MASSIMO CUSATO: honest, infectious, passionate, joyous, entrancing, human. “Amazing groove and personality…”says John Blackwell, drummer for Prince. These are just a few of the many adjectives used to described this humble southern Italian musician’s artistry and approach to life.
Massimo Cusato grew up in the culturally rich landscape of Calabria in southern Italy. Music, specifically the ancient sounds of his native Tarantella with its Greek and Arabic influences, was the backdrop of his childhood. It permeated all aspects of his formative years. By the time he was introduced to American Rock, Funk and R&B at the age of 10 he was already fertile soil for the seeds these new sounds would plant in him.
The foundation of his unique sound was formed by his early studies with percussion and drum masters from all over the globe like: Changuito of Cuba, Arnaldo Vacca and master Ettore Mancini of Rome. Massimo was amassing an arsenal of rhythms both traditional and contemporary to develop what he would later coin “Mediterranean Funk”. He further developed this sound within his band, Quartaumentata, which gave him the platform to experiment and incorporate all styles of world music using his unique multi drum set. Playing both the tamburello and his drum set simultaneously helped him produce the sound of multiple players. He also incorporated the use of other percussion instruments such as the conga and cowbell to add new dimensions to his multi-layered sound. His sound has the flavors of early Motown, 70’s funk, traditional Tarantella, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Rock rhythms creating as Gordon Gottlieb percussionist for Julliard says, “…a swinging, fiery groove stew”.
Mediterranean Funk is a dynamic, exhilarating, and captivating rhythm that gets under your skin and deep down in your bones. A sound so intoxicating it puts you under its spell and you’re swept up in its irresistible groove. And at the center of it all is Massimo Cusato, percussionist and drummer extraordinaire.