02/03/06

Romano Mussolini, Dictator's Son and Jazz Musician, Dies

Romano Mussolini, the son of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and an acclaimed jazz pianist, died Friday in Rome. He had recently been hospitalized with kidney and gall bladder problems. He was 78.

Jazz was banned during his father’s reign, but that didn’t stop the younger Mussolini from developing a love for it. As a young man, he wrote jazz reviews for magazines and taught himself how to play piano. After World War II, Mussolini played jazz around Italy, under various aliases. But by the 1960s, he was leading the Italian jazz scene with his band, the Romano Mussolini All-Stars.

Mussolini toured the world and released several albums, including 1963’s acclaimed Jazz Allo Studio 7.

Mussolini spoke and wrote little of his relationship with his infamous father, saying only that they would often perform classical music together. He saw his father for the last time 11 days before the dictator was killed in April 1945.

Mussolini is survived by his second wife, Carla Maria Puccini, and daughters Elisabetta, Rachele and Alessandra, who is the leader of a small right-wing political movement. Mussolini’s first wife was Anna Maria Scicolone, the sister of actress Sophia Loren.

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