Umbria Jazz is one of the largest festivals in Italy attracting visitors from all over the world for its 10-day programme. Tens of thousands flock daily to the hilltop town of Perugia for a feast of music that lasts from midday until the wee small hours of the morning. The main event happens in the Arena Santa Giuliana, a large 4,000 capacity stadium and also at the beautiful Teatro Morlacchi in the centre of the old town. The theatre shows are at 5pm and midnight and it is at these that the real magic of Umbria Jazz happens.

Carlo Pagnotta, the founder and artistic director of Umbria Jazz, is a lover of piano jazz – for him the more the better. So this year he programed a wide range of it from leading players in a series of duos such as Hiromi & Edmar Castaneda, Stefano Bollani & Egberto Gismonti, Chucho Valdes & Gonzalo Rubalcaba (below) and a brilliant concert featuring two pianos and five pianists with Kenny Barron, Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Green, Eric Reed and Dado Moroni all playing Monk classics. The pianists played solo or in duos, sometimes swapping over half way through a tune, for a really memorable experience that gave a new slant on familiar material.

TD-All-Pianists-10

Umbria strives to remain a 'jazz' festival but has always included pop and rock artists (to help pay for some of the free music that fills the streets during festival time), and this year the electronic pioneers Kraftwerk (below) brought their 3D audio-visual show, and Brian Wilson appeared play his classic 'Pet Sounds' repertoire.

TD-Kraftwerk-17

Both were well attended – Kraftwerk were extremely slick although typically a little mechanical – and musically not the most challenging but visually stunning. Brian Wilson (with Al Jardine from the original Beach Boys Band) was a mixed bag – Wilson himself obviously not in his prime, but Jardine still carried off the songs from 50 years ago (and more), with the band, including Jardine's son, fabulous as they ran through a non-stop stream of classic hits.

TD-Jamie-Cullum-Umbria-17-60

The UK was well represented by Jamie Cullum (above, in the arena) and Jacob Collier (below, in the theatre). Cullum's show (one of the better attended in the arena) went down a storm – his boundless energy and enthusiasm keeping the crowd on their feet singing and dancing till way past midnight, he was brought back for encore after encore.

TD-Jacob-Collier-20

Jacob Collier (who also played her last year) has grown in stature and stage craft very quickly – his show last year was over-sold leaving fans standing outside the theatre waiting for returns – but this year in the larger theatre everyone got in. The packed auditorium was full to the roof and Collier did not disappoint – his manic style and audience sing-along's left him and the crowd ecstatic but exhausted at around 2am.

TD-Linda-Oh-13

There was also a 12noon series of very interesting concerts in the National Museum of Umbria. Steve Wilson and Lewis Nash played three times – their show billed as a 'Duologue' and that it was – the brilliant understanding and connection between them creating some wonderful moments. Similarly, the duos between Emile Parisien/Vincent Peirani and Gabriele Mirabassi/Roberto Taufic were terrific. But the best was saved for last with the Linda Oh Quartet (above), who played on the last day. Bassist Oh is best known for her role in the Dave Douglas Quintet (and for her stellar work with Pat Metheny's acoustic quartet) is a great composer and her band featuring Ben Wendel (tenor saxophone) Matthew Stevens (guitar) and Rudy Royston (drums) create wonderful soundscapes, with Wendel the stand-out soloist.

TD-Rava-Stanko-20

Other highlights from this year's festival were the Tomasz Stańko Quintet with Enrico Rava (above), two masters who play so well together; a great gig from Riccardo Fassi with his Taniko band featuring Napoleon Murphy Brock, playing the music of Frank Zappa. Wayne Shorter played two sets in the arena – one with his quartet (Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade) and then with the Orchestra da Camera di Perugia conducted by Clark Rundell – the first half vintage Shorter but the second rather long and meandering with the orchestra overpowering.

TD-Dee-Dee-Umbria-2017-11

Ladies night featured Dee Dee Bridgewater (above) doing her Memphis album with an opening set from Ladies! featuring Renee Rosnes (piano), Anat Cohen (clarinet) Melisa Aldana (sax), Ingrid Jensen (trumpet), Noriko Ueda (bass), Allison Miller (drums) and Cécile McLorin Salvant on vocals (pictured below). It was this band that that stole the night. McLorin Salvant is emerging as one of the best female vocalists around. Her range and tone are superb and she's certainly on course to become one of the jazz greats.

TD-Ladies-27

Umbria is a big festival and Perugia itself a wonderful city to host such a prestigious event, however numbers at the arena shows this year were thin to say the least (especially the pure jazz nights). The main arena now seems to be too big for the size of audience the artists are attracting and an alternative slightly smaller one is going to be difficult to find. It begs the question that without a radical change in the way either the festival is financed (with more input from the sponsors) or in the way that the festival is produced (a dilution of jazz and more pop and rock acts) that the long-term future of this great festival in its present form is unsure.

