Jazz is a musical sphere increasingly imbibed with memories and celebrations. Umbria Jazz was obliged to follow suit, and so it was that Umbria Jazz 2010 celebrated the eightieth year of the “Saxophone Colossus” Sonny Rollins and the seventieth year of Herbie Hancock. Jazz is going grey (not Herbie Hancock, though, as he continues to dye his hair). The group Manhattan Transfer have also got something to celebrate: forty years of playing together. Birthday celebrations are denied to no man: however, Sonny Rollins is not the oldest jazz artist still doing the rounds, as that honour goes to Roy Haynes, no other than Charlie Parker’s drummer, who continues to bash those cymbals and drums at the venerable age of eighty-four. While Keith Jarrett continues to stay away, the group ECM showcase the Festival, with its founder Manfred Eicher and a number of stars from his famous label, such as the pianist Bobo Stenson, the saxophonist and clarinettist Louis Sclavis, and Enrico Rava’s band featuring Stefano Bollani.
The Santa Giuliana Arena hosts rock stars like Mark Knopfler, one of the greatest living guitarists. Another artist still doing the rounds, notwithstanding his age, is the veteran crooner Tony Bennett (one year younger than Haynes), while Mario Biondi makes his return, accompanied by the group Incognito. Pat Metheny makes up for certain recent disappointing events with a wonderful quartet featuring the incredible Antonio Sanchez on drums, Lyle Mays on keyboards and Steve Rodby on bass. This year’s trip down memory lane features the music of Django Reinardt, played by a trio led by his grandson David, and Marcus Miller with a reworking of “Tutu” the record he himself had mostly written and arranged for Miles Davis.