Guitar virtuoso Matteo Mancuso will release his debut album, “The Journey”, on July 21st via The Players Club/Mascot Label Group. He has revealed the first track from the album, “Drop D,” which you can listen to below.
Mancuso hails from Sicily, nestled in the Mediterranean Sea to the South of Italy. The island has always had a rich cultural heritage, from poets, writers, philosophers, and architects to painters and musicians. Born in 1996 and raised just outside the capital Palermo, the pedigree runs deep in the veins of those from the region.
At 12, Matteo took his first steps onto the stage at a local jazz festival. Since then, his acquaintance with live performances has seen him blossom and develop through various line-ups and collaborations with the finest local musicians, including a duo with his father, where they explore the complexities of Django Reinhart‘s repertoire and contemporary jazz classics. As a multi-faceted player, either classical or electric, what is astounding is his one-of-a-kind technique and use of his fingers instead of regular picking.
As a YouTube sensation, his channel is now at 142k subscribers, with his international fan-base growing, which includes some of the world’s most iconic, ground-breaking players who are declaring Matteo as a force to be reckoned with, from Dweezil Zappa to Joe Bonamassa, Steve Vai to Al Di Meola and Tosin Abasi. In 2017, as part of a trio called Snips, Matteo and his band-mates took on more jazz-rock and fusion elements; their version of “The Chicken” hit 2.2 million views on YouTube.
“The evolution of guitar is firmly secure in the hands of these kinds of players… it’s just a new level, the tone, the touch, the notes!” – Steve Vai
“An absolute talent; his improvisational ability is light years ahead. It would take two or three lifetimes. It was like when Jacko (Pastorius) came on the scene…how did he get so good and so fast?” – Al Di Meola.
“There’s this Italian kid on the internet; his name is Matteo Mancuso. He’s 20 or something. I mean, he’s a virtuoso beyond virtuosos.” Tosin Abasi
“All the kids are talking about it, and I blanked when answering who my new favorite guitarist is… here he is, Matteo Mancuso. I have not seen anyone reinvent like this since Stanley Jordan” Joe Bonamassa.
Pre-order “The Journey” HERE.
His debut album of nine original songs was recorded at Fico d’India Studios Casteldaccia, Sicily, by his father, Vincenzo Mancuso – a gifted player who also played on the record and co-wrote two songs, “Polifemo” and “Blues For John.” The album also features Stefano India (Bass) and Guiseppe Bruno (Drums), with additional musicians Riccardo Oliva (Bass), Gianluca Pellerito (Drums) and Guiseppe Vasapolli (Piano/Organ).
Mancuso began writing songs for the album around 2020. “I didn’t really have a specific concept behind the album, but I wanted to do something that wasn’t associated with only one genre, so there are some rock-oriented songs like Drop D and some modern Jazz tunes like Polifemo,” he says.
“Drop D” was one of the first songs written for the album, which pays tribute to his teens’ hard rock and prog influences such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Yes, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Dream Theater. “It is a mix of typical rock and prog elements and one of the most fun songs to play live,” he says. On “Samba Party,” he adds. “This is a strange one because, musically speaking, it doesn’t have anything to do with the samba style, but I wanted to write a happy “major chord” song, and the thing I usually connect with giant happy parties with a lot of people is the carnival in Rio de Janeiro, so, that’s why “Samba Party.”
He has recently performed with Tommy Emmanuel in Palermo, he’s shared the stage with Al Di Meola on classical guitar at the closing night of the Eddie Lang Jazz Festival and played at the Lugano Jazz Festival in Switzerland as a guest with prog-rockers PFM and an incredible performance at the New Ross Guitar Festival in Ireland.
2023 is now where “The Journey” really begins. From the age of 12, when he took his first steps onto a stage in Sicily, has all led to this moment – the precocious talent which led to the youngster becoming a YouTube sensation, to the acclaim from some of the finest guitarists of their time, to the stages graced across Europe and the ones he has shared with icons, to this moment – his debut album release of nine deftly beautiful guitar instrumentals.
“I just want people to hear it,” he enthuses. “Music has always been my favorite form of communication, and the thing I love about instrumental music is that there isn’t a language barrier. I’m sure that people that don’t usually listen to instrumental music can find something interesting from this album.”
Matteo Mancuso will no longer be Italy’s best-kept musical secret. It’s time to share with the world.