Umbria Jazz 1996
Lago Trasimeno - Perugia - Cortona, 8 - 23 July 1996
1996 witnessed a superb Festival, and it is difficult to say which were the best of the acts that year. The debut at Umbria Jazz of Sonny Rollins, the “Saxophone Colossus” who finally made it to the Festival; the return of Keith Jarrett, twenty-two years on, fronting an incomparable trio featuring Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette; the exclusive, peerless João Gilberto, the master of bossa nova, a difficult yet wonderful character (the staff at the Brufani Hotel where he stayed for ten days know something of that character, as Gilberto refused to return the dishes that room service gave him each day, preferring to let it pile up in his suite).
A symbol of the constant, desperate pursuit of perfection, who finally agreed to perform at Umbria Jazz after being courted for a considerable time, Gilberto’s concert at the Frontone was a truly intimate, sotto voce affair, with minimal amplification and the singer’s perfect voice engaged in a tremendous battle against the howling wind. This twentieth year of the Festival was given extra weight by the presence of Phil Collins, Enrico Rava playing his new work “Carmen”, and the evenings spent at the club in the company of the then unheard-of singer and pianist, Diana Krall.