– Story and Photos by Tim Dickeson

The autumn line-up of the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room Late Night Jazz series has been announced and includes a brace of rising jazz stars among the highlights. Kicking things off on 28 September is Quincy Jones' mentored drummer Ollie Howell with music from his richly melodic second album, Self Identity, with his band featuring trumpeter Henry Spencer and saxophonist Duncan Eagles.

Further stand-out gigs include trumpeter Yazz Ahmed who made a dramatic this year return with her widely praised album La Saboteuse, but here will make a rare appearance with her Electric Dreams Quartet – specially convened for this performance – featuring vocal sculptor Jason Singh, drummer Rod Youngs and Swedish guitarist Samuel Hällkvist on 12 October, while in-demand bassist and emergent solo artist Daniel Casimir plays music from his debut album Escapee on 15 November.

The eclectic programme also includes top Gambian kora master Jally Kebba Susso (5 Oct), Afrobeat-inspired jazzers Kokoroko (26 Oct); the dazzling Michelle Drees Jazz Tap Project (part of the EFG London Jazz Festival, 14 Nov); legendary British beat poet Michael Horovitz and his William Blake Klezmatrix Band (16 Nov); the Blues & Roots Ensemble and their tribute to the Music of Charles Mingus (23 Nov) and a final seasonal offering from the Chris Ingham Quartet with singer Joanna Eden and their Jazz At The Movies: A Swinging Christmas! (14 Dec). Jazzwise is media partner for this concert series.

– Mike Flynn

For full listings and tickets visit www.royalalberthall.com/tickets/series/late-night-jazz/

A prime slice of 1970s jazz funk from the Dave Gold Big Band is set to be issued in the form of Heaven On Their Minds, in a lovingly packaged and remastered 180gram LP released on 25 August via My Only Desire records.

Weston-Super-Mare-born Gold, the son of the Dixieland jazz saxophonist and bandleader Harry Gold, gained fame through his numerous jazz library compositions, contributing tracks to eight albums on KPM Music's cult '1000' series of library music between 1968 and 1977, as well as to 13 LPs on the equally popular Bruton Music library label from 1979 to 1983. Recorded in 1974 for the BBC Radio 2 show Jazz Club, Gold and co. kick out some serious big band jams on Heaven On Their Minds, adding electric piano and bass guitar to rip through rock and funk-tinged takes on the classic big band sound. The line-up includes the likes of saxophonist Ronnie Ross, trombonist Chris Pyne and Dankworth Big Band drummer Harold Fisher, plus many stalwarts of the library music scene, including bassist Les Hurdle and pianist Cliff Hall.

Remastered by Frank Merritt at The Carvery, this release is in a strictly limited one-off pressing of 500 copies on heavyweight vinyl, and comes housed in a sturdy, vibrantly decorated sleeve, with extensive album notes by Jazzwise/The Wire scribe, Daniel Spicer. The 26-minute running time, with two tracks per-side, has ensured the pressing is loud and detailed and also comes with a digital download code for listening on the move.

– Mike Flynn

For more info visit www.myonlydesirerecords.com - and exclusively listen and pre-order the album below:

Jeff-Parker-1000x750

Those still savouring the sounds of Jeff Parker's The New Breed and Slight Freedom will want to seriously consider investing in the reissue of The Relatives, the guitarist's genre-busting album from 2005. Reissued at part of the Thrill Jockey label's 25th anniversary this year, the record makes its welcome return to vinyl for the first time in over a decade and finds Parker accompanied by percussionist Chad Taylor, bassist Chris Lopes and pianist Sam Barsheshet.

– Spencer Grady

For more details visit www.thrilljockey.com 

 

Leading UK saxophonist Dave O'Higgins returns with a new quartet album and an extensive set of live dates to support its release. The curiously titled It's Always 9.30 in Zog – "a reference to those moments you feel as if you come from another place. Zog is a planet located in a black hole in the space time continuum where everyone breathes water and it's always 9:30" – is released on 8 September via O'Higgins' own JVG label. The album features O'Higgins with longtime bandmates Graham Harvey (piano), Geoff Gascoyne (bass) and Sebastiaan de Krom (drums) on a set of hard-driving originals.

