Photo by Matt Perko
Bobby Ferrazza was born in Cleveland and began studying guitar at 15, after developing a passion for music from listening to rock and the popular music of the time. Soon after, Ferrazza branched out dramatically into many diverse forms of music, including classical, blues, ragtime, and bluegrass.
It wasn't until he heard a George Benson record, however, that Ferrazza started to concentrate his efforts on jazz—an entirely new genre to him. After playing for less than a year, Ferrazza sought out jazz guitar legend Bill deArango for lessons.
DeArango had been a star in the 1940s, having played with all of the greats of those days: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Ben Webster, and many others. The lessons with deArango were extremely formative for Ferrazza, who went on to study music at Cleveland State University. Other lessons followed with jazz guitar greats such as Joe Pass and Pat Martino.
A professional musician for more than 25 years, Ferrazza has performed all over the United States and beyond, concertizing with some of the most celebrated jazz musicians in the world, including: Donald Byrd, Joey DeFrancesco, Joe Lovano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, J.J. Johnson, Slide Hampton, Curtis Fuller, Billy Hart, Robin Eubanks, Gary Bartz, Dan Wall, Marcus Belgrave, Clark Terry, Steve Turre, Bill Watrous, Jack McDuff, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Greg Bandy, Ernestine Anderson, and Vanessa Rubin.
All of these musical experiences, both educational and professional, have instilled in Ferrazza the passion to pass music on to others and to teach. He has taught at the Oberlin Conservatory since 1988. He also taught at the Interlochen Arts Academy from 1992-96.
Ferrazza can be heard on numerous recordings, including Rare Beauty and The Way I Like It for the Koch Jazz label, and Beauty Surrounds Us on Oberlin Music.