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Umbria Jazz

Umbria Jazz 1973

Terni - Perugia - Gubbio, 23 - 26 August 1973

23 August: the natural theatre of Villalago di Piediluco, just a short distance from Terni, was the setting for the 1st Umbria Jazz Festival. That historical evening’s bill included a world music ensemble, Aktuala, who have not been heard of for a number of years now, and the leading big band of the time, the Thad Jones and Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra featuring the then unknown jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater.

That first year of Umbria Jazz was to feature a further three evenings of music, two in Perugia and one in Gubbio, which had to be cancelled due to bad weather. The highlights included the presence, for the first time in Italy, of Joe Zawinhul and Wayne Shorter’s Weather Report, the leading lights of a highly structured jazz fusion, together with Mal Waldron, who in Europe had found the necessary peace and tranquillity his creativity required; the highly original and colourful Sun Ra Arkestra with their extreme, but passionate and highly-imaginative, form of jazz, who were also playing for the first time in Italy; Giovanni Tommaso’s Perigeo, the leading Italian jazz-rock group at that time; Giorgio Gaslini’s quartet and their work “Fabbrica Occupata”; the Patrizia Scascitelli trio; and Les Swingers led by the French trombonist François “Frick” Guin.