He was born on August 4, 1962 in Palermo, Italy and began playing the piano at the age of four; at first he was self-taught, but later he received classical lessons and in 1973 entered the Conservatory of Music in Palermo. As a teenager he started gigging with local groups and big-bands, accompanied several visiting American Stars, worked in the orchestra for a number of theatrical performances as well as appearing on national Radio and Television programs. Bonafede's early influences were McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea, and he also become steeped in the work of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, and Charles Mingus.
In 1986 Salvatore Bonafede won a scholarship to Berklee College, where he graduated three years later. Since living in Boston, Mass. He joined the Jerry Bergonzi Quartet with whom he toured Australia (1987-88), and tought a clinic at Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.). In 1989 Bonafede moved to New York where he led his own groups and performed as a sideman with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Dewey Redman, Joshua Redman, Lew Tabackin and Joe Lovano with whom he performed at Town Hall.
In 1990 Salvatore started recording for the japanese label Ken Music as a leader and composer: his first CD, "Actor-Actress", has been intenationally well-received by the critics and voted "A" by The Village Voice; he also recorded with Marc Johnson, Paul Motian, Paolo Fresu, Judi Silvano, Randy Brecker, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Jerry Bergonzi, Tim Beme, Michael Formanek. In 1991 magazine Musica Jazz voted him top young player of the year.
Bonafede moved back to Italy in 1994 and worked with Lester Bowie, Tom Harrell, Bobby Watson, and John Scofield, with whom he toured in 1995. Then he took part in a number of major european festivals with a 12-piece band led by Joe Lovano. Other leaders with whom Salvatore Bonafede has performed include saxophonists Sam Rivers, Steve Grossman, Lee Konitz, Bob Berg, Archie Shepp, Bamey Wilen, George Garzone; trumpeters Enrico Rava, Eddie Henderson, Jack Walrath, Franco Ambrosetti, Jimmy Owens; drummers Mel Lewis, Aldo Romano; vocalists David Allyn, Norma Winstone, Sheila Jordan; conductors Pete Rugolo, Ernie Wilkins, Toshiko Akiyoshi.
Salvatore Bonafede is also active in jazz education, teaching at the Conservatory in Reggio Calabria, Italy and conducting workshops and clinics as well as recording and performing intemationally with his own duos and trios.
EDUCATION AND STUDIES
Berklee College of Music - Boston, Mass. Diploma (1989)
Conservatory of Music "V. Bellinini" - Palermo, Italy. Diploma in Theory and solfege (1979)
Private studies with: Jerry Bergonzi, Alan Dawson, Dave Holland, Charlie Banacos, Paul Bley, Andy LaVeme, Hal Galper, Richie Beirach, Lee Konitz
Billy Cobham, Norma Winstone, Sam Rivers, Paul Jeffrey, Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, Ernie Wilkins, Steve Grossman, Benny Bailey, Bob Berg, Lew Tabackin, Archie Shepp, Tony Scott, Ray Mantilla, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Barney Wilen, Judi Silvano, Jimmy Owens, Larry Schneider, Joe Lovano, Charlie Mariano, Han Bennink, Luis Agudo, Tom Harrell, Dewey Redman, Ricky Ford, Jerry Bergonzi, Franco Ambrosetti, Rufus Reid, Pete Rugolo, Lester Bowie, Mick Goodrick, John Scofield, Aldo Romano, Paolo Fresu, Enrico Rava, Bobby Watson, Jack Walrath, Carlos Ward, Kenny Burrell, Charles Davis, George Garzone, Eddie Henderson, Sheila Jordan, Lee Konitz.
Jazz time, Croatia - 1998
Kongsberg Jazz Festival, Norwey - 1997
Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Denmark - 1997
North Sea Jazz Festival, Holland - 1997
Jazz Fest Wien, Austria - 1997
Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland - 1997
Pori Jazz, Finland - 1997
Istanbul Jazz Festival, Turkey - 1997
La Coruna Jazz Festival, Spain - 1995
Jazz is Toulon, France - 1995
Brooklyn Lager Festival, New York, N. Y. - 1992
Umbria Jazz, Italy - 1992
Oupeye-Jazz au chateau, Belgium - 1991
Melboume-Moomba F estival, Australia - 1989
Conservatory of Music "A.Scontrino" - Trapani, Italy (2002-present)
Conservatory of Music "F.Cilea" - Reggio Calabria, Italy (1997-2002)
"Jazz nights" - Lagnau I.E., Switzerland (1995)
The Concord Community Music School - Concord, New Hampshire (1989)
South Australian C.A.E. (School of Music) - Adelaide, Australia (1989)
Harvard University - Cambridge, Massachussetts (1988)
"Top record of the year" - Musica Jazz Magazine, Italy (2001)
Third place winner (jazz record category) - Musica&Dischi Magazine, Italy (2001)
"Top young player of the year" - Musica Jazz Magazine, Italy (1991)
Third place winner (jazz category) KFC Billboard Song Contest, USA (1990)