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Danilo Rea in New York

May 5 at the Italian Cultural Institute, Park Avenue, Manhattan

Danilo Rea
Danilo Rea

The Umbria Jazz organization is known for its big festival in Perugia, Italy (every July since 1973) and its New Year’s festival in Orvieto. But Carlo Pagnotta’s jazz empire also sponsors events in places like Australia and Macedonia and Japan and New York. In early May, Umbria Jazz presented four recitals on the stately Neo-Georgian premises of the Italian Cultural Institute on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Pianists Danilo Rea and Enrico Pieranunzi played solo concerts on May 5 and 6, respectively. On May 7 and 8, Roberta Gambarini sang, accompanied by pianist Renato Sellani and bassist Neil Swainson.

The appearance of Rea was much anticipated because, of the three most important living Italian jazz pianists (Stefano Bollani and Pieranunzi are the others), he has received the least exposure in the United States. Whereas Bollani and Pieranunzi record for labels with international distribution (ECM and CAM Jazz) and have played often in the United States, Rea records for small independent Italian labels and travels infrequently outside of Europe. But what he did at the Italian Cultural Institute on May 5 is something only Danilo Rea can do.

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