A great Festival inevitably has a long memory, and Umbria Jazz has got a lot to remember from its distant and more recent past. Sting takes us back to a legendary concert held twenty-five years before, when he performed together with the Gil Evans Orchestra. The Canadian band leader, one hundred years on from his birth, is the subject of an elegant commemoration of the artist, featuring a revival of certain unpublished works together with more famous pieces (his acclaimed work with Miles Davis on Sketches of Spain, and on Porgy and Bess) guided by the arranger Ryan Truesdell. A homage to the memory of another jazz great, Thelonius Monk, thirty years on from his death, featuring the pianists Kenny Barron, Mulgrew Miller, Eric Reed and Benny Green, and the old British jazz maestro Stan Tracy.
Sonny Rollins continues to play his tenor sax with inimitable style. Stefano Bollani duets once again with Chick Corea and then with the wonderful mandolin virtuoso Hamilton De Holanda. Then there’s the historical rock guitarist Jack Bruce – who together with Eric Clapton founded the super-group Cream – together with Vernon Reid (ex Living Colour), John Medesky and the strapping Mrs. Santana, Cindy Blackman. Enrico Rava pays homage to Michael Jackson, while Herbie Hancock and his quartet funk the house down. Pat Metheny makes his return, the saxophonist David Murray arrives with the singer Macy Gray, and the double-bass player and vocalist Esperanza Spalding revives her gift-wrapped jazz.