His first musical experience was with the local church choir. Later on, he enrolled at the Bergamo Conservatoire, where he finished his clarinet studies in 1966. He actually specialized in Italian 19th-century music, but upon discovering artists such Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz and most of all Eric Dolphy, he decided to steep himself in jazz.
Since then, he has played with a seemingly endless list of musicians worldwide and won virtually every award in jazz land. He is currently also signed with the famous ECM label.