"Paolo has always been a gifted, swinging, sensitive drummer and all around musician. He also possesses a brilliant mind and he is a great teacher."
Paolo Orlandi is a jazz drummer and educator. During his career, Paolo has played with some of the most influential jazz musicians on the scene, taught university-level courses on the history and aesthetic of African-American music and lived in three continents.
After the first playing experiences and the completion of his studies at the Milan-based Scuola Civica with his teacher and mentor Tony Arco, Paolo moves to New York. He will spend more than ten years there, playing with many resident musicians and teaching at the City College of New York, where he has earned his Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance. He also advances his drums studies with Nasheet Waits, Adam Cruz, Tony Moreno and Portinho.
While in New York, Paolo collaborates with legendary bassist John Patitucci joining bands featuring the likes of John Ellis, John Coward, Gerald Clayton, Helen Sung, Gretchen Parlato, Rogerio Boccato, Dado Moroni and Myron Walden. He also plays with Anthony Wonsey, Ed Cherry, Marco Pignataro, Marco Panascia, Mike Holober, Franco Cerri among many others. As the leading drummer of the CCNY Jazz Big Band, he shares the stage with Dave Liebman and John Abercrombie.
In 2013 Paolo moves to Lebanon with his family. He is quickly offered a position as Assistant Visiting Professor at the American University of Beirut, where he spearheaded the introduction of courses such as African American and Hip-Hop music and creates his own festival, Jazz Talks, aimed at promoting musical culture among students and the Beirut community at large. This is an opportunity for him to delve into the music of the Middle East, to enrich his portfolio and to establish partnerships with some of the best musicians from the Mediterranean and Arab area.
Currently, Paolo lives with his twin daughters and wife in the Rhône-Alpes region of France, at the border with Switzerland. where he keeps a successful career as a free-lance musician and carries on several projects. A member of the Milan-based Simone Daclon Trio along with bassist Marco Vaggi, he also collaborates with Grammy-nominated pianist Giovanni Ceccarelli and is the co-leader of a duo with Berlin-based saxophonist Ben Kraef. Paolo plays and endorses Canopus drums.
“Paolo Orlandi plays with a true mastery of the drums and a deep and soulful connection with the music. His musicianship and feeling come from a real understanding of the jazz tradition and a remarkable sense of freedom and creativity, unique only to great musicians.”
Marco Pignataro, Managing Director @Berklee Global Jazz Institute
“I have had the pleasure of knowing , teaching , performing with and watching Paolo Orlandi develop over many years now. He has always been a gifted , swinging , sensitive, drummer and all around musician. He also posesses a brilliant mind and is a great teacher . In the many decades i have taught , he is on top of my list for all around greatest former student. The proof is that i have used him to play with me in concerts on various occasions over the years. He ALWAYS makes me proud of who he has always been and who he is becoming!”
“Paolo is a musician who really listens, I always enjoy very much playing with him. I love his touch on the drums, and that truly makes the difference!”
“Every teacher in any field hopes that, sooner or later, that "special" student will show up, usually looking and thinking like an older guy in the body of a kid. Alan Dawson had Tony Williams, Joe Morello had Danny Gottlieb, and the list goes on.....In my case my "special one" has been Paolo Orlandi. Right away I knew that he would eventually join the musical world at the highest level. He has talent, smartness, and dedication (never failed a lesson). I'm proud to see that I was not wrong.”