Session pianist and keyboardist. Jazz and pop arranger for different instrumental and vocal ensembles. Arrangements for strings, wind and brass ensembles, vocal groups and vocal backgrounds to pop songs.
I was born in Desenzano del Garda (Italy) on August 28, 1991. I started piano lessons at age 11. After classical piano and composition studies, I dedicated myself to improvised music, Jazz and electric keyboards, exploring contemporary sonorities.
I graduated in Jazz Piano at the Conservatory of Milan in 2015 with a dissertation on Chick Corea and the Fender Rhodes. During my academic years I specialized in electronic keyboards and synthesizers.
I took part to several masterclasses with artist such as Franco D’Andrea, Sandro Gibellini, Efrain Toro, Bob Moses, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade, Jorge Rossy and Dave Liebman.
I'm founder of BARBA NEGRI ZILIANI, contemporary jazz trio and EKE (Electric Keys Experiment), experimental group of electronic music and contemporary jazz.
I work as session musician (piano, rhodes, hammond and synthesizers) for jazz, rock, pop and classical music recordings.
I love to record music for artists of all kinds. In my studio I have a Boston Steinway Piano, a Fender Rhodes Mark V, a Hammond T-1 organ, a Farfisa Pianorgan, a Moog Subphatty, a Nord Electro 3 and a Mikrokorg.
When I'm not playing or recording I love playing tennis, hiking in the mountains, travelling, eating great food and drinking good whiskey and a pint of Guinness.
Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.
3 ReviewsEndorse Riccardo Barba
I asked Riccardo to write the arrangements for the horn section of my album. What can I say, he gave a touch of beauty with careful professionalism, taking each song to a higher level. In my album he also played the piano and keyboards, showing himself available, very prepared, and using quality and professional instruments. I highly recommend!
I contacted Riccardo to create an arrangement for a folk-rock song of which I had only composed an idea of voice and acoustic guitar. Riccardo's work was fast but also very precise and professional, he inserted very fitting ideas and harmonies, he immediately understood the meaning I wanted to give to the song.
I committed Riccardo for a solo piano session on a song I've written. Fast delivery and professional service from my first message to the end of the work. High-quality grand piano recording, already mixed. Really happy with Riccardo's interpretation of the song.
Hope to work with him again soon. Bravo!
Interview with Riccardo Barba
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm working on a big project of musical classics for concert band and SATB choir; an Italian songwriter album; a suite for piano and mandolin and my new trio album release.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both. Because you can't exclude one of these two aspects of music production nowadays. You can work smart both in one and the other.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise to help you create a unique sound and arrangement for your song.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Creativity and the different possibilities of sound when you work with several artists, songwriters or bands.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Q: Can you write something similar to ....? A: Yes, I can. But remember that while inspiration and sound palette is important, I will never shamelessly copy a thing without using my brain. That's not my cup of tea. Q: How many revisions can I ask? A: It depends on the job and on the type of revisions. Usually I give two revisions, but if you ask me to change a chord or a single rhythm, I will not consider it as a revision.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: To think that styles and genres are clearly separated. An artist doesn't have to think and imagine in compartments but spread his/her imagination towards new genres and sound. If you have a good idea, look for a good arranger to get it done and a good arranger doesn't have boundaries of style.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Tell me about your idea of sound for your song. Which instruments and style do you have in mind? Do you want it to be riffing or to be plain (like a pad)? Other technical and specific questions.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Don't bother asking me anything. I love music, but most of all I love good music written and played with heart, precision and care. We can do great things together. Ask me anything you want, tell me about your idea and we will find a way.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My piano. My headphones. My iPod (nostalgic). My Moog. My Irish whistle (I love Ireland)
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've been working on piano recording and arranging since I was 15. I've studied classical piano and composition; after that I graduated in Jazz Piano at the Conservatory of Milan. My first arrangement and recording session were for gospel choirs and city bands. Then I started playing a lot of rock and pop music and in my 20s I dedicated myself to jazz and classical concerts and various type of arrangements.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My style is a collection of different genres. I had a rigorous classical training in piano and composition; everything I've learned, studied and loved is in my style. From jazz big band style to great orchestras or string quartet and wind ensemble.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would like to work with a lot of artists. My dream-artists are Joni Mitchell, Brad Mehldau, Sting, Paolo Conte. Among the new artists I'd rellay like to work with Billie Eilish.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Always try to connect with the musical idea of a particular piece. There you find infinite possibilities to create a unique sound. The idea is everything.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work on jazz, pop, rock and classical. I've worked on some hip-hop projects, too.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I can find a peculiar sound or musical phrase or particular orchestration to help your song be unique.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring my ideas and my experience gained through years of live concert playing, arrangements for several ensemble, genres and situation and my never-ending passion.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to have a Skype call with the artist (if we can't meet in person) and discuss the work. I always try to put myself into the artist's vision to create an intuitive and productive workflow. Then I start writing ideas for the arrangements in the given style. After writing the arrangement I send an audio file for the artist to listen. After this, we proceed with corrections and changes. To record a session with piano or other keyboards I use a similar procedure.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I've got a wide range of different keyboards and sound libraries I use to write and record. I use Sibelius Ultimate to write scores and parts of arrangements and other works. I usually work with Cubase to record but I'm used to working with Logic X and Ableton Live. As a audio interface I use a Fireface. I play and record on a Steinway Boston Grand Piano 178. I also have a Fender Rhodes Mark V, Moog Subphatty, Hammond Organ T1, Farfisa Pianorgan, Nord Piano 2, Nord Electro 3, Behringer Crave, Mikrokorg Vocoder.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Talking about arrangement, I am inspired by Vince Mendoza, Marty Paich, Nelson Riddle and Quincy Jones. I love to merge genres and styles to create new sound palettes and give the song a unique sound. My favorite session pianist and keyboardists are Greg Phillinganes, Richard Tee and Billy Preston.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: The kind of work I find myself doing most often is arrange and compose for instrumental and vocal ensemble in several styles and genres. My specialization is jazz, pop and classical music. I work as an arranger for artists who wants their album or their single to have a peculiar characterization of their sound, adding strings, brass, wind, vocal groups or other ensemble to their song. I'm also a session pianist and keyboardist.