Over the past few years I have been fortunate to embark on several exciting musical projects that have enriched me artistically and personally.

As a composer I have always made a point of exploring and pushing the boundaries of my own writing, trying to create different moods within my pieces by combining traditional and more contemporary harmony and focusing on a strong use of melody and groove with the additional use of odd time signatures.

Composers and musicians from Maurice Ravel and Cannonball Adderley to Ennio Morricone, Joshua Redman and Stevie Wonder are a continuous inspiration for what I'm trying to achieve musically.

To me a composition is powerful and magical when it mmediately sets a mood and takes the audience on a journey creating vivid images in their minds. This pulls an emotional trigger and the music stays with me for a long time - this is the goal I strive to achieve each time I start a project and complete a recording.

After a few albums recorded in quartets or lager groups I felt it was time to work on a duo album and Michele Di Toro couldn't have been a better choice for this project. A long time partner in my Italian Quartet, across the many years of collaborating we have developed a sensitive understanding of each others approach to music and seem to enjoy working together. 'From a Distant Past' is the result of this partnership.

'Italian Short Stories' is my debut recording with my Italian Quartet released on EmArcy/Universal.

My passion for cinema and music related to images continues. After 9 years since my last album dedicated to the humorous photos of Elliott Erwitt I decided it was time to get back and compose originals on the beautiful black and white photos of Berengo Gardin, Italy's most celebrated photographer.

The quartet was proud to guest on the CD award winning trumpeter Paolo Fresu.

'Celebrating the Music of Michel Petrucciani' is my 5th release as a band leader and the second one recorded with my Italian Quartet - the CD is dedicated to the great French virtuoso pianist. After a year of concerts performing Petrucciani's tunes we decided it was time for us to get back in the studio and record a few of his most notorious compositions made famous worldwide by his charismatic concerts.

Two exceptional musicians are guests on the recording: the great trumpeter Fabrizio Bosso and long time friend and great vibraphonist Roger Beaujolais.

'Blood & Champagne' was recorded in 2010 with my UK Quartet, and I'm really fortunate and happy to have managed to feature well established and talented UK jazz artists. The line up comprises: Frank Harrison on piano, Laurence Cottle on electric bass, Chris Nickolls on drums.

Combining sound and images is something that has always intrigued me, hence the desire and interest in the year 2005 in creating the Elliott Erwitt project where jazz compositions are a direct inspiration from the iconic images of this Magnum photographer.

What I found really exciting in this project was the discovery of how an image can easily evoke a musical idea in ones' mind that otherwise wouldn't necessarily materialise.

This concept was already used by the great composer Mussorgsky who wrote 'Pictures at an Exhibition', watercolour paintings by V. Hartman inspiring the moods of different movements written by the Russian composer. This idea has also been used conversely: sounds inspiring the brush strokes of artists such as Kandinski with Schonberg or music played on the set of a movie to help the actors get into their characters (as was the case of Sergio Leone's 'Once Upon a Time In America') where Ennio Morricone's music was played while the actors recited their parts.