Costantino Ladisa was born in Bari, Italy, in 1965. His passion for music took him to study the guitar and subsequently the sax, which became his main instrument. Since 1994 he plays in the band Adika Pongo. He lives in Rome since 1987.
During the 1980s and early 1990s he took part in a number of music projects in Italy, including live appearances on national television.
In 1997, he mixed at the prestigious GRP jazz studios in NY with his Adika Pongo band, including a collaboration with the world- famous guitarist Steve Khan.
In December 2000 he created and directed “Sound Around”, a TV program which was broadcast on eVision, the European satellite channel. The program’s 13 episodes received considerable praise as the first European TV program on music and technology.
Subsequently, he became a contributor as writer and critic, for the well-known “Acting News” movies magazine, as well as for the newly-created Jazz Magazine. Thanks to his in-depth knowledge of music, he also played a role as TV presenter and critic of a number of Jazz and Soul concerts broadcast on RaiSatShow, the satellite channel of the Italian national RAI channel. He has also taught courses on “Television and Technology” under a Master’s program at Rome’s La Sapienza University.
Also during the early 2000s, he looked after the artistic production for the Fingerprints, a then newly-established all-girls-band of young Italian singers.
In 2003 he was writer and arranger of the soundtrack for the documentary “Ne Pas Mourir”, winner of that year’s Roma Doc Fest.
During that time, he also began to compose soundtracks to commercial adverts for a number of retail and consumer products in Italy, in collaboration with other musicians.
Still in 2003, with his Adika Pongo band, he performed in Sardinia with Lionel Richie, and in 2003 and 2004 he created and organised “The Big Party Live Show”: two extended musical tours sponsored by a major Italian insurer, with the participation of a number of national artists, performing throughout the best venues in Italy. A further summer tour undertaken in 2004 was sponsored by a major Italian radio channel, RDS.
During 2004 he also created “Da Nu Jazz Quartet”, a band centred on Smooth Jazz which toured around Italy performing numerous songs by Stevie Wonder, David Sanborn, Michael Jackson, Dave Grusin and many other artists linked to the genre.
In 2005, together with Alessandro Benedetti, he wrote original scores for the soundtrack of a nationally acclaimed Italian movie, “Nessun messaggio in segreteria”. Also in that year he began a collaboration with the original voices of the Chic, Norma Jean Wright and Luci Martin which brought the two artists to Italy for a number of concerts dedicated to Disco Music. In October 2005 he took part in a seminar by the American sax player Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea, GRP Big Band).
In March 2006 he recorded the score to an Italian short called “Non succede mai niente”, which took part in that year’s Venice Film Festival.
In November 2006 he performed with his band, Adika Pongo, at the Pavillhao Atlantico in Lisbon, Portugal, as part of the Disco Fever 2006 Festival, to a crowd of ten thousand, alongside Kool and the Gang.
In 2008 he became the endorser for AKAI’s Electronic Wind Instrument (EWI) and in 2009 he successfully took part in the beta testing program of the French company ARTURIA, BRASS 2.0, as EWI expert.
During 2010 he has written and produced the musical score for the Italian documentary “U Megghie Paise”, broadcasted in Italy and to be released soon on DVD.
During the year he has also performed with the 1984 Grammy Award winning American singer Robbie Dupree for two programmes on Italian national radio and three live concerts (Blue Note-Milan, The Place-Rome, XRoads-Rome).
In late July 2011 Adika Pongo’s first CD was published by the prestigious and renowned British label “Expansion Records”, reaching the 5th place in the UK SOUL CHART and on chart for 8 weeks. The CD will feature songs from their 1997 recordings, as well as new tracks recorded with their current lead vocalist Francy. Among the guest artists, a special mention goes to Norma Jean Wright and Luci Martin (ex vocalists of the remarkable band Chic), Robbie Dupree (nominated for Grammys and twice in the Top Ten on Billboard) and Steve Khan (known for his numerous solo projects and his work with Steely Dan, Weather Report, Brecker Brothers, Dianne Schuur, Donald Fagen et al).
This album was recorded between Rome and New York City. The 1997’s songs were mixed by Michael Landy at the Review Room at GRP in New York and mastered at Sterling Sound by famous engineer Greg Calbi.
In 2012 he wrote some music for another documentary/fiction score called “Non cresce mai l’erba” (on MTV Channel – Italy).
In 2013 he became also endorser of L. A. Ripamonti Saxophones (‘til September 2018) and Drake Mouthpieces. He is also the Italian endorser for the well-known American Microphones AMT.
Always in 2013 he performed in a concert with saxophonists Eric Marienthal and Rocco Ventrella and bassist Tom Kennedy at Teatro Forma in Bari, Italy for a “Smooth Jazz Festival”.
His passion for football has been crowned by being invited to be a member of the new-born amateurfootball team of Italian National Jazz Players, of which he is very proud. Now he’s the President of this team.
In 2015 he became also endorser of Curved Soprano and Tenor “Cannonball” Saxophones. Now he endorses also Alto for the same brand.
In 2016 he created the band “Groovin’ High”, a 4et centred on Funk/Jazz which toured Italy appearing at many Jazz Festivals. During the same year he recorded the song “Don’t Ever Let It Go” for the Italian producer Papik’s album “Smooth Experience” and the song “Tribute To The Music” for Tom Glide album “Divas Got Soul”.
In 2017, he edited for AlfaMusic Jazz label, a compilation entitled “The Italian Smooth Jazz All-Starz” that included also the single track “Love Soldier” written and recorded by his other group Da Nu Jazz 4et. The track was played on many radio stations and web radios.
During the same year, he wrote and produced for his band Adika Pongo a single (“YOU”) which featured, in a duet with their singer Ms. Francy, the American Star Mr. Christopher Williams. The lyrics were written by American singer Sandra St. Victor. The song rapidly climbed many charts all over the world and it is still played on many radios.
He also wrote lyrics and played with his other band Adika Pongo, a song (We Use To Live Together) for the Italian producer Papik’ new album, The Soultrend Orchestra.
From 2016 to 2020 he had the opportunity to share the stage with many well-known artists such as Fred Wesley (JB Horns), Paul Jackson (Headhunters), Vanessa Haynes (Incognito), Frank Mc Comb, Xantonè Blacq, Sandra St. Victor (The Family Stand), Leroy Gomez Santa Esmeralda, David Garfield and Denise King.
He’s writing and producing Adika Pongo’s new album which will feature special guests such as Norma Jean Wright and Luci Martin (former lead vocalists of CHIC) and American singer D-Train among others.
He produced (with saxophonist Gianni Vancini) a new project named “Italian Groove Collective” (out on Dec. 2021) with more than 55 Italian funk/jazz players and International’ guests.
He currently plays with his 3 bands all around Italy.