Well, we have to start with the owner of Black Saint, Giovanni Bonandrini. He was a very prominent record collector in Italy. And when Black Saint started, it was owned by a gentleman named Giacomo Pellicciotti, who was a great gentleman.


Giacomo, we were on a train — I was on a train traveling in Europe. And I think I was — we had been to Montreux Jazz Festival, I just performed there. So, Giacomo was a journalist. So, he asked me — we were on the train, he approached me. He said, “Muhal, I’m going to start a label, and I’d like for you to be on the label.” So, I said well, okay, you can contact me when you start the label. So, I just went on and forgot it, you know, I didn’t think anymore about it. So, lo and behold, a few months later he contacted me. So, the very first recording I made with Black Saint was under his auspices, Mr. Giacomo Pellicciotti. And I think it was the duet with Malachi Favors. We recorded it here in New York; just a duet. That was the very first recording.


So, to go on further with this historical path here, Giacomo Pellicciotti — and I think he had a partner that had a record store that was called Black Saint Record Store as I remember. However, they seemed to have gotten to a point where they needed to bring in someone else for financial reasons, okay? I don’t know the real ins and outs of it, but I’ll just say that much, I didn’t know too much about it. However, they brought in Mr. Giovanni Bonandrini, who I mentioned earlier. And eventually, Mr. Bonandrini bought them out, and became the sole owner of Black Saint Records.


And from there, he being a record collector, and a real lover of music — and he was quite knowledgeable, because from listening to the music, he started to record a great many musicians. And well, he just kept — he wanted to like do something for me in terms of helping my career. So, we started this long history of recordings. And that’s how I came about. And well, he’s the person that — in terms of Black Saint Records, he’s the person that is responsible for a lot of great music being distributed all over the world from his label.

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