Jazz Club Perugia | Umbria Jazz

Jazz Club Perugia

History of the Jazz Club Perugia


In those days the concerts were held in the hall of the Accademia dei Filedoni

(JCP) Perugia - “I would stop friends and acquaintances on the street and ask for a thousand lire, I did the same with some of the customers at my father's restaurant, the famous “Trasimeno”, and I would tell them: from now on you are a member of the Hot Club Perugia”. Carlo Pagnotta, a piece of Italian jazz history, tells of the “romantic” years of the birth of Jazz in Perugia. “It was the early 1950s - he recalls - and the few jazz fans would meet at Ceccherini's shop in Piazza della Repubblica to discuss, and often quarrel about, traditional jazz or modern jazz,”hot jazz” or “cool jazz”. The founder of Umbria Jazz says that at a certain point this group of friends decided to set up an organisation and the Hot Club Perugia, with Adriano Mazzoletti president, was born. At that time the concerts were held in the hall of the Accademia dei Filedoni, the current seat of the Regional Council of Umbria. “It was not easy - says Carlo - to find sponsors and in that club we were well accomodated and the hall was equipped with an excellent grand piano. Among the many Italian musicians we hosted, I remember with pleasure the arrival of a young man of  “great promise”, Enrico Rava, together with a very unknown Gato Barbieri”. The concerts of Louis Armstrong in 1955 at the Teatro Morlacchi and of Chet Baker in 1956 at the Sala dei Notari remain memorable.

Towards the end of the fifties Adriano Mazzoletti moved to Rome and Carlo Pagnotta to London and so club's activity suffered a pause, but in 1960 the Jazz Club Perugia was born with Carlo Pagnotta as president. The association grew to about 300 members and with the contribution of the Comune of Perugia and the Azienda Autonoma di Turismo with its legendary director, Giuseppe Agozzino, came artists like Teddy Wilson, Johnny Griffin, Dexter Gordon, Archie Shepp, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie (all at the Teatro Morlacchi). Sonny Rollins also came to the Teatro Turreno The “Colossus”  still has the sticker of the Jazz Club Perugia attached to his sax case. This explains why Rollins, recently interviewed on  television, when asked if he knew Carlo Pagnotta replied “Carlo ... I have known him for many years, Carlo is a legend”. Said by a true jazz legend ......... In those days of jazz in “black and white” we must not forget the great collaborators of Carlo Pagnotta: Sauro Peducci (who would become a mainstay of Umbria Jazz) and Argentino Stortini, both long gone. From the experience of the Jazz Club Perugia with outdoor concerts as well (Lou Bennett), the step to present a festival project was short. In 1972 the proposal, with Carlo Pagnotta's signature, was sent to the first President of the Umbria Region, Pietro Conti, and the intuition of the then Councillor for Tourism and Culture, Alberto Provantini, was decisive: in August 1973 Umbria Jazz was born, but this is another story …