Umbria Jazz Winter 1993-1994

Orvieto, 28 December 1993 - 2 January 1994

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There is no doubt about it: trying to repeat the success of the summer Festival with another organised around the New Year was a real gamble (although a great many people set to work to try and prevent it backfiring), but the gamble paid off, and pretty quickly at that. There were a number of reasons for this: the chosen site of Umbria Jazz Winter – Orvieto – is a beautiful, friendly town that really needed such an occasion to spark off due interest; the formula adopted, namely not being subject to any obligations towards the more important summer Festival, not having to fill outdoor areas but just small, intimate venues; the opportunity to rotate a series of artists for the entire duration of the Festival; incorporating the New Year as an excuse to celebrate that festivity with the sound and rhythm of jazz; the choice of artists, with the focal aspect being quality jazz acts, devoid of contamination from other musical spheres, and the search for new talent on which to focus the public’s attention.

The programme for the first Umbria Jazz Winter Festival stands testimony to these intentions, with the superb saxophonist who came in from the cold, Jan Garbarek, together with the hard bop sounds of Cedar Walton’s Eastern Rebellion, featuring Billy Higgins, David Williams and Ralph Moore, the solo exuberance of Joshua Redman, the exquisite sounds of John Surnam and the Balanescu string quartet, the Tom Harrell-Gordon Beck duo, Don Byron’s klezmer jazz, and the exuberant sounds of Gospel with the wonderful New Year’s concert held in the spectacular Orvieto Cathedral.

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