposed to kind of play safe… It might make things harder but it is worth trying and makes being a jazz musician an exiting thing.” In other words Francesco Lo Castro enjoys the idea that in today’s music scene we don’t have to define everything, hence he produced contrasting albums such for example “Electric Affairs” (A collection of pieces for electric guitar and programming), “Songs For Duke” (A duo guitar/piano album) and “Chasing Beauty” (An orchestrated large ensemble with a hint of folk music).
WITH WHO AND WHERE
Aside from his solo work as jazz artist he has a long standing collaboration, as guitarist and musical director, with international multi-platinum recording artist Patrizio Buanne with whom he has toured the USA, Australia, Asia, Europe and Sounth Africa. He has also recorded for Geoff Wilkinson (Us3) and performed with Jim Mullen, Francesco Mendolia (Incognito), great italian trumpeter Fulvio Sigurta’, Roberto Manzin (James Brown), two times Grammy Award Winner Eric DeFade, Matteo Becucci (XFactor Italy winner 2009), jazz award winner singer Michela Lombardi, Maurizio Minardi and Bruno D’Ambra among others. In his career so far he has performed in prestigious venues and festivals. Among others the Montreal Jazz Festival, Hamer Hall (Melbourne), The State Theater (Sydney), The Concert Hall (New York), the Expo Center (Singapore), The Berklee Performance Center (Boston), the Benedum (Pittsburgh), Barbican Center (London), O2 Arena (London), the Pisa Jazz Festival and Palatrussardi Arena (Milan).
WHERE WE ARE NOW
Having funded his own record and publishing label (Flocastro Records) Francesco has release 6 successful albums under his own name plus one with the DLC Project (see Discography). At the time of writing “Dresden” from the album “Chasing Beauty” is listed in the Top 200 “Most Downloaded of all times” chart compiled by the prestigious All About Jazz, USA.
In recent years, given his versatility as electric and acoustic guitarist, and given the experience he gained as recording artist, producer and sound engineer of his own albums, he started offering online session and production services. Since 2009 he is also lecturing in Music Business, Music Industry, Guitar and Songwriting on the BA Courses held by the Academy of Music and Sound (Wolverhampton University) and he is currently collaborating with Dutch artist and writer Rosalie Genay, as co-writer, guitarist and producer, on the production of a songwriting oriented album.