His acquaintance with the Americans and their music gave a definitive push on Piero as a jazz pianist, As early as 1951 he would go to Milan for recordings and in 1954 along some other jazz musician friends Umiliani ventured on an over six month Norwegian tour with the Masseglias jazz band.
Following this tour a brief return to his native Florence, than Rome where he was very soon hired by brothers Paolo and Emilio Taviani to score their PITTORI IN CITTA` documentary, this was Umiliani's first real scoring for a picture. Shortly afterwards Mario Monicelli contacted him for what would be the first completely jazz score in Italian cinema, namely I SOLITI IGNOTI. Than came L'AUDACE COLPO DEI SOLITI IGNOTI, Pasolini's ACCATTONE, IL VIGILE, A CAVALLO DELLA TIGRE. 5 BAMBOLE PER LA LUNA D'AGOSTO, LA RAGAZZA DALLA PELLE DI LUNA, SVEZIA INFERNO E PARADISO (containing his legendary song MAH NA MAH NA) LA PUPA DEL GANGSTER and much more. Umiliani composed over 150 film soundtracks in his career. He also worked for radio and television and it was a television show called THE MUPPET SHOW (for which the MAH NA MAH NA song was used) that made Umiliani's name ride the wave at the top of many charts.
He helped form the style of the typical European 1960s and 1970s jazz influenced film soundtrack, that later experienced a revival in films such as Kill Bill and Ocean's Twelve.
In the early 1990s he had re-launched his jazz career that lasted a decade. Umiliani died in Rome on 14th February 2001 at the age of 74 but his memory and musical legacy live with us to the present day.
Maestro Piero Umiliani was born in Florence, Tuscany on the 17 July 1926. At five years he discovers his grandfather's piano and afterwards his aunt gave him is first piano lessons. At 16 his journalistic career for "Il Nuovo Giornale Di Firenze" started, from this he got both satisfaction but also some nuisance after the good review he gave to American Jazz music; which was not much favoured in late 1930s Italy. This was the time when Piero got very much into his lifelong passion for Duke Ellington's music. In 1944, following the allies' arrival to Italy and trying to make odds meet while studying jurisprudence, he improvised himself as a pianist in a club, often frequented by Americans. In 1948 he graduated in law at the Universita` di Firenze and got enrolled at the Conservatio Luigi Gherubini where e graduated in Counterpoint and Fugue in 1952.