Born in Milan in 1965, Tony Arco began learning the drums at the age of thirteen with Maestro Lucchini.
His professional experiences started at the age of 18 with various local groups, while his first major jazz engagement was pianist Piero Bassini, with whom he afterwards often performed at the “Capolinea” Jazz Club in Milan city. Then e also played with various other artists, including Sergio Fanni, Mario Rusca (with whom he still play together) and above all, one musician who would prove fundamental to his jazz education: the great American clarinet player Tony Scott. Arco has since played with Scott on numerous occasions both in Italy and abroad.
By now fully immersed in the professional musical environment, in 1988, driven by his natural intellectual curiosity, Tony Arco diceded to leave for the States, where he stayed for almost five years studying with Gary Chaffee, Bob Moses and Alan Dawson.
In 1990 he started playing drums at Boston’s legendary “Wally’s Jazz Club”, where he performed with the groups of Roy Hargrove and Antonio Hart, and with many other American musicians including John Medesky and George Garzone.
On his return in Italy in 1992, Arco swiftly became reinstated into Milan’s professional milieu, performing as drummer with various groups, such as the bands of Gigi Cifarelli, Mario Rusca, Antonio Farao’, and also Demo Morselli’s Big Band, with whom he played for several months on the “Maurizio Costanzo Show” – then was the number one TV talk show in Italy.
1995 introduced a new dimension when he met Enrico Intra and Franco Cerri, who offered him a post for teaching the drums at the prestigious “Scuola Civica di Jazz” in central Milan. He was also asked to play in the “Civica Jazz Band” and to become the director of the percussion group “Time Percussion”, one of the school’s permanent ensembles.
Today Arco’s highly acclaimed teaching methods are generally considered a reference for students. He is also involved in top-level artistic projects in Italy and internationally.
His concert performances to date include playing with such artists as: Mark Murphy, Bobby Watson, Kenny Barron, Charles Tolliver, Tony Scott, Dave Liebman, James Newton, Carl Anderson, Enrico Pieranunzi, Franco D’Andrea, Enrico Rava, Paolo Fresu, Franco Ambrosetti, Rachel Gould, Sarah Jane Morris, Bob Mover, Irio De Paula, Marcus Stockhausen, Gianluigi Trovesi, Roberta Gambarini, David Murray, Eddie Daniels, Luigi Bonafede, Joe Diorio, John Mosca, Evan Parker, Billy Cobham, Airto Moreira, Phil Markovitz, James Cammack, Sonny Fortune, Jesse Davis, Rob Sudduth, Andrew Hill, Garrison Fewell, Red Holloway, Joe Fonda, Emil Richards, Bob Mintzer, Kenny Wheeler, Nnenna Freelon, Pat LaBarbara, Albert and Jimmy Heath.
As a large ensemble specialist, Arco has performed with symphony orchestra and big bands such as “Orchestra Verdi”, “The Carl Anderson Big Band”, “Orchestra Cantelli”, “Orchestra Citta’ di Ravello”, “Orchestra Teatro Massimo di Palermo” and Shiomi Goldenberg’s “Little Big Band”.
At present he is a member of the “Montecarlo Nights Orchestra” led by vocalist Nick The Nightfly.
18歳からプロとして活動を開始。70年代半ば〜80年代前半にかけてミラノ市内のCapolinea Jazz Clubを中心に栄えた＜第3期ミラノ・ジャズ充実期＞とも呼べるシーンのなかで、セルジョ・ファンニ（tp）、マーリオ・ルスカ（p）らと共に、若くして渡欧組／米系ミュージシャンらのサポートを務める。
80年代後半には新たな可能性を求め渡米。ボストンの”Wally’s Café Jazz Club”を拠点に、ロイ・ハーグローヴほか当時最先端をゆくミュージシャン達と深い交流を持つ。