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Umbria Jazz

Umbria Jazz 1999

Perugia, 9 - 18 July 1999

This was a transitional year for the Festival: the great names of jazz begin to be in short supply, and musical contamination seems to be the only way forward. However, the real star of the 1999 Festival was the very latest name from the world of improvised jazz, Pat Metheny, fronting a trio featuring the double-bass player Larry Grenadier (on loan from the Brad Mehldau Trio) and Billy Stewart on drums, playing before a packed Frontone, mostly young people, as the guitarist played music ranging from the work of Ornette Coleman to that of Horace Silver.

Then there was Mehldau himself, a musician on his way up at the time, duetting with the more experienced, refined fellow musician Kenny Barron. Another great jazz pianist, Herbie Hancock, was asked to play with Italian singer Giorgia, while the Festival ended with a concert featuring the smooth tones of famous US singer-songwriter James Taylor, with vibraphonist Milt Jackson giving a jazz complexion to events.