His music is a fusion of World music and Jazz fusion, rooted in Neapolitan traditions and characteristic dialect yet totally contemporary and cosmopolitan.
Born in Naples (Italy), Avitabile started playing saxophone as an autodidact as ten years old.
He began his career in the GI jazz bars of Naples, soaking up American jazz, blues and rock, whilst cultivating a remarkably open ear and an enticing sax technique.
A diploma in music from the Conservatory of San Pietro a Maiella lead him to a brillant career as a session musician and solo artist, with several highly acclaimed solo albums and stints with artists like Tina Turner, James Brown, Pino Daniele and Afrika Bambaata.
BBC Radio 3 well describes his music activity with Bottari band:
“In 1996 he began his return to the roots by writing songs about the poor and marginalised of his native city in a Neapolitan dialect. This fascination for the deeply religious and yet enticingly pagan and carnivalesque folklore of the Campania region eventually lead him to the bottari, or barrel-beaters of Portico di Caserta. In the early middle ages, the able-bodied men of this small village would gather to ‘beat’ out the demons from their fields and granaries, in order to ensure a good harvest. Their instruments were botti, tini e falci, or barrels, vats and sickles, and the noise they made was truly deafening…imagine a cross between the Drummers of Burundi and Ghostbusters”.
With his Bottari lineup, he was nominated for the prestigious “Audience Award” in the 2005 BBC Awards for World Music.
In 2012 he was the subject of Jonathan Demme’s docu-movie “Enzo Avitabile Music Life”.
In that same year he recorded “Black Tarantella”, an award winning record that features duets and collaborations with outstanding international artists from Europe, America and Africa like David Crosby, Bob Geldof, Francesco Guccini and Franco Battiato among others.
His last studio album “Lotto Infinito” – released in 2016 – is been followed in 2017 by “La malaeducazione” hit single featuring Gue’ Pequeno.