The quartet hit the road for gigs on the following dates: Seven Arts, Leeds (2 Sept); Pizza Express, Dean St, London (album launch, 12 Sept); Derngate Theatre, Northampton (15 Sept); Hidden Rooms, Cambridge (28 Sept); Arts Corn Exchange, Dorchester (6 Oct); Marsden Jazz Festival (7 Oct); Talking Heads, Southampton (17 Oct); Crookes Social Club, Sheffield (20 Oct); Crypt, Camberwell, London (27 Oct); Boaters, Kingston (29 Oct); Kings Head, Bexley (30 Oct); Fleece Jazz, Colchester (3 Nov); The Oval Tavern, Croydon (5 Nov); Christ Church, Marlow (7 Nov); Cleethorpes Jazz (8 Nov); Wakefield Rugby Club (10 Nov); Swansea Jazzland (15 Nov); Calstock Arts (16 Nov); Teignmouth Jazz Festival (18 Nov); Hen and Chicken, Bristol (19 Nov); Langholm Arts Centre (21 Nov); Jazz Bar, Edinburgh (22 Nov); Blue Lamp, Aberdeen (23 Nov); Atrium Cafe Bar, Clitheroe (24 Nov); Concert Hall, Rhosygilwen (25 Nov); Ronnie Scott's, London (Late Show, 27 Nov); Guildhall, Derby (1 Dec); Beaver Inn, Appledore (4 Dec); Western Hotel, St Ives (5 Dec); Jazz Club, St Austell (6 Dec); Albany Social Club, Coventry (7 Dec); The Verdict, Brighton (8 Dec) and 606 Club, London (9 Dec). O'Higgins will also be conducting several masterclasses during the tour at the following venues: Leeds College of Music, Leeds (20 Oct); Guildhall, London (27 Oct); London College of Creative Media, London (14 Nov), RNCM, Manchester (20 Nov) and RCS, Glasgow (22 Nov).
For more info visit www.daveohiggins.com

– Mike Flynn

Here's an exclusive look at the title track from the album – 'It's Always 9.30 In Zog'

Page 1 of 193

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Piano stars, Shorter, Cullum, Collier and more light up Umbria Jazz 2017

Piano stars, Shorter, Cullum, Collier an…

Umbria Jazz is one of the largest festivals in Italy...

Read More.....
Ollie Howell, Yazz Ahmed and Daniel Casimir for late nights at Elgar Room

Ollie Howell, Yazz Ahmed and Daniel Casi…

The autumn line-up of the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room...

Read More.....
Heavenly Dave Gold BBC session set for vinyl delight

Heavenly Dave Gold BBC session set for v…

A prime slice of 1970s jazz funk from the Dave...

Read More.....
Restored Vinyl Relations For Prime Parker Nugget

Restored Vinyl Relations For Prime Parke…

Those still savouring the sounds of Jeff Parker's The New...

Read More.....
Dave O’Higgins Zips to Zog – Video Exclusive

Dave O’Higgins Zips to Zog – Video Exclu…

Leading UK saxophonist Dave O'Higgins returns with a new quartet...

Read More.....
Notes Of A Native Song: Stew & The Negro Problem Probe James Baldwin's Legacy At Southbank's Underbelly Fest

Notes Of A Native Song: Stew & The N…

Raoul Peck's recent documentary I Am Not Your Negro served...

Read More.....
Stanley Clarke slaps and strums it up for UK tour

Stanley Clarke slaps and strums it up fo…

Iconic US bassist Stanley Clarke hits the road for a...

Read More.....
John McLaughlin biography turns up the volume with Kickstarter campaign

John McLaughlin biography turns up the v…

Colin Harper, author of Bathed In Lightning: John McLaughlin, the...

Read More.....
Ravi Coltrane, Danilo Pérez and Phronesis make for a memorable  Montreal Jazz Fest

Ravi Coltrane, Danilo Pérez and Phronesi…

Montreal Jazz Festival is a family affair, two thirds of...

Read More.....
Arve Henriksen and David Helbock make Mountains of sound at Südtirol Jazz Festival

Arve Henriksen and David Helbock make Mo…

The Südtirol Jazz Festival is unique among jazz festivals in...

Read More.....
Gnawa Power: Bill Laurance mixes it up with Moroccan maestros

Gnawa Power: Bill Laurance mixes it up w…

The mid 20th century saw several jazz A-listers working with...

Read More.....
Tommy Smith lights up for Trane tribute

Tommy Smith lights up for Trane tribute

Saxophonist Tommy Smith launches his new quartet at the upcoming...

Read More.....
Herbie Hancock, The Thing and Pine/Omar for EFG London Jazz Festival

Herbie Hancock, The Thing and Pine/Omar …

Iconic jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock and rowdy Scandinavian trio The...

Read More.....
New beat-jazz generation gets biggest Love Supreme Jazz Festival moving

New beat-jazz generation gets biggest Lo…

"Clearly, this festival is all about love," Gregory Porter says...

Read More.....
Geri Allen – 12/06/57 - 26/06/2017

Geri Allen – 12/06/57 - 26/06/2017

The news that Geri Allen has died from cancer at...

