Published Dec 11, 2020Italian library hero Sandro Brugnolini has died. News broke late this evening that the maestro — known for library classics such as Feelings, Underground and Overground — passed away earlier today. He was 89.
While a cause of death has yet to be revealed, Sonor Music Editions — which reissued multiple Brugnolini projects — announced the sad news today.
"We have to tell some really sad news. Maestro Sandro Brugnolini passed away today at the age of 89," the label wrote. "It hurts us deeply because we had a special relationship with the Maestro since our collaboration started in 2012, before we founded the Sonor Music Editions label.
"He truly represented one of the closest relationship that our label have ever had with one of the original protagonists of Italian golden scene. We cannot thank you enough for everything. Thank you maestro, we will continue to keep high the work together and the great music with which you have honoured us. Ciao Sandro."
Born on December 1, 1931, in Rome, Brugnolini got his start in jazz in the '50s as a saxophone player. By 1956, he became a member of the famed Italian combo Modern Jazz Gang, arranging and writing most of the group's material. Alongside other famed members such as Amedeo Tommasi, Cicci Santucci and Enzo Scoppa, Brugnolini led the group on their debut 1960 album Miles Before and After, which has since gone on to become a true cult classic among Italian jazz lovers.
In 1963, Brugnolini worked on the soundtrack to Enzo Battaglia's film Gli Arcangeli alongside the Modern Jazz Gang, as well as famed singer Helen Merrill.
By the mid-'60s, Brugnolini began to branch out from the world of jazz as he embarked on a solo career, and it's here where left a very lasting mark on the golden age of Italian library music.
In fact, he helped record likely the most beloved library effort ever with 1974's Feelings, originally credited to Jay Richford & Gary Stevan. Later reissues of the album would be credited to Stefano Torossi, though Torossi recorded the album alongside Brugnolini, Giancarlo Gazzani and Puccio Roelens. Only just earlier this year, Sonor unearthed the "twin sessions" to Feelings called Musica Per Commenti Sonori.
Beyond Feelings, Brugnolini frequently worked with Torossi on a variety of library productions. This included 1969's Musica Per Commenti Sonori, which gifted the world to the heavily sampled "Sweet-Beat." Such albums found Brugnolini venturing deep into the worlds of psychedelic rock and prog, often employing some seriously fuzzed-out guitar work.
This could be heard on his classic pair of 1970 albums Underground and Overground — both of which became cult classics among collectors and went on to receive reissues in recent years. Brugnolini's Superground, which was recorded during this same period yet remained unreleased, only just got its first-ever release in 2019 via Four Flies.
Brugnolini also continued to work in the worlds of soundtracks during the late '60s and '70s. His L'Uomo Dagli Occhiali A Specchio from 1975 emerged as a fan favourite over the years and was treated to a reissue via Cinedelic in 2015, while his 1968 score for Fantabulous got a reissue from Four Flies in 2015 as well.
Beyond Brugnolini's love for jazz and psych, he ventured heavily into the world of electronics and recorded several synth-fuelled library albums, often under his Narassa moniker. Earlier this year, this side of Brugnolini's was highlighted on the compilation Abstract Forms by the Musica Per Immagini label.
Outside Brugnolini's career in music, he worked as a parliamentary reporter from 1967 to 1993, as well as a music critic for many years. In fact, several reissues of his work found Brugnolini writing the liner notes himself, offering up personal and insightful takes into his process.
Down below, you can find Sonor's post about Brugnolini's passing, as well as multiple highlights from his long and storied career.