Born as Marcello Olmari in Corbetta, Italy on 16 June 1940, Gil Ventura joined the beat band the Bo Bo’s Band in the 1960’s. The following decade he was signed to EMI Records in Italy, who saw the potential of this virtuoso of saxophone. At the time, Fausto Papetti, another saxophonist signed to Durium Records, had three hit albums every year with his instrumental versions of hit songs. In 1972, Gil Ventura released ‘Sax Club Number 1’, the first in a series of albums that would continue until 1982 in a total of 22 albums. Adding to the music, the albums all featured a nude woman on the sleeve, in keeping with the style of the 1970’s.
Gil Ventura records were arranged very well and played a lot. The friendly competition between the two saxophonists inflamed the public purchaser of records, who waited for the release of their LP’s to decide who had arranged better a piece of music and who had done the best performance with the Sax. Also the albums of Gil Ventura were composed of the best melodies and the best songs of those years, including the film soundtracks and the leaders of RAI tv programmes, naturally rearranged for saxophone and large orchestra. In 1978, his ‘Sax Club Number 18’ featured a cover version of Wuthering Heights.
In the second half of the 1980’s, Gil Ventura released a handful of albums, but after this, his popularity waned. On 17 May 2016 he passed away in Varese, Italy.
- Gil Ventura. Wikipedia (Italian), retrieved 10 October 2018.