Roy Hargrove, Vijay Iyer and Paolo Fresu fire up Umbria Jazz 2018

TD-Roy-Hargrove-42

This year was the 45th anniversary of Umbria Jazz and it proved to be one of its most successful with some 33,000 tickets sold to jazz fans who attended 250 concerts. The festival's organisers have long acknowledged that the main arena capacity of 5,000 seated or 7,000 standing is simply too big for the majority of jazz artists to fill. Thus, only three out of 10 shows there featured jazz artists, with the Quincy Jones 85th Birthday Concert (below), and two brilliant double-bills of Kyle Eastwood/Pat Metheny and Melody Gardot/Gregory Porter capable of filling the space.

TD-Quincy-Jones-71

Yet, the real beauty of Umbria Jazz lies in the intimacy of the smaller venues and also the Corso Vannuci, the main street of this hill town where the jazz programming centres on the Teatro Morlacchi and the Galleria National dell'Umbria.

Stand-out concerts at the Morlacchi included a burning set by trumpeter Roy Hargrove (pictured top) who gave everything from the outset, while his quintet, featuring Justin Robinson on alto sax, were immensely impressive. The Mingus Big Band were equally exciting and rabid – no prisoners taken here – with the force and relevance of the music belying its age. Their forthcoming residency at Ronnie Scott's in October is a must see.

TD-Lumina-16

Trumpeter Paolo Fresu played two shows – one with his well-known Devil Quartet and one with his new Lumina Project (above), the latter a piano trio plus voice and cello. Lumina is a concept album about light with its 10 pieces each titled 'Light' in 10 different languages. The album was conceived and produced by Fresu with compositions and lyrics by the band. It's an intriguing work, the cello and voice harmonising beautifully, with an outstanding performance from pianist Marco Bardoscia. The trumpeter joined the group for the last five pieces, while his ethereal flugelhorn playing was the icing on the cake.

Another top-notch performance came via vocal kingpin Kurt Elling, who was at his masterful best, with guest trumpeter Marquis Hill adding another dimension to the music.

TD-Vijay-Iyer-02

Probably the best show came at the end with Vijay Iyer (above) who featured tunes from his recent ECM album, Far from Over. This demanded concentrated listening with incredible playing from Steve Lehman (alto) Mark Shim (tenor) and Graham Haynes (cornet). Iyer interjected more mellow piano solos to add balance and context to his really deep and complex music.

Elsewhere, the Galleria Nationale dell'Umbria featured mostly solo piano and duets, the most enjoyable of which was Antonello Salis (piano, accordion) and Simone Zanchini (accordion, electronics), Their continuous set featured a melange of around 50 well-known tunes ranging from Zappa's 'I Am The Slime' to Ravel's 'Bolero' via Ennio Morricone's theme from the film 'The Good the Bad & the Ugly'. This was a joyous romp full of humour and alternative time signatures, all very cleverly and seamlessly sewn together.

The best of the solo piano sets came from Ethan Iverson (above), who played his first ever public solo concert, before which he admitted to the audience that he was 'slightly worried'. He needn't have been. All of the class and imagination you would expect in his playing from playing in The Bad Plus for years was there, all delivered with a convincingly deft touch.

Dan Kinzelman brought his Ghost Project to the festival: a very interesting combination of three saxes and one trumpet. Featuring through composed pieces with incidental percussion, the writing and playing different and interesting. I was lucky enough to watch a rehearsal of the show and the care and precision in the compositions was extraordinary.

The best set at the Galleria came from Gianluca Petrella (trombone, electronics) and Pasquale Mirra (vibes). A highly talented and inventive musician, Petrella has found an ideal partner in the brilliant Mirra – both musicians capable of stunning solos and chilled ensemble playing.

Story and photos by Tim Dickeson

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

Zara McFarlane and Soweto Kinch turn up …

The night goes on and they keep on coming, a...

Read More.....

Jazz meets theatrical protest with The A…

Few styles of music can claim to have come as...

Read More.....

Snarky Puppy return with new album Immig…

Grammy-winning groove crew Snarky Puppy return with a new studio...

Read More.....

Blue Note spearheads 80th Anniversary Ye…

The iconic Blue Note label will celebrate its milestone 80th...

Read More.....

John Turville dives in Head First – new …

Pianist and composer John Turville returns with a new album...

Read More.....

Uri Caine and Henri Texier dazzle while …

Jazzfestival Münster is celebrating its 40th anniversary, but has only...

Read More.....

Ezra Collective bring the Brit-Jazz Nois…

Much like in other recent editions of New York's Winter...

Read More.....

Yazz Ahmed and Jasper Høiby line-up for …

For some there is a Holy Grail in jazz: to...

Read More.....

Matthew Herbert marks Brexit with Big Ba…

Composer, conductor and sampling-supremo Matthew Herbert is set to release...

Read More.....

Joseph Jarman 14/09/37 – 9/01/19

  The recitation of 'Non-Cognitive Aspects Of The City' by Dante...

Read More.....

Wandering Monster step up with 'Samsara…

Bass-led progressive jazz group Wandering Monster are set to release...

Read More.....

Cécile McLorin Salvant, Oded Tzur Quarte…

  The unfeasibly warm November weather was matched by the heat...

Read More.....

Edinburgh embraces the Thrill of Belgian…

Belgium may be better known for its beer than its...

Read More.....

Mitchener And Yarde Break Blues Boundari…

The blues is a lived and living truth, as much...

Read More.....

Ra's Arkestra Announces Annual Lewes Aff…

The Sun Ra Arkestra – led by that indomitable intergalactic...

Read More.....

Steve Williamson, Silje Nergaard and Tin…

Southampton’s Turner Sims music venue has announced an impressive line-up...

Read More.....

19-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner …

19-year-old vibraphonist Sasha Berliner wins LetterOne Rising Stars Award California-based...

Read More.....

Nordic Wonders: Rune Grammofon Bring The…

Determined individuals who ignore categories define the Norwegian scene, in...

Read More.....

Mehldau Marvels At Jazztopad

  The entire spectrum can dazzle at Jazztopad, a Polish festival in...

Read More.....

Jazz FM Awards return for 2019

The Jazz FM Awards return for a sixth time next...

Read More.....

Chick Corea, Madeleine Peyroux and Kamaa…

The organisers of the Love Supreme Jazz Festival, which runs...

Read More.....

Peter Boizot 1929 – 2018

The press obituaries for Peter Boizot, who has died aged...

Read More.....

David Mossman – 17 July 1942 - 8 Decembe…

Ahead of starting the Vortex in 1988, there is nothing...

Read More.....

Greg Fox and Pulverize The Sound punish …

  The second phase of Poland’s Jazz Jantar festival involved five nights...

Read More.....

Astral Progression Ensemble and Irrevers…

  Jazz Jantar has been running in the northern Polish port...

Read More.....

Tippett & Bourne, Liane Carroll and…

The Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival will return for its...

Read More.....

Jessica Radcliffe poised an poetic for R…

In this centenary year of the end of the First...

Read More.....

Iridescent Ibrahim Leads Multi-Horn Boon…

The Barbican's foyer is still resounding to the tumultuous multi-horned...

Read More.....

Maisha raise Afro-futurist spirits at Gh…

Scrolling down the posts on Facebook, from people pleading for...

Read More.....

John McLaughlin and 4th Dimension Back F…

Legendary jazz-rock guitarist John McLaughlin has just announced a return...

Read More.....

Dave Douglas Supergroup Dazzles Among Ho…

  Guimarães is Portugal’s birthplace. Surrounded by verdant hills, this quiet...

Read More.....

Bill Laurance Goes Big At Southbank With…

  At certain moments during this concert, Bill Laurance looks like...

Read More.....

Trans-Atlantic Team-Up: Chicago X London…

Much has been written about the jazz scene that has...

Read More.....

Dalston Devils: Branch and Brandon Lewis…

The Vortex and Cafe OTO are separated by a few...

Read More.....

Mike and Leni Stern light up Ronnie Scot…

What an unexpected pleasure to see Mike Stern exchanging guitar...

Read More.....

22-year-old saxophonist Xhosa Cole wins …

Saxophonist Xhosa Cole has been announced as the winner of...

Read More.....


Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

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

@WANDAGROUP "Hear that, that's better than music, that's the sound of a world choking on its own exhaust"
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Great to see Henry Crowder (pictured) and Langston Hughes both included in the Barbican's marvellous Modern Couples… https://t.co/baBQermI9O
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

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