UJ 17: THE SUMMER FESTIVAL COMES AT THE MIDPOINT OF AN IMPORTANT YEAR
UMBRIA JAZZ 17 (PERUGIA, 7 – 16 JULY)
THE SUMMER FESTIVAL COMES AT THE MIDPOINT OF AN IMPORTANT YEAR
For Umbria Jazz, 2017 is an intense, important year. The year began with the final day of Umbria Jazz Winter in Orvieto, which ended on 1 January; then, a return to the city of Terni for the first edition of a new spring festival, Primavera (14 – 17 April); and more recently, there was the fund-raising concert with Pat Metheny on 4 May, a few days after the celebrations for International Jazz Day on 30 April.
The presentation of the programme for Umbria Jazz 17 (Perugia, 7 – 16 July) takes place at a time of the intense organisation, in synergy with the Region of Umbria, of two important events in China and Brazil to be held in the period summer – autumn. These events are a continuation of the work Umbria Jazz carries out internationally to promote Italian jazz and Umbria, and which today can contribute more than ever to helping the local area and tourism recover from the recent earthquake. In this regard, a project is underway to hold a weekend of Umbria Jazz in the town of Norcia, a concrete sign of solidarity with the people of the area affected by the earthquake.
2017 will close with another milestone for the Festival, the 25th edition of Umbria Jazz Winter, something that deserves to be celebrated in a fitting way. In the meantime, the legislative process to have Umbria Jazz recognised as an event of national importance is at an advanced state, and this will be an important recognition not only for Umbria Jazz, but also, symbolically ,for Italian jazz as well.
In any case, 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.
SOME INTERESTING FACTS FROM THE PROGRAMME
JAZZ FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD
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 ART OF THE DUO
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.
THE OTHER HALF OF JAZZ
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!