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February 04, 2006

Romano Mussolini.

Just a little personal bit. Romano Mussolini has died.

ALTHOUGH he was one of Italy’s leading jazz musicians, playing the piano at an international level in a mainstream style, it is probable that Romano Mussolini owed some of his fame to also being the third son of the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

Although he seldom talked about his upbringing until his later years, he had fond memories of family life at the recently reopened Villa Torlonia in Rome, where, as a boy, he lunched daily in the ornate neoclassical mansion with his father, his brothers, Vittorio and Bruno, and his sisters, Edda and Anna Maria.
In 1963, leading his own band once more, Mussolini won the Italian critics’ album of the year prize for
Jazz at Studio 7. At the same time, his style began to move from the cool West Coast modern jazz favoured by Gullin and Baker to more romantic fare, and by the following decade he was recording moody albums such as Mirage and Soft and Swing, leavened by his occasional high-octane jam sessions with the expatriate US clarinettist Tony Scott, who had settled in Rome.
However, his name was more widely known in recent years for his controversial writings on his father, and through the high-profile right-wing political career of his daughter, Alessandra, a member of the Alternativa Sociale party, a parliamentary deputy for Naples and an MEP. Her mother was Mussolini’s first wife, Maria Scicolone, the sister of the actress Sophia Loren. He had a second daughter, Elisabetta with Scicolone, and a third, Rachele, by his second wife, the actress Carla Puccini. All three daughters survive him.

I don’t have a very good memory of my childhood (no, nothing wrong with it at all, just not that many things I really remember) but seeing Romano Mussolini play piano is one of them. I think it was almost certainly with that American clarinettist, Tony Scott.

We were living in Naples at the time, I would have been about 8 I suppose, maybe 9, and we lived in the next village over from the one that Sophia Loren’s family came from (she was from Pozzuoli, we were just outside Arco Felice...and think, marrying into that family but taking the other sister!).

Father was posted to the NATO base in Bagnoli and off we went one night to see some jazz at the Officer’s Club. Even at this distance I remember sitting there and thinking (as I wasn’t all that much into the actual music) how slightly odd this was. Watching and listening to Il Duce’s son in the middle of a military base.

No, I agree, nothing very important.

February 4, 2006 in Music | Permalink


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Chet Baker to RM : - "Sorry about your dad".

Tony Scott is still alive & playing, incidentally. Still in Europe somewhere.

Posted by: dave heasman | Feb 7, 2006 11:18:58 AM

This was a wonderful read! Many thanks for taking the time to post this.


Posted by: Rudolph Carrera | Apr 16, 2006 10:47:56 AM