Read More.....
Herbie Hancock to play two nights at EFG London Jazz Festival 2017

Herbie Hancock to play two nights at EFG…

Iconic jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock has just been confirmed for...

Read More.....
Grooving in Glynde – Ciro Romano talks about five years of Love Supreme Jazz Festival

Grooving in Glynde – Ciro Romano talks a…

The Love Supreme jazz festival enters its fifth year as...

Read More.....
Oli Rockberger video exclusive ahead of album and live dates

Oli Rockberger video exclusive ahead of …

British soul-jazz singer/pianist Oli Rockberger is set to release his...

Read More.....
Brigitte Beraha and John Turville create live jazz score for The Umbrellas of Cherbourg screening

Brigitte Beraha and John Turville create…

An unmissable special screening of the 1964 French New Wave...

Read More.....
Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg Bridge in Sonny Rollins’ honour

Campaign builds to rename Williamsburg B…

It's been four years since Sonny Rollins, 86, last took...

Read More.....
Boogie at the Bandstand – the Love Supreme low-down

Boogie at the Bandstand – the Love Supre…

Ahead of the start next week of the fifth edition...

Read More.....
Tin Men and the Telephone and Tord Gustavsen for Ronnie’s Piano Trio Fest

Tin Men and the Telephone and Tord Gusta…

The fourth edition of the Ronnie Scott's International Piano Trio...

Read More.....
Marcus Miller, Chick Corea and Charles Lloyd top Blue Note at Sea cruise 2018

Marcus Miller, Chick Corea and Charles L…

Following the success of the inaugural Blue Note at Sea...

Read More.....
Alice and John Coltrane Celebration, Nik Bärtsch and Eliane Elias added to EFG London Jazz Festival

Alice and John Coltrane Celebration, Nik…

A raft of new concert hall additions have been announced...

Read More.....
Laila Biali and Idang Rasjidi Syndicate shine at Borneo Jazz Festival

Laila Biali and Idang Rasjidi Syndicate …

Set against the lush tropical gardens that stretch down from...

Read More.....
Doom Crooners Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones: Torch Song Cult

Doom Crooners Dale Cooper Quartet & …

Britanny-based brigands Dale Cooper Quartet & The Dictaphones have forged...

Read More.....
Ollie Howell ‘Knew’ video exclusive ahead of UK tour dates

Ollie Howell ‘Knew’ video exclusive ahea…

Fast rising drummer Ollie Howell recently released his second album...

Read More.....
Theo Crocker, Neil Cowley Trio and Martin Taylor step up for Glasgow

Theo Crocker, Neil Cowley Trio and Marti…

The 31st edition of the Glasgow Jazz Festival, running from...

Read More.....
Geoff Simkins, Nikki Iles and Dave Green out to lunch at Cadogan Hall

Geoff Simkins, Nikki Iles and Dave Green…

Although billed as individuals, this effectively was the Geoff Simkins...

Read More.....
Marco Colonna and Filippo Vignato Among Homegrown Heroes At Novara Jazz, Italy

Marco Colonna and Filippo Vignato Among …

  A ritual accompanies the end of every concert at this...

Read More.....
Jazz In The Round, Arena and Bandstand names complete Love Supreme Line-Up

Jazz In The Round, Arena and Bandstand n…

A final flurry of additional performances have been confirmed for...

Read More.....
Folk-Jazz on the Fjords and Elephant9 get gnarly at Nutshell Jazz

Folk-Jazz on the Fjords and Elephant9 ge…

Suddenly, a burly Viking saxophonist is softly blowing a ballad...

Read More.....
Loueke and LRK light up Brussels Jazz Weekend

Loueke and LRK light up Brussels Jazz We…

Real Brussels is nothing like the Brussels of politicised fiction...

Read More.....
Maisha celebrate the Alice Coltrane Songbook at Church Of Sound

Maisha celebrate the Alice Coltrane Song…

The spiritual jazz legacy of Alice Coltrane is set for...

Read More.....
Soft Machine fire-up Elgar Room

Soft Machine fire-up Elgar Room

British jazz-rock legends Soft Machine will be firing up the...

Read More.....
Brad Mehldau Trio, Georgie Fame and Camilla Beeput shine at Bath Festival

Brad Mehldau Trio, Georgie Fame and Cami…

Brad Mehldau, Georgie Fame with Guy Barker's Big Band and...

Read More.....


Qobuz-ad

 

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

Piano stars, Shorter, Cullum, Collier and more light up Umbria Jazz 2017 https://t.co/sbpQ147T75 https://t.co/2ZQtUNkQit
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@MxJackMonroe @rwilliams1947 haha, genius
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA