In an intense year for UJ, Umbria Jazz 17 remains at the heart of this year’s events. The format will be that of recent years, with the Santa Giuliana Arena home to the main events, from rock to jazz. The more specialised concerts will take place at the Morlacchi Theatre, and there will also be midday concerts at the prestigious National Gallery of Umbria, which houses the city’s art and history.
As always, there will also be a full programme of free outdoor concerts, with a largely-renewed lineup of artists. And of course, there will be a marching band, Funk Off, who have become one of the distinguishing features of the Festival.
And finally, for those who wish to combine fine food and wine with great music, there will be jazz lunches, musical aperitifs and open-air restaurants at the Arena.
Umbria Jazz will be joining in the celebration of two important jazz anniversaries that fall in 2017: the centenary of the births of Thelonious Monk, and of Ella Fitzgerald. The festival will pay homage to them with special concerts, plus there will also be tributes to Dizzy Gillespie, Celia Cruz, George Gershwin, Fats Waller, Frank Zappa, Astor Piazzolla, Gil Evans, and Italian singers including Luigi Tenco.
Running parallel to the Festival, this year once again (for the thirty-second year) there will be the clinics held by Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Together with the courses, there will also be two very special masterclasses with saxophonist Steve Wilson and drummer Lewis Nash.
The attention Umbria Jazz pays to young musicians is also shown by the Conad Contest for emerging bands and by the programme of concerts given by the students and teachers of the jazz course at the Francesco Morlacchi Conservatory.
And finally, an important space on the programme has been reserved for two young groups, the Perugia Chamber Orchestra and the recently-formed Umbria Jazz Big Band.
This will possibly be the most international edition of Umbria Jazz ever. If you consider only the leaders of the various groups, we have artists who come from: Italy, the USA, Brazil, Cuba, Japan, Colombia, Benin, Germany, England, Poland, Canada, Chile, Israel, France, Scotland, Austria, Malaysia, South Korea, Honduras, China, Turkey and the Czech Republic.
The duo is a minimalist format that always has great impact. The encounter-contrast-synthesis of two different musical sensibilities symbolises in a simple way the complex alchemy of jazz.
This year’s Festival offers many such encounters:
Steve Wilson – Lewis Nash, Hiromi – Edmar Castaneda, Alessandro Lanzoni – Gabriele Evangelista, Paolo Fresu – Uri Caine, Vincent Peirani – Emile Parisien, Danilo Rea – Cristiana Pegoraro, Chucho Valdes – Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Kim Prevost – Bill Solley, Gabriele Mirabassi – Roberto Taufic.
There is something for everyone: piano – piano; trumpet – piano, harp – piano; sax – drums; clarinet – guitar; accordion – sax; vocals – guitar; piano – bass.
At Umbria Jazz 17 there will be two all-female groups: Ladies! who play a modern, international form of jazz, and the Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band, who play in the tradition of New Orleans.
There are also many women on the programme appearing as leaders: Hiromi, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Angelique Kidjo, Linda Oh, Simona Molinari, Sugarpie, Kim Prevost and Cristiana Pegoraro.
The other half of the sky promises to produce great music!